Thanks so much for having me Rebecca. I wanted to tell your readers how I came to be invited on this blog. The story goes – Rebecca and I sat next to each other at a convention workshop in Seattle, and got to chatting like authors tend to do during the intermissions at these presentations. She was so sweet and invited me to contact her when my new release came due as she wanted to support me.
Rebecca, I thought that was incredibly nice and just wanted you and your readers to know how very much I appreciated your offer. (It's certainly not hard to be nice to Mimi. She's a sweetheart and very easy to talk to.)
Bio: Mimi Barbour lives on the beautiful west coast on Vancouver Island and writes her spirit/travel romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. Asked why she prefers paranormal, she answers - chuckling.
“Because it’s fun! Imagination can be a lot more interesting than what happens in real life to so-called normal people. I love my characters, and my goal is to make the readers love them also. To care about what happens to them while the story unfolds. If I can steal my booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a humorous fantasy, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”
Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
A Nope – not even a little. One day at church, they were doing the Myers-Briggs testing on a bunch of parishioners, and I had to go to the far end of the line for being the one most extraverted. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not!!!
Q That's a great thing. I wish some of that would rub off on me. :) So, what’s the hardest part of this business for you?
A The hardest part…hmmm!
I love the writing. To create the characters and take them from their everyday lives, put them in crazy situations where they meet and fall in love, torture them along the way, and then – finally – let them have their happy endings.
I love the networking and meeting new people both online and in person. Authors are wonderful, warm and caring folks who are only too happy to give a helping hand and answer any questions they can. (Prime example - how sweet you were to me in Seattle.)
I love being a member of the local RWA and various writing groups I’ve joined. By working closely with others who care about the same things I do, it’s opened up a whole new world for me.
But, I dread the time I have to spend on promoting the books. It takes me away from what I love to do best, and that’s write. Marketing is like a whole new career. One that I don’t understand very well, and I’m not too good at. And one that you can never be sure whether you're wasting your time or not. Maybe a publicist would know how to keep track of the increased traffic to the website because of certain blogs or tweets, etc. Me, I have no idea. I just flounder around and try to do whatever seems to be the best choice for my time and my dollars. The only positive seems to be that from when the first book of the Vicarage Bench Series was released called She’s Me to this latest novel Together Again, which is the fourth in the series, I’ve learnt more than I ever thought possible. It’s amazing how new information keeps on coming faster than I can follow it up. I wonder sometimes why come my ole brain doesn’t self-destruct.
Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?
A Well, not too long ago a BFF who belongs to the Toastmasters invited me to come visit her and speak for her group and tell them about my experiences in becoming a multi-published author. Believing she was talking about a small group of 6 or 7 people, and that we’d be sitting around her living room drinking wine and visiting, I said sure. Turns out she wanted to get a certain certificate, and to do so, she needed to organize an evening community event. Next thing I knew, I’d promised to give a 30 minute talk about my journey from Little Miss Homemaker, to author of The Vicarage Bench Series. And do a reading from one of my books.
Posters went up all over town and my fingernails began to disappear. Sleep became a thing of the past, and I had to buy a larger bottle of Gaviscon. Talk about being scared – I’d never done anything like this before. I worried it to death until one evening, I gave myself a good talking to. What doesn’t kill only makes you stronger, I said. Grow up, I added. It’ll be over before you know it. Then I came up with a great solution.
I decided that as soon as the evening started, I would introduce myself to as many folks as I could before I had to start talking. That way it would be more like an evening with friends rather than with strangers. Worked like a hot damn! Once I got up in front of the crowd, I had them laughing within a few minutes, and from then on – no problem. Ended up, there were about 35-40 people that night and a good handful were men. Sold every book I’d brought with me, and answered questions for at least a half an hour afterwards. Turned out to be such a great success that I’m hoping to do the same for the Toastmaster group in my own area. Go figure!!
Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
A Since I’ve pretty well scotched the idea of any shyness about my personality whatsoever, I guess I can’t speak from experience. Only from what seems to work for some of my friends. Whether you’re shy or not, get out there as much as you can. Join the local chapter of RWA. Go to workshops and conferences. The more often you do, the more people you’ll meet. As it happens, many are like me who’ll start up conversations with you. It’s also imperative to get on the various loops and join lots of writers communities such as Goodreads and Savvy Authors to name a couple. Get involved. It’s probably easier for you when it’s not in person anyway. Remember, once your book is released, you’ll be faced with the promo work also. And if you’ve kept to yourself, it’ll be hell trying to get both you and your book out at the same time.
Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
A I really enjoy having visitors to my website, so please check in at http://www.mimibarbour.com/ and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.
Or follow me on Twitter. Or on Facebook…
Mimi, thanks so much for your awesome advice to us introverts!