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.