Monday, November 3, 2008

Introvert Abuse and Marketing Avoidance Profile

I was having this hideously godawful nightmare the other night that I was at a coaching retreat with a bunch of people I'd never met.  There were ten of us in a fairly small room.  It was time for the first activity of the day, and I was tensing up for the proverbial "icebreaker" activity that was certain to follow.  Our retreat leaders flips a switch on her Bose and Abba's Dancing Queen blasts into the room.  "Everyone up!" she cried.  "Dance!"  I was completely horrified!   Now?  With all these people I don't know?  

And then things got much, much worse.  I realized I was AWAKE!  It wasn't a nightmare at all. . . (pausing now while you all shriek)

So I danced, because NOT dancing would only make me stand out more, and people would be looking, and some extravert would try to pull me up for a friendly twirl or two. I tried to look as if I often danced with small crowds of people in brightly lit rooms before lunch, and tried not to glare at our retreat leader, who I happen to adore. But this was S-O going on her post-retreat evaluation.  Two other introverts started easing back into my corner and we flashed each other a WTH?? eyeball text message.  

Eleven hours later the song finally ended. Gleefully charged, the extraverts were chummying up together, and the introverts were sporting near migraines.  Said retreat leader seemed very pleased that we were all "loosened up" and could get to work.  Loosened up?  Are you out of your mind, woman?  Do you know how long it will take me to decompress from your opening torture routine?

Which brings me right smack to book sales and promotion.  (Sound of Robin sighing in relief that this truly isn't all completely ran-dom!) As I sat there doodling and decompressing for the first hour of the retreat, I thought about how my aversion to dancing-on-demand just about perfectly sums up my entire Marketing Avoidance Profile (MAP).  I'm sending this right over to my publicity person at Random House.  You might want to get to work on yours.

When scheduling promotional events and activities for the above-named author, please bear in mind the following:

::: No loud music or bright lights.  Prefers a quiet Goodyear blimp with book title emblazed across.

::: Introvert to extravert ratio > 1:3 preferred.   If possible, please screen all event attendees and staff. Anyone that talks more than three minutes without stopping needs a timeout. 

::: Author unable to perform most bodily functions upon demand.  Includes smiling, dancing, speaking up or loosening up.  

::: Author unable do the any of the following while chatting with teachers, students, booksellers, or librarians:  Eat corn on the cob, spinach, sushi, fondue, use chopsticks or the latrine.

::: Crowds in small places tolerated for 60 minutes max.  Quickly prepare exits at 61 minutes and beyond.

::: No Abba.  Ever.  No kidding.

Mary Hershey
Executive Director
Writers Against Introvert Abuse


Shari Green said...

Oh my. Oh myohmyohmy.

That calls for an hour of solitary confinement in a dim room lit only by scented candles. Go on now....


R.L. LaFevers said...

Oh. My. Gawd. You did not tell me you'd been tortured! That sounds beyond hideous...


tanita✿davis said...

(Gasp which sucks all the air out of the room:) Are you KIDDING!? Oh, no! Sometimes I feel like a great idiot visiting a church where the minister decides we all need to have a ten or twenty minute chat with strangers during the "welcome the strangers" section. That kind of stuff is HARD. I have to admit the urge to kick someone and cry would have been tough to refuse.

I really wish this had been just a bad dream. I'm roughing out the idea of a book launch, and this has sent me back to my corner with hives.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Tan said...

Yikes. This has me writhing in my seat in sympathy.

TheHQforHQ said...

You crack me up. I mean, I'm soooo with you--just glad it's you and not me. Though, on the other hand, I hope ? to have some publicity tours when I get published. Eek.

Yat-Yee said...

Too funny.
Got me thinking about my MAP.

But gotta have a book back to writing.

Deborah K. White said...

I remember going to a college lecture once where, strangely enough, they did turn on music and demand everyone get up off the floor (where we were sitting) and dance.

I'm stubborn. I stood up so as not to be trampled on, but then I crossed my arms and glared at anyone who so much as glanced my way. It wasn't very long before a number of people joined my mini-rebellion. The organizers profusely apologized afterward saying they had no idea the guy had this planned.

Pam Ripling said...

Gosh, shades of EST training! (Did they even allow bathroom breaks?) I feel for you! I think I would pull one of those little mascarade eye masks out of my pocket and put it on my face.

Anonymous said...

Your dream reminds me of church events where they would have everyone get up and massage the shoulders of the people next to them. Definitely awkward.

I like "Dancing Queen" though.

Nice post anyway!

~Reneé Le Vine