Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Review by Guest Blogger Pamela D. Toler

(Pictured: C. Hope Clark)

My first reaction on reading Hope Clark's The Shy Writer was "She gets it.  She really gets it."

Unlike the various teachers, friends, and self-appointed mentors who have urged us to "get over" being shy through the years, Hope is one of us.  She knows that shyness is not a character flaw and not something we'll outgrow.  She says firmly that shyness is as permanent a part of us as our original hair color.  (Personally, having watched my hair fade in recent years from new-penny copper to Irish whiskey tawny, I could argue that shyness is more permanent than hair color.)  She points out the strengths that come with being an introvert as well as acknowledging the challenges. 

Much of the book is a collection of useful tactics for coping with the tasks that can make a shy writer want to power down her computer for good.  Whether you need to make a phone call, mingle at a networking event, or make a public presentation, Hope has practical ideas for taking the edge off your anxiety.  Or at least disguising it. 

More important, however, is Hope's challenge to each of us to name our limitations and define our comfort zones.  Recognizing that shrinking violets come in different shades of purple, she asks questions in each chapter that are designed to help a shy writer identify which anxieties she can live with and which tasks cost her more than she can afford. 

In my judgment, The Shy Writer is a must read for any Violet who wants to function in the publishing world.

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Robin and I want to thank our SVP reader Pamela D. Toler for volunteering to review The Shy Writer for us-- thanks much, Pam!  Since Pam already had a copy of this book, we are sending her a copy Susan Shaugnnessy's wonderful book entitled Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers.  I've enjoyed it, Pam, and hope you will too!

If you get a chance to follow Hope Clark's link, it will take you to her website entitled Funds for Writers which does exactly what the name purports-- links writers to numerous cash-paying grants, contests, fellowships and freelance opportunities.  Hope's website has been honored for the 8th year in a row as one of 101 Top Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest.

We are looking for some SVP readers across the country to volunteer to do a spotlight of their local indie during our upcoming month long salute of Independent Booksellers that starts in just three weeks.  Robin and I haven't finished hammering out the details, but at a minimum, this is an opportunity for you to meet your local bookseller if you haven't already, photograph one or more of their staff, and tell us a bit about their store. In turn, your bookseller, then, would be eligible to be in the running for the Independent Bookseller of the Year.  This is one of those marvelous karmic networking opportunities that we talk about here. If you are interested, please email me at Tell me more!  

Hope you all have a seriously stellar week--

Mary Hershey


Hope Clark said...


I want to thank you and Pamela Toler for such a glowing review of THE SHY WRITER. That book was written from the heart, with the intention of validating shy people as being worthy. Shyness isn't detrimental unless we let it be, and often it can be considered a strength. Thanks so very much.

Hope Clark

Mary Hershey said...

Hi, Hope!

I was hoping we'd hear from you, and you heard my wish. Yay! Congrats on your stellar work at Funds for Writers and for your book. Can't wait to read it, and add it to my Shrinking Violet collection.

And, you had me at... Hello-I-wear-a-hoodie-in-my-author-photo!"

Mary Hershey

tanita davis said...

Thank you for another fabulous book suggestion!