Something that many people might not know about me is that I’m painfully shy. Perhaps a better term for that is painfully self-conscious. Not so much with people I know really well, but more with acquaintances and strangers. I mean, I couldn’t even get up to speak at my own wedding, and I knew almost everyone there! But there’s a reason I only keep a handful of really good friends, and keep almost everyone else at arm’s length.
It’s safer that way.
I actually go out of my way to avoid most social events because of this problem. And when I do go out, you can usually find me hovering near the food table to give me something to do, or hanging on the edge of a conversation so that it looks like I’m being social, but I’m also ensuring I can make a break for it if the need arises. I’m afraid of saying something stupid, looking stupid, stumbling over my words…. Often I do stumble over my words, too. And then, while everyone has moved on, I am left to obsess over what I just said, rewording it in my brain in attempts to change the past 5 minutes that are long forgotten by everyone else.
At work I spend the entire time with my huge Bose headphones on, listening to music as I type away for two reasons – to drown out the newsroom, and to ensure that no one interrupts me as I work. All my communication is done over email, my favorite way to communicate since it doesn’t require saying something I might wish I could delete and retype. My usual daily routine is to get up and write for awhile, go to work, come home, put on some sweats, write some more, and chill with the family before going to bed. Sometimes there’s kids’ sports. But usually, there’s not much going on besides that.
And writing books? That’s the easy* part.
I don’t have to talk to anyone if I don’t want to. I can research all my facts on the world wide web, or through email. All my correspondence is done hiding behind a screen and keyboard, and I am A-okay with that. I’m telling you, I would make a really good hermit.
However, I realize now why I have taken so long to follow through and publish one of the books I have written. As I get closer and closer to March 23, the publishing date of A Symphony of Cicadas, I realize that the easy* part is over.
Now I have to sell the thing.
I don’t want to sell my book. I want it to sell itself. Preparing to talk with my newspaper editors about the book makes me nervous. I am hesitating at the notion that I need to ask other bloggers and writers to review and promote my book. The idea of throwing a book release party, doing book talks, doing any sort of promotion on the radio, etc, petrifies me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done radio appearances and public speaking. But you have no idea the amount of talking myself off the ledge I had to do.
Unfortunately, my book is not going to sell itself. If I want this book I have labored over, the one I put my whole soul into within the pages and each character, I have to get out there and share it with others. They need to hear from me why I love this story so much, and why they should to. So wish me luck as I swallow my fear and move forward. Time to put on my big girl panties.
*Note: Okay, writing books is not really that easy. I have re-read my book in various stages of being done at least a dozen times. I have tackled writer’s block. I have amended characters, reworded entire chapters, picked the story apart and then put it back together. I have woken up two hours early every day until it was completely done. I have given up sleep in favor of the book. But still, it feels so much easier than just standing in front of a crowd all by myself and sharing about the story.
Am I alone in this? Anyone else trying to promote themselves while fighting the urge to run and hide?
10 thoughts on “You mean I have to SELL my book?”
This doesn’t exactly answer your question, but I used to be a super, super shy person. I could barely look people in the eye. I took drama classes in hopes of getting out of my shell and they were pure torture and humiliation. But—isn’t there always a but?—I’m now the kind of person you’d never believe was shy in the first place. It’s grueling, hard, embarrassing, exhausting, but it gets easier the more you do it. Force yourself to be social. But even better, watch those who are good at being social. See how they operate. Honestly, I came a lot more out of my shell a lot quicker when I started hanging around with Miss Socialite (a friend of mine). I observed her vibe and what she did and mimicked it until it became a little more natural for me.
When it comes to book promotion, I’d say do the same thing. Talk to other bloggers (should be easy-ish since you can just type). Make friends, offer them help in exchange for help. And in the real world, find yourself a socialite friend and start learning. It’s hard now, but you’ll be so grateful in the future as it becomes more natural for you.
Best of luck, from one born shy person to another!
Thank you! This is actually some really good advice. It seems that whenever I get partway out of my shell, I run back in. But it’s also holding me back. Online I can be chatty Cathy, time to channel that in the real world too. 🙂
You’re welcome. And you can do it, trust me. It’s just that it’s a bit tough in the beginning, but it can happen. 🙂
My God. It’s scary how much I was nodding my head along with this post as I read it. Petrified of throwing myself out there to people I don’t know? Check. Writing the book is the easiest part? Check. Wishing the book would sell itself, so I can stay huddled in my comfy cocoon of familiarity and never leave? Check. On the plus side, blogging is a great way to market a book without having to actually vocally speak with anyone, so yay for that 😀
True that! I will definitely be blogging the heck out if this novel. That I can do. Still, if I want to see this book on local bookshelves (and I do!) then I better get over my fears. 🙂
My hope is that bookstore owners will feel sorry for me because I’m so awkward, and they’ll help me out above and beyond what they would have had I acted like a normal, put-together human being. Think it’ll work?
Ha ha! Not sure if it will work, but I think I was wishing the same thing. Lol!
I’m trying very hard to feel sorry for you right now…:) No, I get it. I wouldn’t deem myself as shy but I do feel more introverted since I’ve started writing. Can I ask you how you found your agent? I’ve sort of been doing a poll to see how many published authors actually got their agent from a query letter. Most I’ve spoken to did not. So, I was just curious about you. Honestly, I’m hoping you’ll say you did so it will give some validation to the hours I put into crafting, sending, re-crafting and re-sending mine. One cool idea for promoting your book that an author friend of mine has used is leaving some small trinket that has something to do with the book on coffee tables, restaurant bathrooms, libraries, hotels, airports etc. In her story her main character played the guitar so she left guitar picks with a link to her promotional website on it. She sold 10 thousand copies in the first month. Also I’ve heard book trailers are popular. Do you have one?
Agent? Ha! I’m still virtually a nobody, so no agent yet. But when I am in need of one, I plan to try to hit up the agent of my favorite author who just so happens to do business in my town. I’m hoping that if I’m established enough, it will help me stand out.
P.S. I love the guitar pick idea! Or something like that. It’s definitely something to think about!