The Scariest Thing

Desk with marketing materials on it.

Writing is mostly heaven for introverts. Which is why an overwhelming percentage of writers are introverts. And I am no exception.

But now, my book is written, and I have navigated the gauntlet of publishing. Edits, writing style, font, cover art, blurbs, these are all complete and I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Until I get it. My publisher’s list of all the news outlets, radio stations, and blogs they are sending my book information to, in the hopes they will book me for interviews.

I have to believe only a small number of them will. I’m a first-time author, unknown, reclusive. Why would they want to talk to little ol’ me?

But you should, says my publisher. If you want to be successful, you should do interviews, blogs, videos, and got to bookstores and ask them to stock your book (because publishers only get to send to the main offices, not branches of chains like Waterstones). Besides, if your book sells, we make a percentage of those sales, and maybe other people will want to publish you in future, and by your third book you may even make a profit!

I feel like those stressed parents trying to get their children into the best daycare center because if they don’t they won’t make the best grade school or high school and they can kiss that Harvard education goodbye.

It’s not that I don’t think my book isn’t worth it. I’ve grown quite fond of it now that it has left home and spread its wings to fly into the world. It’s no longer here to torture me with worry about a clumsy phrase or an overlooked misspelling.

But those of you who know me personally will understand that, while I may occasionally slip up and write something mildly offensive or not politically correct, when I speak it’s almost GUARANTEED to happen. I’m a Sagittarius. An INTJ. I lack that essential filter between brain and mouth.

At one of the first panels I spoke on when working at a tech company in the early days of the internet, a woman asked if she could be successful selling certain things on it. “Of course you can, they sell condoms on it!” I replied, before the man next to me took over and started talking about marketing plans. My boss didn’t send me to speak at any other conferences.

And when I moved to England, feedback on my speeches included comments such as “I didn’t understand a thing she said.” Might have been the accent. The speed. The content. All of the above.

I’ve done a few presentations since then, even guided international military personnel through seminars to review projects and won a county-wide award for public speaking. The congregation at my church always compliments me on Bible readings (although that could be because they are mostly elderly and I do speak loudly). But still, I can hear that little voice in my head whispering naughty things¬† to say and making them seem normal.

Stay tuned to find out if the voice wins. If nothing else, it will make my appearances interesting, even if it doesn’t sell a lot of books.

What are your greatest fears, and how do you face them (if you do)?

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