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