My workshop today was sponsored by the Writers Guild of Texas. The audience was aspiring authors and published authors, and we had a lot of fun. They were a lively group and asked a lot of great questions. We ran about thirty minutes over our allotted time.
Which leads me to the subject for today. You don't have to be a "people" person to be a writer, but it sure does help when you're doing book promotion.
Wanna know a secret?
I was painfully shy as a kid. So painfully shy that my college instructors questioned my plan to teach on the junior high and high school level. One of the instuctors actually told me that I would never be able to stand in front of a classroom and speak. I got concerned enough that I signed up to take Speech in the hope that it would make me more comfortable speaking in front of a group. It did nothing except increase my anxiety.
Interestingly enough, the last time I talked about this subject was last August right before another speaking engagement for this same group, although the organization is now renamed. Here's the story of how I overcame my shyness.
The point of this post is that, if you're a writer, you should think ahead to promotion. What are you comfortable doing? Would you be willing to visit bookclubs and speak to small groups of five or six? Would you be willing to do a talk in front of a group of thirty people? Would you be willing to do a booksigning in a store where it would be up to you to engage potential buyers?
I had two different people come up to me this afternoon to say, "I never thought about what happens after I sell a manuscript. It's a little scary."
My experience has been that scary things can be managed if you have a plan of action.
Join Toastmasters. It's a great organization for learning how to speak in front of groups.
Think about doing a mix of promotional activities. You can create an online presence on MySpace and in the blogosphere. You can do interviews online instead of in person. You can do conference calls with bookclubs over the phone. Think about doing podcasts where you are recorded speaking, but don't have to face a crowd.
But think about it now. Have a plan.