Thursday, February 24, 2011

VIJAYA SCHARTZ: I wasn't always outgoing

Please help me welcome award-winning author Vijaya Schartz to the blog.

I remember blushing at any compliment, or finding ways to diminish it. I couldn’t possibly be that talented. And that old thing was actually a very old thing that didn’t really look that good on me. I remember being tongue-tied, unable to utter that clever repartee when people made unpleasant comments. I admired those who always looked comfortable speaking to strangers, and expressing what was in their articulate minds.

Not that my mind wasn’t articulate. It was. But it would shut down when I was on the spot, when I needed it the most. That fear is akin to the fear of public speaking, which is the number one and most common fear in the world. Fear of death only comes number seven on the list.

I wasn’t going to let any silly fear get in the way of my dreams. At the age of ten, I was seeking the darkest corners of the cellar at night, to overcome my fear of the dark. If I could get rid of that fear, I could conquer my shyness as well. So, in my late teens, I decided to take drama lessons and get on stage in front of everyone. It was easier than I thought. I even made a brief career in the theater, before moving on. But I soon discovered that playing a character on stage wasn’t at all like speaking your mind. If the audience didn’t like the play, they passed judgment on the playwright.

But when I spoke about what I believed, it was still paralyzing. All these people were judging me. So I took public speaking lessons, practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. Eventually, I learned not to care about what other people thought of my ideas. I couldn’t please everyone, and I accepted that.

So it came as a shock and a surprise, when later, as a writer, after suffering the pains of rejection and getting published, I realized that I had to promote my own books. These babies of mine were a most sensitive topic, and all my training had not prepared me for the vagaries of self promotion.

My husband is a businessman. He suggested that I forget about the fact that I wrote the books, and treat them like a product. I only needed to bring the information to all the potential readers. Whether they liked the books or not, whether or not they bought the books, was not my responsibility. I only had to go through the motions. After all my publisher believed in my books, who was I to doubt myself?

So now, when I do a book signing, I make eye contact with a browsing reader, smile, hold out my paperback and say: "Hey, have you read my latest novel? It’s a sexy sci-fi romance, with lots of action and a little suspense. You should try it." Half the time they just walk by, but the other half, they stop, take the book and read the back blurb. Whether they like the book or not isn’t my problem anymore. I did my job. I communicated the information about a quality product.

My friends think I am this guru of self promotion and marketing. But I’m just a very shy person inside, who decided at an early age to overcome her fears, because she didn’t want them to get in the way of her dreams. And I still do it. If you visit my website and read my bio, you'll discover that I still have a fear of heights, but I do jump out of planes... the secret is: practice, practice, practice.

Award-winning Sci-Fi, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick http://www.vijayaschartz.com/

Vijaya's paperbacks, kindle, and audiobooks at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JP7UJ4

Vijaya's eBooks at ARe: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Vijaya+Schartz


About Vijaya: Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims she comes from the future. Her books collected many five star reviews and literary awards. She makes you believe you actually lived these extraordinary adventures among her characters. Her stories have been compared to Indiana Jones with sizzling romance. So, go ahead, dare to experience the magic, and she will keep you entranced, turning the pages until the last line. Find more at http://www.vijayaschartz.com/

10 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, Vijaya, for being here. I accidentally hit "publish" about an hour early, so it posted Thursday rather than Friday.

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  2. Thanks, Rebecca. It's so true that writers are shy and insecure. But When I say I'm shy, they don't believe me. Love this blog.

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  3. Good for you. Too often we allow our fears to take over our lives. I'm shy until I get to be comfortable around you then I don't shut up. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Great post. Lots of good information. I also like to jump out of planes!! LOL! Jillian

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  5. Awesome - I think those experiences are familiar to most of us - and the height thing - I drove a 5-speed up Pike's Peak. Passed out on top, but I drove it baby!!

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  6. I'm a horribly shy person and self promotion is like hell to me. I know I need to get over it. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  7. Vijaya,
    You're so good at what you do and at NOT letting your inner shyness get to you. When I read this headline I thought- "Yeah, Right." LOL. I'm learning from you and others at DR to kick my shyness in the A@@ and forget about it- if only for a few minutes at a time. Recently, I forced myself to accept a certificate in front of a bunch "VIPs" Thinking "it's for my career." We'll see how it pays off. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I also am a naturally shy person. Every rejection I've had was like a punch in the gut. When I began writing, I had to get over my shyness and extreme sensitivity. I'm sure many talented people give up on writing, performing, etc., because of their shy personalities and inner sensitivity. I understand their pain, but I always hear my mother's admonition to "get a thick skin." I used to be shocked at a good review. I also used to somehow diminish thew good comments with some self-disparaging reply. Now, I give a heartfelt "Thank you." Even rejections and criticism, I take as constructive advice.

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  9. Thank you so much for your comments, Linda, Ceri, Jillian, Viola, Donna, and She. It's great to know others can relate. Hope it helps you too, knowing that you are not alone on this difficult path.

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  10. Hi Vijaya, interesting read. I was with you all the way until you jumped out of the airplane!!
    Janis Lane

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