As writers, many of us prefer to dodge the spotlight. We don’t relish the idea of getting out in public and speaking about what we do for a living, perhaps preferring to remain behind the shield of our computers where we work in blissful solitude. I know that’s how I felt. But one morning when I stubbed my toe on that big cardboard box filled with contributor copies of various anthologies, I decided it was time for me to move those books out into the world. And the way to do that? I had to hold a book signing event.
The next day, I tossed aside my trepidations about speaking in front of a crowd and contacted the person in charge of public relations at my local public library. Without fanfare, we decided on a mutually agreeable date for the event and the commitment was made. Now there was no turning back. So, noting Mark Twain’s opinion that it takes at least three weeks to plan a good impromptu speech, I devised an outline for my speaking event then practiced my presentation until I could recite it in my sleep. And when I stood in front of an audience of over fifty people, I was glad I had taken Twain’s sage advice.
That night, I sold out of three of the nine titles I had available for sale, garnering a tidy sum. However, what happened after the presentation was even more impressive. The next day, I was asked by a member of a local writer’s group who had been in attendance to co-facilitate a workshop. The day after that, I received a call from another audience member inviting me to speak at their literary club’s annual holiday party. A few weeks later, at the writer’s workshop where I co-facilitated, two students approached me to inquire about where else I taught. Could this be the start of a following? Well, it seemed like it to me and with that in mind I am currently working toward the opportunity of teaching an adult education course in creative writing.
Sure, as writers our first priority is to write, but we also have to promote ourselves. Some of us shrinking violets may feel more comfortable doing that on a blog or with a website. Electronic networking certainly does have its place. As for me, though, I recommend also getting out and letting your light shine the old fashioned way – with a public appearance. It opened up a whole host of unexpected opportunities for me and I imagine it can for you, too.
Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island. In addition to credits in over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort titles, her writing has been included in such publications as Sasee, Ocean, The Secret Place, and Woman’s World.
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WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION: ADVICE FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
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