Friday, April 19, 2013

THE THINGS I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT WHEN BECOMING A WRITER




I like to welcome, romance author Julie Ann Walker, back to Over Coffee. Aside from writing some fabulous stories (with some hot and serious kick-ass heroes); I like her thoughts on the difference between being a writer and an author. 
Whether you're traditionally or indie published, today's market demands so much more from authors with regard to promotion--especially if you want to be successful. 

Hello again, romance fans!  Julie Ann Walker here, happy as a clam at high tide to be back here with Sia talking to you about my greatest fear: public speaking… (Dum, dum, duuuummmm.  I really feel as though those last two words deserve the triple-note sound effect.) 

Because, seriously, it's not like I "get a little nervous."  No, no.  It's so much worse than that.  My mouth dries out like I've been travelling in the desert for days minus a canteen.  My palms and armpits turn into Niagara Falls.  My head starts to buzz like it's filled with a nest of angry bees.  I break out in hives - literally.  My bowels loosen - not literally… at least not so far, thank God.  And I s-s-stutter.  To put it quite simply, I suck at public speaking.    

And yet, as an author, I'm expected to do exactly that.  I'm expected to give readings, speak with book clubs, address library associations, sit on panels at conferences, and give speeches about what inspires me and how I find my muse.  You know, all the usual things a professional author is expected to do.  And I knew this going in.  I knew what I was setting myself up for.  And I did it anyway.  

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Oh, yeah.  I was thinking I wanted to be a writer.  I was thinking I wanted to tell stories.  I was thinking I wanted people to meet and fall in love with my characters.  I was thinking I wanted to whisk readers away into my world of make believe and show them what a fantastical place it was.  And, just to be honest, I was thinking I wouldn't have to get out of my pajamas most days. ;-)  And joy of joys, all of that came true!  I do get to do all of those things.   As a writer.  

As an author, I get to do all of the other stuff.  The public speaking stuff…

  • So then the question becomes, is it possible for me to be a writer - and be profitable at it; there's the caveat - without being an author?  


I think the answer is no.  At least not in today's day and age.  Years ago, I believe it was possible to maintain a level of privacy and… oh, let's just call it what it is… reclusiveness - we are writers, after all, solitary by natureI think it was possible for an author to pen novels and have them be chart-toppers, bestsellers, and never have to speak in front of a crowd of hundreds.  I don't believe that's an option anymore.  With the advent of the web and the ease of Skyping into book club meetings and writers' conferences, with the simplicity of travel and the swiftness with which we can get from point A to point B, it is now expected that authors make public appearances.  It's called "promotion."  We promote our books by promoting ourselves.  And what does that "promotion" often entail?  You guessed it, public speaking…    

Which means I'm stuck.  Stuck doing something I loathe in order to continue doing something I love.  But that's the nature of life, is it not?  We take the good with the bad.  We smile when we're sad.  We give thanks for what we've got and try not to lament what we had.  So, I do as we all do.  I suck it up, buttercup.  And, in the meantime, I try to come up with coping mechanisms to combat the sheer terror.  Of course, if anyone has some advice for overcoming this fear, I'm all ears.  LOL!

  • How about you?  Do you have an irrational fear of anything?  And, if so, have you found a way to overcome it?

                                                                                                                                                                                      


AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND
THRILL RIDE BY JULIE ANN WALKER – IN STORES APRIL 2013

He’s Gone Rogue…

Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren't sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run...

She Won’t Back Down…

Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn't counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there's no one in the world she'd rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight...Excerpt 



                                                                                                                                                             

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She'll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first four books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) Rev It Up (October 2012) and Thrill Ride (April 2013). For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.


14 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Julie, welcome back to Over Coffee. I loved your topic.

I've done public speaking since high school. I've learned a lot of tricks along the way, knowing my material and practicing it (that's a big one), taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly before opening my mouth (relaxes you and keeps the opening sentence from being squeak/croak). Taking the time to pause and breathe-which helps with maintaining voice quality. Realize that no one but you knows exactly what you are going to say. So if you make a mistake you really are the only one who knew you meant to say xyz instead of zxy. Realizing people really want to hear what you have to say or they wouldn't be there--that's a positive.

Pick an aspect of the subject you love--pretty much all your books have Harley's-what do you like about them, why did you use them, or research you did on black ops,how do you get the fight scenes down. Keep it simple.

Play pretend--you're telling a couple of friends about___whatever your subject is. Have a friend or two in the audience and when you're nervous, look at them until you're back on track with breathing or your subject.

The more you do it the easier it becomes. Nervous? No matter how experienced the speaker there is always going to be pre-nerves.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL!

There are many ways to make it easier. Toastmasters is a great program for becoming proficient at public speaking. I always tell people to learn their material inside and out, then they will have more confidence when speaking.

I'm sorry it's a struggle for you. I was nervous at first too, but I quickly discovered that I enjoyed it. Now I tell people I am a professional speaker first and author second.

Julie Ann Walker said...

Oh, my gosh, ladies. You make me so envious of your poise and confidence. And I'll endeavor to implement your suggestions into my next public speaking engagement. But my advice to everyone right now? If you hear I'm giving a speech somewhere, turn around and run. Believe me, unless you enjoy watching a train wreck in slow motion, you don't want any part of my attempts at public discourse. LOL! Thanks for having me on today, Sia! As always, it's a pleasure!

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I get it! The first time (as a grad student) that I had to stand up in front of a class of undergrads and teach a subject I was only marginally competent in, one of the kids in the front row was yell-whispering to his friend, "She looks really nervous. She's really nervous. She should just relax."
I'm still somewhat scarred by that experience, but it did help drive home the message that you'd better understand DNA replication before you try to teach it to someone who is probably smarter than you are.
The rest of it is a little easier...some times. I can stand up in front of a group and tell stories, but then I lose my place and can't remember...
Oh, yeah.
But make me give an elevator pitch to a live person, one on one? I fall to absolute pieces.
I am SO glad I was able to get into publishing by email. Those in-person pitch things people do? My bowels wouldn't be figuratively loose. I'd be outta there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How do I handle it? I do a few in-person appearances as possible.

L.G. Smith said...

I think public speaking is a terrifying experience for anyone, but especially so for those of us more comfortable communicating from behind a keyboard. Ack! Hives indeed. I had to get up in front of a few hundred people to get an award once and I turned into the biggest idiot. I didn't even recognize myself by the way my body twitched and fidgeted. :P

Julie Ann Walker said...

Alex, I like you're solution. LOL!

Kate said...

I will attest that despite Julie Ann's nerves about public readings, she has overcome them like a rock star. I was at a reading where she came across as nothing but poised and in command of the room! She totally owned it. And she was gorgeous while she did it too :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved Julie post. I feel the same way and am glad I'm not alone. And the advice in the comments has been helpful too.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Julie, a lot of the confidence and poise is earned through practice. No, it's not always easy but you don't let your fear stop you, do you? That's something to admire and respect.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kate, I'm not at all surprised to hear this. You tell the story from an observers viewpoint--how she came across to those in the audience. Julie is telling it from how she feels when having to speak.

Seeing how other's view us helps build confidence as well. They didn't see all the nerves or mistakes the speaker thinks are neon bright.

Yay, Julie!!

Sharon Himsl said...

Writer vs. author. Hmm...good point. I relate to Julie's anxiety over public speaking. Not there yet (I even dread book signings), but see it all happening some day and that's exciting. I like your deep breathing advice. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Julie Ann Walker said...

Aw, thanks Kate. But you didn't see the hives I'd hidden beneath my top, or the sweat rings under my arm pits. I was a complete mess. I always am... *sigh* But it's good to know not all of that came across. That helps. Sort of. Okay, not really. LOL!

Melanie Schulz said...

I don't mind the public speaking part, but I really don't like talking about myself, which is what they usually want you to do.