The Shy Writer
Earlier this week I wrote a post about fantasy author Steph Swainston’s career change and how I felt about all the things she really disliked about being a career novelist. There’s a part of every person’s job that they may dislike or not be so good at.
So today I’m going to share with everyone my biggest obstacle as a career novelist.
Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I have difficulty with marketing myself and interacting with fans in person. My problem seems to be that I’m terribly shy and anxious (it also doesn’t help that I’m empathic – probably to a fault).
Yes, you heard me right. I’m friggin’ shy. I’ve been known to freeze up and not be able to speak — that’s how anxious I can get. 🙂 When you have someone talking to you and you freeze up, it’s damn embarassing. It’s even worse in front of an audience. (I’ve had both happen.)
Of course this is why the Internet is such a wonderful thing for me. I’m obviously very vocal and have an outgoing Internet personality.
I also tend to suffer from over-stimulation in crowds of people. I find conferences, conventions, and book signings somewhat exhausting. This is because I get so nervous (the whole shy thing) plus you have to be “on” for the duration of the event, and then there’s the constant flow of new faces and new people. Throw into that the empathy and the entire situation becomes extremely intimidating and overwhelming for someone like me.
Due to this – I’ve decided recently to start renting a room at every conference and convention I attend if I’m going to be there for any duration over five hours because I need a place to hide and “recouperate” after these emotionally draining durations spent speaking on panels and doing book signings. Not all writers are social people.
But it’s an area I’m working on. I can only hope it will improve with time and practice. After all – I love my readers. I do – you guys are awesome.
As a matter of fact I am hopefully doing my first , in several years, book signing on September 24. I’m just waiting for confirmation that my spot has been reserved. I’m also considering doing the Colorado Gold Writers Conference in 2012 with my partner-in-crime, author Lisa Adams. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll do Mile Hi Con in 2012, too. By then (October) Eagle’s Talon Gray should be out so I’ll have five books to pimp (the two urban fantasy/paranormal mysteries and the entire Sorcerers’ Twilight series).
It’s true that authors are kind of expected to have a “celebrity” flair about them and do need to show their faces every now and again. So if you meet me in person please be gentle. And if I seem aloof or like I’m trying to run away (or if I stare at you with a look of sheer horror on my face), just know that it’s not you — it’s my flight response kicking in and I’m navigating a difficult (for me) social situation in the best way that I can.
I do hope that at some point I’ll be able to manage the social/public appearance aspect of my career with more confidence. Until then, I’ll muddle through and likely continue making a complete ass out of myself. ::shrug::
I know exactly how you feel, I am the same.
I wish you a deep feeling of calm at your signing. 🙂
Same here. Completely. Good luck with the signing.