Yesterday I attempted writing just this exact post. However, as I was working my way through it, I realized that it sounded a lot more “poor-me” than it did the intended message of “jeez, I don’t do myself any favors”. So, after spending more than an hour on the thing, I finally gave up and went with the rather short alternative of, “Hey, I’m not going to be around much for the next few weeks.” That last bit is true…but kinda boring.
Anyways, it just so happened that something happened to me last night that is a perfect example of what I was trying to get across yesterday…so, I’ll use it.
You see, I’m quite possibly the worst person to have as the spokesperson for my books. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about them, it’s that I feel rather incapable of talking about them. I’ve never spent any time thinking about how to simplify who I am as a writer, because I’ve long considered it something that can’t be done without sounding stupid.
Yeah, right, story…So, last night was the first rehearsal for a new show I’m going to be in. A little Murder Mystery deal that the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre is putting on. It’ll have food, fun, and, you know, me. So, anyways, I’ve only worked with one person in the cast before, there were several folks in the cast who were basically new the the theatre, and whatever else. That means that, opposed to the standard of not really focusing on introductions at all, we actually had introductions.
I’m really bad at introducing myself to begin with. That’s a point I think should be made. And, like I said, I don’t generally talk much about my books to people, at least not without being prompted. But, of course, it’s one of those things that I really should probably mention in introductions, especially in an atmosphere like the Children’s Theatre, where it’s all creative and artsy and whatnot.
But, of course, I got my standard cold feet and didn’t say anything about them. The director helped me out with that. I want to state right away that I greatly appreciate his attempt to help me promote myself. Many people try to do this on a very frequent basis, and I always appreciate it. . . I’m just incredibly bad at the hand off.
So, of course, he says something to the effect of, “And Adam’s an accomplished writer!” to which I give my standard brush-off response of “well, I don’t know about accomplished…” blerg. But, it’s not the whole brush off that really bothers me about myself and my responses to these situations…it’s what comes after.
Whether or not people are truly interested, there’s really only one question to ask someone once you’ve heard that they’re a writer. “Oh, what is your book about?” I’ve heard this question countless times…you’d think I would have, at some point, come up with a short and sweet answer to it that properly summarizes myself as an author…Nope. Although I’ve heard this question many many times, my prepared response is something more akin to:
“Well, umm… it’s kind of hard to describe, you know. Umm. yeah, well, it sounds silly when said simply…okay, well, one of them has superheroes and the other doesn’t.”
Sales pitch complete!
Ugh… I am simply my own worst enemy when it comes to trying to increase awareness of my books. If I were ever to be invited to a radio show or whatever, it would be pure tragedy.
For whatever reason, this most recent example of my atrocious salesmanship really stuck with me…perhaps due to the fact that I had intended to write an article about just that yesterday morning. So it was that I found myself awake at 4am this morning in a George Costanza-like state of mind, thinking about how I should have responded to that question…and how I should respond to it in the future.
I may have finally come up with some prepared statements so that when any of you, my friends and family, attempt to do me the greatly appreciated favor of giving me the excuse to market myself, I don’t come off sounding like quite so much of an idiot who’s got less of a way with words than he does with drooling over himself in stupidity.
Of course…there’s nothing saying they’ll actually come out the way I hope when the time does arrive.
All of this is simply to say thanks to all of you who have tried to do such a great thing as telling other people about my work, whether or not I’m actually in the room when you do it. And now, I hope, I will work on doing a better job of appearing intelligent afterwards.
Have fun out there!