I enjoy getting lost in a novel, spending hours zoning out of the real world as I formulate plots in my head. Then there are the time I spend days locked in my apartment, creating my fictional world and developing my characters. However, once the novel is completed, I know I cannot simply put a book out then sit in the corner and expect it to take off.
In order to get people interested in my book, I have to interact with potential readers. This requires me socialize, either through social media or by leaving the comfort of my home and venturing into the real world.
As president of RWA/NYC, I have to speak at each chapter meeting as well as deliver an opening address at the Romance Festival and the Golden Apple Awards. However, speaking in front of a group is one of my least favorite activities.
While I do not suffer from crippling stage fright, I get nervous before addressing a group. I fear I will stumble over my words, say something ridiculous, or simply fall on my face as I head towards the stage.
Despite the “what if’s” that ran through my mind, I recently forced myself to step outside my comfort zone. In September, I rented a slot at the RWA/NYC table at the Brooklyn Book Festival, where I spent two hours encouraging strangers to stop by our table. And, while I did not sell a single book that day, I proved to myself that I could talk to strangers without becoming tonguetied.
A few weeks later, I read at Lady Jane’s Salon. The days leading up to my first public reading were nerve-racking. I spent hours searching for just the right passage, knowing that based on my selection, people would either give my work a chance or never touch anything I write. But, thanks to the words of encouragement from members of RWA/NYC I got through the evening.
While I wish I could say it gets easier with each event, I will most likely be nervous whenever I do a reading or sit on a panel. However, I can say each experience gives me a chance to learn something new.♥
Thanks to the support and encouragement of the members of RWA/NYC, Ursula’s debut novel, SWEET JAZZ, was published in September 2014. As President of RWA/NYC, Ursula wants to offer the same encouragement and guidance to other RWA members. Visit her at www.ursularenee.com.