I must admit, I’m guilty. I’ve done a number of publicity posts about the need to get out into your local community and finding the courage to own the fact that you’re an author.
But what about those authors who aren’t shy or reserved? What might be holding you back?
There are a number of self-published or small press authors who have no trouble talking about their book(s) – it’s what they’re passionate about after all. Where uncertainty may creep to the fore revolves around your personal ability to remain focused, feel prepared, reach out and schedule appearances (and keep track of them!), feeling overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done in order to face your public…
Several months ago a follower of this blog asked me these very questions.
You see, she is that passionate author but her personal challenge isn’t overcoming shyness … it’s working with her personal ability to focus and not feel overwhelmed by all the things we self/small press authors face. She freely admitted to me that she didn’t necessarily have to plan ahead to give a talk on any aspect of her book, and yet she dreaded the idea of publicizing herself in this way.
Each of us have roadblocks we face and it’s a matter of finding the right detour to take, to get to our destination. ~ MJ Moores
Even if you’re not a “list” person, I highly advise you to at least think about the top 3 – 5 reasons you’re not reaching out to local vendors or doing book signings. Then, you need to seriously consider how to eliminate those “excuses” 😉
- I’m too busy – If being an author is important to you and this is something you want to try, then find a day in the next month or two that you feel comfortable setting aside just for you and your book(s).
- I have a hard time remembering/keeping track of these things – If you are comfortable working with technology, my biggest suggestion would be to utilize your computer and your phone (synch them if possible) and get a digital appointment book/calendar started. You can get your devices to warn you a week in advance, a day in advance, an hour, and even 15min. before you need to be somewhere (driving time, right?) – use them all. If digital isn’t your thing, my best go-tos are colour-coded post-it notes in strategic places (house, purse/wallet, car, office, etc.) and my writing buddy. She helps me with my areas of need, and I do the same for her. As long as it isn’t all the time, a friend/relative could give you a call the day before and then the hour before. It’s about finding a reasonable solution that works.
- I don’t like “talking business” or “talking about myself” – Then what you need is an ally. It could be a writing buddy, friend, relative, colleague you get along really well with… if you’re not “shy” then bring up your discomfort with this aspect of your authorship and see what people are willing to do on your behalf. Maybe someone just might offer to call the book store and the library for you – you just need to believe in the goodness of others 🙂
- I’ve got so much to say, how do I choose? – Get back to that list writing from earlier: jot down all of the topics (and their pertinent sub-topics and the minimum amount of time you see yourself dedicating to each item. Then, ask your librarian contact or the head of the arts council who arranged your speaking engagement (whoever) which topic(s) they believe their patrons would be most interested in. Also, consider if you done another talk nearby recently – if someone who went to the last one, decides to come to this one, you’ll want to cover some fresh information.
- I constantly worry about being underprepared – So over-prepare then. If you think you’ll run out of things to say, make a handy list you can refer to (see above but for a different use). Always have an “Author Bag” ready in the trunk of your car (preferably something on wheels so that you don’t need to lug it around on your shoulder) and include a minimum of 5 books, a stash of author business cards, any flyers you’re promoting, a poster with a stand or a way to hang it from a tabletop or tablecloth, 2 signing pens, change (if your book is $18 then keep a bunch of toonies/two-dollars in a ziploc bag or small change purse). Not sure what to wear? Get someone’s opinion and then stick to it.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is you making a plan and sticking to it. Don’t talk yourself out of it – you want to do this. You like talking about your book.
So do it 😉