I raise Australian Shepherds (which you can read about here). One of the character traits of the Aussie, according to the breed standard, is the fact they tend to be reserved with strangers. It happens to be one of the many things I love about them, and also one of the things we share in common.
As a child I was extremely shy. Some folks who know me now find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Ask anyone in my family. Even now, put me in a room full of strangers and I’m going to keep to myself. I don’t mingle well. I’m a terrible schmoozer. If I don’t know you, the chances are I won’t be initiating conversation. My personal space is HUGE. I was the one in college lectures who tried to remain invisible so as to escape the prof’s detection and the prospect of voicing an answer — even when I knew it. I don’t even like being asked by well-meaning store employees if I need help finding something. I’ll come to you if I do, thanks very much.
And, about now, you’re probably wondering if you’ve stumbled onto the wrong blog and/or what this has to do with writing.
I shall explain.
As the excitement over the cover reveal for Witch Hunt: Of the Blood begins to solidify into the reality of soon holding the actual book in my hands, discussion amongst the authors involved has centered around marketing. Part of that may involve book signings and public appearances.
Now, read that last sentence again. Then go back and read the second paragraph over. I’ll wait.
Back already? <quickly gobbles up last of chocolate cake and wipes mouth> That was quick. Where were we? Oh, yeah, me and book signings. I know, it’s all part of the business of being a writer, getting out there, promoting myself, pushing my book. I’d hoped this day would come.
In my head this moment comes complete with an efficient, spectacled, incredibly awesome Personal Assistant/Marketing Guru/PR Rep. You know the type — tailored suit, stuffed day planner, confidence oozing from every pore of her body, understands all my idiosyncrasies and rises to the challenge just the same. She arranges everything. All I have to do is sneak in for an hour or so, paste a smile on my face, sign books, then slink back to my shack in the woods, quivering head to toe as I down a nice big drink. I’m a writer, dang it, not a Hollywood starlet!
At least when I had art openings, I could just walk around and pretend to be one of the viewers and not one of the artists. Of course, my photo on the literature and the corsage pinned to my chest might have given me away, but at least I wasn’t the Center of Attention.
And what if no one comes? What if I’m the geeky nerd who wants to be popular and throws a party that NO ONE COMES TO? Well, ultimately, his three equally geeky nerd friends come and try to make the best of it but let’s face it, the party is a flop of epic proportions.
Almost worse…what if A LOT OF PEOPLE COME? What if they ask me questions? What if my hand is shaking so badly I can’t even sign my own name, let alone focus enough to inscribe whatever they’re telling me? Patiently. Three times. Enunciating vay-ree-slow-ly as it becomes obvious to them the author is a blithering idiot.
Don’t get me wrong, I want people to like the anthology. I want them to LOVE it. I want <lowers voice to a whisper> adoring fans. Not the Misery type of adoring fan, mind you. Just the normal, “I love your writing, when are you going to have a new book out” type of fan. Hopefully, they’re also the ones who will understand that many of us writers are introverts and just want you to love our stories and will overlook our lack of social confidence and accept us just the same.
Or, I just need to slap myself up alongside the head and say what I’d say to a friend at a time like this. “Suck it up, Buttercup!”