Monday, 20 February 2012

Another Major Speaking Event

So I've decided I can't be afraid of speaking in front of a crowd anymore. It seems that publishing a children's book is going to make the author speak to children. I have, although, come a long way in the -public speaking department. They say everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe that.

A few years ago, I would have crumbled speaking in front of even two people I didn't know. But the thing that happened was that I was asked to start teaching watercolor art to children. My first art gig was with about 8 six year old and an teaching evaluator to assess if I was capable of teaching what I said I could.  I was prepared but so nervous I couldn't breath. When I looked at all the notes I'd made to start teaching,and then to all these little eyes waiting for me to begin, first I couldn't speak then I thought I would faint. I knew I had to do something and soon. I took a few deep breaths, walked around the room, then just closed my teaching books and started talking from the heart, teaching them what I know. The more I just concentrated on teaching and interacting, it seemed like my conscious, scared self took a backseat to my confident-in-what I know self. The class went very well.

Many art classes later, I don't feel that extreme nervousness any longer, although there is still a bit of it. The confidence to speak in front of a crowd comes with practice. And I'm so glad that I had that practice.

 A week ago I had to speak to a large crowd of kids and teachers at a local school. Had I been trying to do that a few years ago, it never would have happened. I was still nervous before the school event, but I had to think of ways to settle myself. Herbal tea, deep breathing, eyes closed doing self visualization. It all worked extremely well.

 At the school event, I read some of my book Sir Princess Petra, then the kids asked me alot of questions, which they had prepared before. The kids wanted to know what it was like to be an author (it's something a person is drawn into and you have no choice but to write), did I have another job (yes, 4 other jobs), what inspired me to write about Petra (I wanted a strong girl heroine and mulled over her for months to create her), and why were onions in the story (mostly just because I'm Ukrainian). They wanted to know who my favorite author was (Terry Goodkind).

After all the questions, we still had some time left, so I read another story that I wrote that isn't published yet. The kids and teachers loved it all. They clapped and cheered and my heart soared, knowing I was doing what I was meant to do.

 I wasn't expecting to sell a lot of books here, but to my surprise, people made a long line. Some had already bought the book and wanted it signed, but 20 others bought the book right there. I was surprised, because my marketing manager told me that most of these events sell 5 -8 books, and that's all okay because it's a part of getting your name out there.

 I have another school event booked in March, and this one will be with about twice as many people. So, even as I write this, I get the butterfly thing happening, but I will do my deep breathing and visualization to prepare, and I will succeed. Diane Robinson