Writing – at least writing Big Honking Fantasy Trilogies – tends to involve a lot of time spend alone and unobserved. It’s a job ideally suited for a loner. That suits me fine. I reckon I’m 90% hermit and 10% social party animal.
The 10% social party animal comes in handy when it’s time to promote a book. Over the last seven or eight years, since I first had a published book to wave about, I’ve taken part in most of the usual forms of book promotion. I’ve held a book launch. I’ve signed books in shops, or at conventions. I’ve been interviewed via email, the telephone, and in a radio station studio. I’ve accepted awards. I’ve did one short talk at an English teacher’s conference – boy was that nerve-wracking! I’ve sat on panels at conventions, done a few talks to SF social groups, and occasionally run writing workshops.
The one thing I have avoided is readings.
Why? Well, I’ve read excerpt of other people’s books when launching them, so I know I can do it. For some reason when I read someone else’s writing I don’t worry that I’ll have a coughing fit, or lose my voice, or accidently substitute a word for something rude.
But with my own work? Anxiety abounds. And worst of all, I just know that I’ll find a mistake in the text. And then I’m going to forget I’m reading to an audience and start editing on the spot.
For a long time I’ve been telling myself that the only way to get over this anxiety is to confront it. But I’m good at avoidance, and it’s taken the dogged perseverance and irresistible charm of Natalie at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club to finally corner me into doing a reading.
So if you’d like to
watch me freak out hear me read the first chapter of The Magician’s Apprentice, come to the Melbourne Science Fiction Club on the evening of the 21st November.
Just make sure there are no red pens in sight.