Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From Monk to Evangelist

You might not guess it, but I'm surprisingly good at book promotion. In my next post, later in the week, I will share what I have learned about how to promote a book. For today, I want to post a little article I wrote for Psychology Today, about my experiences as an introvert making the abrupt transition from writer to promoter. 

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.

If you have promoted anything, do you connect with my experiences? Do you have a story to share? How have you succeeded? How have you failed?