Conscious of the fact that, at the time of writing, in less than two weeks I will have to speak in front of an audience at Love A Happy Ending’s Summer Audience about my progress as a writer and getting published, I decided to write this post in two parts. The Before and The After.
The Before – 3rd June
I know that writing a novel is only the half of it. There’s far more to writing than, well, just writing.
If I were to make a list it would include things like, sales, promotion, people skills, business management, time management, IT skills and marketing, to name but a few. On the whole I think I could do most of those things from the safety of my laptop – hidden behind the keyboard – by way of emails, blog posts, Facebook and Twitter messages. However, I am fully aware that talking to an audience isn’t one of those laptop deals.
In all honesty, the thought terrifies me. Me, on my own, stood up in front of group of people, talking about my novel and answering questions – Blimey, I feel sick at the thought. Last time I did this sort of thing, I forgot to breathe and sounded like Norman Collier doing his broken microphone routine. On a bad day I’m not sure if I can do it, on a good day I think, well I’ve stood up and spoken to a class full of secondary school children, surely I can chat to adults.
I have practiced reading to my dog – she walked off. At this point it is not looking good and I’m off to invest heavily in ‘Rescue Remedy’.
The After – 19th June
So the day arrived and I still wasn’t convinced I would be able to do it – the ‘Rescue Remedy’ wasn’t really living up to its name.
Before my solo stint, I was scheduled in to do a joint presentation with Lou Graham about book reviewing. We had deciced that Lou would lead this and gently ease me into the conversation by asking me a few questions. That, I felt I could cope with. We were very lucky that on the day Kim Nash came along and, as she is also a book reviewer for Love A Happy Ending, it seemed only natural to get Kim to come up on stage too. I was going for the safety in numbers approach.
I got the nod from Lou and the three of us approached the stage. As I put my foot on the first step, I felt physically sick but knew there was no going back. I wasn’t quite sure how my Usane Bolt like exit from the hall would be explained.
All I can say is, thank goodness for Lou. She was great ‘chairing’ the presentation and for the most part it was just like having a chat with friends. I even forgot that Jill Mansell and Catrin Collier were there. At one point I thought my nerves might get the better of me, but I managed to get through it all without hyperventilating and needing to breathe into a paper bag.
So what of my solo stint? The workshops and talks had been such a success, by mid-afternoon it was clear we would run over time. A quick survey of the authors planning to read was carried out – did anyone want to volunteer not to do their presentation. I’m good at volunteering! In hindsight, am I glad I didn’t do my five minute reading? If I’m honest, yes. I’m not 100% convinced I would have been able to do it. However, I do feel I took a small step forward by doing a joint presentation with Lou and Kim.
I think my dog may have to put up with me a little longer as I practice for next time.