Monday, May 31, 2010

Achieving the Impossible--One Step at a Time

Internal conflict! Turmoil! Dramatic questions! (Will she achieve her goal or won’t she?) Physical challenges to be met along the way! All the ingredients of our novels, right? Perhaps. But it was also what I was personally wrestling with when presented with the opportunity for one of the writerly brass rings—a book tour. Every writer dreams of it, and every introvert dreads it (instant internal conflict!) But I not only survived my first book tour, I turned it into a chance to force myself to develop skills I'd been previously lacking, and I thought I’d share some of the strategies I discovered that made this possible. The bad news, it is long, Dear Reader. The good news? I’ve learned how to do page cuts on Blogger!

Come on, admit it. When you first begin to dream of being an author, your dreams include book signings with long lines of adoring fans who cannot wait to read YOUR book, going on a book tour to meet all those said fans, and generally having the Red Carpet rolled out for you. But mostly it’s a nice safe dream, not something you actually have to cope with. So imagine my combination of surprise, thrill, and a teensy bit of angst when my publisher mentioned they wanted to send me on a small east coast book tour. But this was a dream, I reminded myself! A huge sign of support on my publisher’s part! It was one of the brass rings of publishing! Needless to say, that teensy bit of Angst was beat into submission by Surprise and Thrill.

Until the tour drew closer. Then Angst reared its ugly head as I realized just how few tools I had in my Coping With Book Tours Toolbox. I set out to find a few more.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We're All Ears!

Time for a Milestone Monday! We want to hear your good news, your accomplishments, your movements forward! And, a-hem, we have it on good authority that one of our readers with the initials RM just sold her first book in a "very nice deal" to Disney/Hyperion. We'd love to hear the deets!

I've recently taken a big, bracing breath and sent my picture book ms. to a friend/rock star/former bookseller to have her take the first look at it. No one has seen my rewrite. Sweat is running down both sides of me, but I'm glad I've done it. I'll keep you in the loop on this. In the meantime, I'm practicing detachment from the outcome and going nose down on my WIP.

How about the rest of you? What have you moved forward? Anyone done any public speaking, leaping over their own personal buildings? Please share with us.

I want to welcome my awesomely lovely sidekick, Robin, back from her week-long East Coast book tour. It's been great fun following her on Facebook and hearing about all the great indies she has visited, the people she has connected with, and all the places she has been able to sightsee. Given her recent enormous output, I'm calculating that she'll need about 3.5 days plugged directly into the socket before she is speaking. But, we can still send her a quiet and heartfelt Hail the Returning Violet!

Speaking of indies, it is the last week of May ( spewing here at that!) and if you've not yet visited your local independent bookstore and supported them, please jump into your Converse now and pay them a visit. We are celebrating Buy Indie Day for the entire month so none of you miss out! Buy a book, a book cert, card, bookplates, magazines, or just cruise it and thank them for their contribution to your community.

And as promised, here are some words from our 2007 Indie Bookseller of the Year, Ms. Kris Vreeland of Vroman's in Pasadena. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Public Speaking for Introverts: Jonesing for the Zone

A Special Guest Post by Nancy Ancowitz

How can introverts get into the zone more quickly when giving a talk? First, quick is a relative term. An introvert’s quick could be an extrovert’s slow. Not that we’re sluggards and dullards—we just need to go at our own pace.

While an extrovert might blast out onstage after schmoozing all day, get a further charge from all the people in her audience, and then give a speech worthy of the Academy, that combination of activities could deplete an introvert, making him feel like ducking for cover. Remember: an extrovert’s fuel can be an introvert’s kryptonite—and vice versa.

Let’s say you’re an introvert who is about to give a presentation to the top dogs at your company, a pitch to win a pivotal deal for your business, or a talk at your first book signing (!). You’ll need to rest up, prepare, and practice to do your personal best. Here’s what else you can do to get into the zone:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Introvert's Happy--and Peaceful--Hour

Dear Friends,

Robin and I want to wish all of our mothers a belated Happy Mother's Day! We hope you enjoyed your particular version of a perfect, restful day. And speaking of perfect things, we are happy to have Laurie Helgoe with us today as our guest blogger to share some of her thoughts about introvert-friendly spaces. Thanks, Laurie!

A Special Guest Post by Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D.

You've had a tough day at work, and when your favorite extrovert suggests happy hour at a local club, it sounds like fun. You go, and you have fun – for the requisite 45 minutes. But as more and more people stop to greet your extrovert, as your mouth tires of smiling, and as the crowd and the noise and the lighted bar signs make your head spin, you long for space, quiet and comfort. But your extrovert is your ride, and the only place to hide is a small grungy bathroom with a line of people waiting outside the door.

So you find a wall to lean against, and – whoa! It isn't a wall, but a door. As you push it open, you behold a room set up to answer your longing: couches strewn with soft pillows and throws, lamps providing warm lighting, oversized chairs with ottomans, well-stocked bookcases, cozy nooks and comfortable crannies. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kathleen Duey Takes Center Stage

Please join Robin and I in welcoming the generous, multi-talented, masterful and enviably prolific author for Young Adults and Children, KATHLEEN DUEY. After letting her dream of becoming a writer germinate for twenty years, she has burst into bloom, and leaves most of us gasping at her drive and full frontal embrace of social media.

Kathleen and I met last month in the dazzling dowtown Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles in its revolving skytop restaurant. We both looked extremely glamorous drinking Pisco Sours, and had to work to keep the paparazzi at bay.

Interviewer's note: Para 1 is completely true. Para 2 has been embellished a tad. We were both in the state of California at the time of the interview. And, I'm certain wherever she was, she was looking completely glamorous.

And without further ado, one of the most unforgettable voices in dark fantasy, Kathleen Duey--