Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

by Rebecca Talley

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've left 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 and that left me a little deflated. But I decided not to give up and 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.

PS I ordered 1000 bookmarks from, both sides, glossy finish for about $60. I chose the 2-4 business day turnaround on a Wednesday and had my bookmarks the following Monday morning. I'd recommend this company.


Michael Knudsen said...

Thanks Rebecca, I always enjoy the "adventures of the humble and intrepid writer" stories. At signings, I usually let people come to me, and so far there hasn't been any shortage of questions for the guy in the tuxedo (I definitely recommend a theme or something related to your book that grabs attention).

I'm with you on, those are nice bookmarks for the price and delivered fast!