Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Interview on Steve Brown Etc.

You can download the podcast of my interview on the Steve Brown Etc. show this weekend. I had never heard of Steve Brown before the interview, but he was easily the funniest radio talk show host I've ever spoken with. If for no other reason, listen to the interview for the segment on the "definitions" of introversion and extroversion that he gives.

This link will take you to his website, where you can listen to it or download it:

Steve Brown Etc - Introverts in the Church, January 29, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some good links

First up, if you missed it last month on Crosswalk, Patheos has re-posted my article "The Writer as Madman and Mystic." It may be the only time that Ernest Hemingway, C.S. Lewis, Philip Yancey, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Stephen King have ever been grouped together. I had a lot of fun writing that article. You could do me a great favor by sharing it on Twitter and Facebook and in any other place that you feel so inclined.

Second up, my friend Susan Cain has started to blog, which is good news for introverts everywhere. Her blog is called The Power of Introverts. Susan is the author of the forthcoming book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, which will be out in about a year. Guy Kawasaki, the former "chief evangelist" of Apple, has an advance copy and has already tweeted that it will be a bestseller. Susan and I visited Saddleback Church together a couple of summers ago, and our experience will be included in her book.

She has a new post today about introverts and public speaking. Malcolm Gladwell said that public speaking is not an act of extroversion but of "performance." Thus, both introverts and extroverts can do it well, because it's a separate skill from temperament. I devote a few pages to introverts and public speaking in my book, and I'd love to hear more what you think about that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Monk to Evangelist

Now that it's been a week since the Psychology Today article was published on introverts promoting books, I thought I would re-post my contribution. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

I went from monk to evangelist in one trip to the post office. I mailed in the final draft of my book, and suddenly I was no longer the solitary writer relishing hours at my desk; I had become the mingling, preaching book promoter in the spotlight of a large conference hall. So content in my introvert-soaked word just minutes earlier, I had been abruptly launched into the scary, extroverted world of "the proactive author," that half-introvert, half-extrovert dynamo who is all the buzz in the cash-strapped publishing world. Yet I resolved that I would never let fear speak or decide for me, and so when the radio stations called, I answered, and when the speaking invitations came, I gratefully accepted.

Admittedly, some of these forays into the extroverted were fun, like the few surreal times that I was "recognized" or the day I literally chased down one of my heroes in a hotel parking lot, breathing hard like a stalker, in order to get a book endorsement. Though I was of course gratified that people were interested in my work, each interview and speech made me feel a little separated from myself, almost disembodied, like someone else was doing the talking while I was watching.

To read the full article, with contributions from three other introverted authors, go here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Shmoozing Introvert

Early on in the process of promoting my book, I realized that the promotion business requires a completely different skill set from the writing business.  It even seems to require a completely different temperament.  I described it this way at the outset of the marketing process:

Now that I have moved from the writing stage into the marketing stage of my book, the irony of the process is becoming palpable. I spent a couple of years thinking, researching in libraries, writing in my study and in coffee shops and in hotels, all roles that came very natural for an introvert such as myself. Whereas many of my extroverted friends have struggled and despaired through the writing process, I relished it. Yet now my role switches and the expectations on me are very extroverted. I've become the shmoozing introvert. I'm in very chatty circles meeting strangers, talking constantly, working the room, and trying to conjure the nerve to approach some big names to ask for endorsements.

The contrast between writing a book and marketing a book is the subject of the post today at the Introverts Corner on the Psychology Today website. Sophia Dembling interviewed 4 introverted authors (including me) about what it's like to try and market a book in an extroverted marketplace. I think you'll enjoy it:

Writing the Book is the Easy Part for Introverts

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some tearjerking stuff

A personal update today.

First, I have accepted a part-time position as a hospice chaplain. I did this full time for about 2 years in the past, and while 50 hours a week (including on-call) was overwhelming for my introvert, the part-time rhythm is perfect. Hospice chaplains sit with people who are dying and with those who are watching them die. It's intense work, as you can imagine, but there are some powerfully sacred moments.

A few years ago, I was called to the bedside of a man who was taking his last breaths. His wife was by his side when I arrived, and I was followed shortly by his adult son and daughter who had driven an hour to be with him.  I stood by and watched as they stroked his face, told him what a wonderful father he had been, and gave him permission to go. Tears flowed freely. We then all joined hands around his bed while I prayed for him. His daughter, a registered nurse, kept one of her hands on his neck while we prayed, feeling his pulse. We thanked God for the gift of life, and for guiding this man's life every day. We asked for mercy and comfort as the Lord brought his child into his arms. As I closed the prayer, and we all said Amen, the daughter said that his pulse had stopped. We stood on holy ground.

Second, and this is minor compared to that story, it's been a discouraging week for me as a writer. I have told you I'm trying to get a second book contract, and I submitted a proposal on listening to several publishers. This week I've heard several no's and I even had my writing style criticized. I could definitely use your prayers for my book to find a home. All the publishers have liked the topic but lamented that while people need to read a book on listening, they probably won't.  Publishing has always been a tough industry but it's just brutal right now. It's actually been harder for me to find a second book contract than it was for the first, even though Introverts has exceeded sales expectations. 

I'm not giving up though.

Happy new year, my friends.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Interview with Church Executive

Here's a short interview I did with Church Executive, about the experiences of introverts in megachurches. What size church do you prefer?

When being an introvert in the church isn't so bad - Church Executive, January 3, 2011.