Even social media is difficult for an introvert, who oftentimes lacks basic confidence. So what's an inspiring author supposed to do when she needs to recruit strangers to help with a social media campaign?
You pretend you're not shy, or an introvert and you fake yourself out, acting as though you really have no problem making conversation with totally random strangers.
But they weren't so random, the locations were selected carefully. We wanted cool., comfortable, roomy enough to spread out our stuff; the camera equipment, the books, the giveaways, the props.
But I had to recruit, dig deep and walk up to the ones I wanted. The kids that looked like they might like an urban fantasy, who weren't so engrossed in conversation it would be a complete intrusion.
With a deep breath and a lot reserve, I introduced myself as if I owned it, as if I exuded confidence and asked for what I wanted. The first guy gracefully declined, he was meeting someone soon. I thanked him for his time and moved on.
It was a perfect location. a coffee shop. There were four of them, twenty something's out on a Sunday afternoon. Some with backpacks and homework, all of them with their phones. I was surprised how willing they were to have their pictures taken. They graciously did as we asked as my friend and photographer Jim took their pictures.
In exchange, I gave them copies of book one, The Day of First Sun. I gave them some swag. They were nice and they seemed to enjoy the surprise in their day, something different, something unique.
The funny thing is, I always tell people I'm an introvert. Which I probably am, until I find myself in a perfectly comfortable situation. A happy place, where I do what I love, in a place where I'm passionate for what I do. Maybe all those times I thought I was shy and unable to do things is because I really didn't find that thing I loved, or I forgot what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up.
I seemed to have found my confidence, my strength. When I write, when I talk about my books, when I attend book fairs, those things I once thought were scary aren't so much anymore. I'm drawn to the life of an author and I look forward to the experience that comes with it.
Come see me at the Printer's Row Lit Fest on June 10th and 11th.
And for the first time I'll be attending the Ann Arbor Book Festival on June 17th. I can't wait to meet you. I can't wait to share.
Attending THE book fair as a child for me was a special memory. Filling out the order for my newest Judy Blume. It came back to me in full force when I attended Book Expo America as an adult and a writer trying to gain traction. It brought me to tears as I walked into the building, up the stairs and into the ginormous hall that would be home for the next four days.
Sometimes it feels like a step forward is the most important step you can make and everything, I mean EVERYTHING rides on that event. It's how I attended the Book Expo America Book Fair last week.
I had to do well and overcome my introversion, speak to everyone who passed within earshot of my booth and meet that one person. Only that would make this worthwhile, nothing short of meeting THAT person would do.
Sometimes we have predetermined expectations or hopes for an event. It doesn't always work out as we plan. Though I met several small publishers, publicists and bloggers, it wasn't what I hoped for. It was something worthwhile.
When you see inside the industry up close and personal, you can see your faults and stifle the tears, or you can see your strengths and walk with your head held high. It was an emotional whirlpool that made me want to keep pushing forward or quit all within a matter of minutes.
What I did instead of let the fear and loathing bring me down, I spoke with other writers, shared information and experiences, encouraged others and took A LOT of notes.
It wasn't what I expected when I signed up, but the experience left me with a sense that the future is still within my reach, I just need to stretch a little longer.
In the Chicago area, come find me at the Printer's Row Lit Fest, June 11-12.Continue reading