Tuesday, October 16, 2007

May the force be with you

This has been a great year for me. My first book came out from The Wild Rose Press, more were contracted, and opportunity knocked at my door. What’s been part of my learning curve is to decide which opportunities to take. For introverts, opportunities can be scary things indeed.

There were festivals, near and far. I attended some in a booksigning capacity. I spoke at local organizations, at local writers’ groups, at regional conferences. There were blogs, interviews, press releases, and so many more opportunities to chose from.

What’s a newbie author to do? Especially an introvert like me.

First, take a deep breath. No one is making you do any of this stuff. You won’t get a bad grade if you skip something or if you say no.

That’s actually the hardest part, saying no.

Practice saying it with me right now: NO. You are not required to drive to an outdoor literary festival 4 hours away, pay $30 for the privilege of being there, and sit in the August heat all day hoping to make book sales to perfect strangers. You are not required to send press releases about your latest book to every newspaper within 100 miles.

In fact, you’re not required to do anything. But you will. You will do crazy things to make sales. You’ll do it in the name of networking, to help a friend, or just because it appeals to you.

That’s actually the key to happy promotion, in my opinion. Do the no-brainer stuff first, the stuff that’s easy or that you enjoy. Then chose something outside your comfort zone and do that. A little later, try something else. Keep track of how much time and effort these activities take. You’ll need that feedback for your next book.

Recently, I was asked to do the same talk two weeks in a row to different groups. I was highly stressed for the first talk but it went over great. I didn’t even sweat the second talk, until that morning when I wanted to look over my notes, and I couldn’t find them. My brain froze. Honest.

I could barely remember my name, much less my topic, which was “Ways to get started in writing.” I had a full fledged panic attack, then I realized what I was doing. I was all worked up about a talk I could do in my sleep. A few more deep breaths, and my brain unfroze. Then I remembered where I’d stashed the notes - in the tote with my books to sell. Duh. I gave the talk and I didn’t glance at my notes once.

Why? Because I believed in myself. Same as you believe in yourself. When you’re called upon to step outside your comfort zone, take that deep breath. Close your eyes and become fearless like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

May the force be with you in all your promotional and writing events!
Maggie Toussaint
No Second Chance, electronic release 12/28/07 from The Wild Rose Press
cross-posted at www.sweeterromanticnotions.com/blog


Clover said...

Oh, Maggie, I needed that... okay I can breathe again.

lainey bancroft said...

"and so many more opportunities to chose from."
"Then chose something outside your comfort zone and do that."


Hey, Maggie, I CHOSE to call you on the boo-boo. At least you're consistent!

I have yet to step outside my comfort zone in a marketing capacity, but I need to!

I envy the drive that drove you to speak publicly. Well done!

Hope it brings all the kudos/sales you deserve.

Rynne Raines said...

Great blog Maggie, I'm sooo introverted and it's nice to know they're more out there like me. I like your adivce...step outside the comfort zone. Little steps, eh? :)

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hooray for Lainey for finding the typo. I'm always getting choose and chose mixed up. I get it right if I read them out loud, but I forgot to do it this time.

High Five for Lainey!!!

Hi to Clover and Rynne and thanks for chiming in!

Beth said...

Hi Maggie - I loved your blog and I also noticed your typo. Chose instead of Choose. Those are the worst kinds of typos because the computer doesn't catch them. I'm an introvert too - atleast until I get a little confidence going.