This was a big weekend for me book-wise. I was invited to speak about and read from my novel Standing on the Corner of Lost and Found at two events. Saturday was the Hudson Valley Writers Guild’s Community of Writers Program at the Albany Public Library, and on Sunday, was the first of my book parties.
I think writers are for the most part introverted people. I know that’s true for me. I’m a much more articulate writer than speaker. The transition from spending time with my computer and imagination to speaking in public has been a struggle. But I have made progress.
When I first began reading my poetry at open mics, I had tremendous anxiety that seems to have dissipated. The community poets are mostly kind and encouraging people and they helped me get my racing heart under control. I look forward to readings now. So much so that once I got over being one big twitch, it’s hard to shut me up.
But giving a talk is another matter entirely. I knew Saturday’s program would draw a lot of people because of the number of readers. The amazing poet, Howard Kogan, was featured. I don’t know him personally but he seems to me to be very Zen. Takes things as they come. Only gets worked up when there is a good reason to kind of guy. Qualities I wish I had.There were also the three winners and one honorable mention of the Guild’s non-fiction contest winners. There would be a lot of people coming. No doubt about it.
I prepared. Maybe over prepared. And it went as well as I could have hoped.
On Sunday, my friends, Gwen and Cecele, hosted my first book party (My very rudimentary marketing plan is asking my friends and family to host parties in which I talk about and read from the novel). It seemed like a good idea in the abstract. But it didn’t seem so great on Sunday morning.
I had never been to Gwen’s house before. It was fabulous—comfortable, warm, with beautiful art and rooms filled with books. The kind of house that rambles on and you never want to leave. The friends they invited were so accomplished —poets, playwrights, drama coaches, memoirists. I thought about hiding. Maybe wedging myself in behind the grand piano. They could just drink some wine and forget about why they came!
Suck it up, kiddo. You can do this.
Gulp. I took a breath and plunged in. A little shaky at first but then hit my stride. It seemed to go well. They were a dynamic group. Good conversation ensued about what I had read, what it was like for all of us in the sixties. Interest in how the story came about. They were a delightful, generous group. Sigh.
The weekend over and I’m not embarrassed to leave my house. Victory! Each time will be easier. I know that. Maybe through this immersion into the limelight of marketing Standing on the Corner of Lost and Found, I will move one step forward into the found column.