Monday, January 24, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

I did a book signing the weekend before last. The signing was great, but I learned even more on the way home. The four of us, Tristi Pinkston, Daron Fraley, Don Carey, and I stopped at libraries and bookstores between Logan and Salt Lake. Following Tristi's lead, I learned from a fearless master to step out of my comfort zone and approach people about my book.

I don't have a problem talking to people. I can talk for a long time (just ask my kids), but talking to someone about my author self and my books is something altogether different. I always feel funny talking up my book because I feel like I'm bragging and being conceited or something. I love to talk writing and I love my books, but I don't want people to think of me as a salesperson trying to pawn off my books. Yet, if I don't talk about my books than I may not be doing part of my job as an author. It's a catch-22 for me.

I used to think being an author meant I wrote books. That's true, but that isn't the whole picture. Promotion and marketing are a big part of being an author. With so many great LDS books by so many talented authors, how will I stand out, especially if I don't try to promote mine? And, yet, I feel like that obnoxious car salesman that won't leave you alone for two seconds. 

I haven't been too vocal about my books in the area where I live. I have visited, and even done a book launch, at an area LDS bookstore (I've known the owners forever) and I've contacted the newspaper to do an article. But, other than that, I leave my promotion to what I can do online because I'm way cooler online. But, after watching Mistress Tristi in action, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try a few more things in my area.

I visited an area library and asked if I could leave bookmarks, but was told I couldn't. I then visited Hastings Bookstore and asked again. Not only did they allow me to leave bookmarks, but asked if I'd like to do a book signing. A few days later, I visited another nearby library. After slipping on the ice and landing in a snowbank, I wiped myself off, shook the snow out of my shoe, dusted off my purse, and asked if I could leave bookmarks. I was pleasantly surprised when the librarian there agreed to let me. I then went to a bookstore near that library and was able to leave bookmarks. The gentleman even asked me to call back so they could get more information and help promote a local author. Hooray!!

I'd still much rather write than promote. And if I never had to promote again, I'd be happy. But, it is what it is and stepping out of my comfort zone didn't actually kill me so I may try it again. Someday.


Rebecca Irvine said...

great ideas--thanks for sharing these. I am a timid author too.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the slip on the ice could have killed you, so maybe promoting yourself really is dangerous! :)

Just think - you could have given up after the first library told you no bookmarks. Instead, you had success with several places after.

Way to go!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for not telling them that I also taught you how to fall on the ice. It would have been really embarrassing if your readers knew that.

Oh, wait ...