It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
By now, I assume that anyone coming here is already well-versed in this group, but if you happen to be new (and welcome, if you are...), or would just like more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.
This month's co-hosts are: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.
This month's (optional) question asks, "How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?"
But I'm going to skip that question in order to ramble on about something else. And it may not be anything more than a ramble because I am seven days into NaNoWriMo, meaning that I am now approximately 85% Dr. Pepper, 10% Pop Tarts, and 5% water, which may make me 100% more incomprehensible than normal.
So, okay. If you follow me on social media, then you may already be aware that last weekend, I took part in a local book fair, meaning I had my books (y'all, I have more than one book now!) on a table and I engaged (if you use the term loosely) with the general public (or, those who wandered by, anyway) in an effort to sell said books.
The woman at the table next to me had many more books to her name that had gone through multiple printings, as well as an agent and a publisher who wanted her to write more. (Interesting side note: she told me that writing was never something she had actually wanted to do. It was just something she ended up doing, unlike me, who has been writing ever since I learned how.) We were at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as what we wrote, why we wrote, how we wrote, and how we sold what we wrote.
She went for what I would consider to be the hard sell. She approached anyone who came close enough to tell them who she was and what she wrote before asking what they liked to read and then handing them whatever book best fit their preferences. And it seemed to work for her because though I wasn't tracking her sales, she said repeatedly that she was selling more than she had anticipated.
Which, seriously, good for her.
I, on the other hand, took a more...laid back approach. In the interest of full disclosure, I honestly feel if I so much as say, "Hey, I wrote a book" then I am going for the hard sell, which is not a feeling I enjoy. Therefore, I very seldom utter that sentence. Or anything else even remotely close to that sentence. Instead, I followed my retail rules, meaning I greeted anyone who came into my zone so they would know that I knew they existed, asked how they were doing, then left them alone to browse as they desired, keeping an eye out for obvious signs of needing help. Or actually answering any actually asked questions (say that five times fast...).
This is an approach with which I am at least faintly comfortable. So much of the marketing/self-promotion side of writing just makes me feel awful—physically awful—that I truly struggle with it. For me, these events are really more an opportunity for me to put myself out there just a little bit, in the hopes that one day it may get easier and I'll get better at it.
But my efforts prompted my neighbor to declare, "You're too shy. You need to talk more."
Which prompted me to want to do this:
Because I do not want to talk more. The idea of doing so fills me terror on the same level as me taking a walk outside in the Florida woods (which is to say, pretty damn terrifying...).
I feel like I talk all the freaking time and sound like a complete idiot while doing it, and I literally feel awful—again, physically awful—for days following social interactions.
But I thought I did all right last Saturday. I had some good conversations with people at that event, and I actually sold a few books (as in more than one). I ultimately came away thinking that it had been a pretty successful experience overall. I didn't sell nearly as many books as my neighbor did—something of which she did make note—but I feel like that comes back to what I have said in previous posts (or at least one post).
That the only person who gets to define success in these situations is you. Me. However that works. (Have I mentioned the NaNo-induced sleep deprivation?)
Which prompts me to end yet another post with my favorite words to live by (that may or may not have anything to do with whatever the hell I was talking about):
DO YOUR THING AND DON'T CARE IF THEY LIKE IT.
That's going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. And if you're participating in NaNoWriMo
this month, I hope it's going well!