I, an extremely introverted author, recently found myself at a birthday party with a large group of strangers. (Okay, Athena, you can handle this.)
The subject of my novel’s release came up. (Crap, this is scary. But it’s an opportunity. You’ve got this.)
I received the usual questions: What’s your book about? (It’s a historical romance with Eastern spiritual themes. You can find it on Amazon.)
Did you self-publish and are you making money? (Yes. And ha ha ha.)
How long did it take to write? (7 years.)
Then someone turned to me and asked “Why should I read your book?” (Oh God. Cuz… it’s… um… good?)
I stumbled through some kind of half-hearted response about my book being “different.” You could literally feel the energy in the room drop.
Then she asked “As a writer what are you good at? (*danger danger* Retreat now!)
I could have said a dozen different things. I write stunningly evocative love stories that entwine spirituality and history in unique and interesting ways. I am great at creating tension and desire between characters that builds throughout the story. Etc. But did I say any of those things? No. I mumbled something about being good at writing passion. In response I could hear the crickets chirping.
I know I’m a good writer. I know what I’m good at and I know my book is amazing. But I simply hadn’t prepared for such questions. I’m not a natural salesperson and when put on the spot I didn’t know how to sell myself.
I blew an opportunity to gain new readers. But I did learn an important lesson, so it’s not all bad. And now I can pass that lesson onto you!
The lesson is: be prepared to answer these questions – in person – not in writing.
But until you find yourself in the spotlight at a party full of strangers, tell me in the comments… Why should I read your book? And as a writer, what are you good at?