Last Saturday, my husband and I planned on having a date night with just the two of us. With our busy schedules of my two jobs and his social work job, as well as with social events with family and friends, we’ve rarely had time to ourselves lately to enjoy each other’s company.
We must have been on the same wavelength because we’d both somewhat suggested it to each other to reserve that Saturday night for us. I’d been wanting to go to a new sandwich cafe in Elgin that I’d heard about called Blue Box Cafe, which you can guess is completely Doctor Who themed. They served coffee and tea and sandwiches with locally made products. They gave almond milk and soy milk options for their coffee, and for me, who’s lactose intolerant, that was ideal. They streamed Doctor Who episodes on two TVs in the backround. We’d watched the tale end of Cold Blood when we’d sat down to eat our sandwiches.
After dinner, we’d noticed that the place was filling up for a live podcast show. Since our plans did not include this, we intended to leave and I’d later look into what other geeky events they had going on some other time.
Before we left, Joe noticed all of the business cards and flyers by local businesses, freelancers, and artists on the window sill before leaving. He turned to me and said, “This would be a perfect place to leave your card with your book link on it! Do you have any?”
Immediately, I froze. I didn’t want to be a shameless promoter when I’d just found this sacred space – a place that I was still awed and nervous about because I didn’t want to screw up my image in front of the people that came here. I wanted to be withdrawn and observe first, work my way into this place and the atmosphere before I shamelessly promoted myself into a place that I hoped to make another local hangout.
I didn’t even look if I had any cards. I just told him I didn’t. I knew I was low on them, but I just fibbed a bit and was too scared to leave them. I wanted to leave them, but I froze. I felt almost dirty even considering it. I had just come to this place!
This is just something I’ve struggled with lately. Publishing a book is a new experience for me. For more than a decade I’ve “published” fanfiction all over the web and even in a couple of annual fanzines, but I have never really talked about them in real life. Fandom culture is so different to me than the indie writing world. There are so many “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” rules to proper marketing and etiquette in drawing interest for your book. I was afraid leaving a stack of cards for my book would make me one of those people that others felt was too audacious, too presumptuous that others would care about my book. I felt like a creep, almost, even considering putting my book cards there.
It’s silly, I know. My first book sales weren’t a crazy breakthrough like most people’s. I could have marketed it better. I could have talked about it more. I could have printed out more cards and left them everywhere I went.
I could still do that, but I’m skittish. I’m still dipping my toes intp the cold waters. Cautious.
My poor friends and friends of friends have to pretty much pull my arm to get me to talk about my book. The shocking thing is that if and when I DO talk about my book, people are always interested. Then I can’t shut up. People are always amazed I did such a thing. It makes me proud of myself and feel accomplished.
Yet I feel like I always have to keep myself in check. Don’t want to get a big head!
And yet, I always find out that it isn’t the end of the world when I talk about my book and no one is interested. People generally are. I can’t let this fear and hesitation continue to rule me. It’s something I have to work on, and I’m always searching for ways to improve myself when it comes to this task of just breaking through the wall I’ve built around myself and just TALK to people.
Perhaps soon I’ll get over it. I mean, I pretty much have to if I will continue to put out more books. Maybe I’ll even get to the point where I leave a stack of my book cards at my favorite coffee shop.