DAY 24 PROMPT: Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.
No. 2 On The Fear List
Depending which list you’ve read lately, you can find fear of public speaking on all of them, arguably number 1 or 2. I’d always heard public speaking had a pretty good hold on #2, right behind death, and the first book signing could qualify.
There are those “innate” fears, the ones that are instinctive from birth that including falling (or heights) and loud noises. Then there are the fears we gain as we progress through life and associated experiences. One list of 3,000 people surveyed ranked public speaking as #1 and then according to rank percentage:
- Public speaking 2. Heights 3. Insects and bugs 4. Financial problems 5. Deep water 6. Sickness 7. Death (Huh?)
Behind the fear of public speaking, of course, are additional fears:
- Fear of Being Noticeably Nervous
- Defensive Thinking & Behavior
I prepared for my first book signing by researching the internet, reading as much as I could, and following all the advice that made sense to me including sending out all the notices to the local papers, notifying the social media, preparing hand-outs, creating business cards, postcards, and bookmarks. Additionally, I found a source for salt-water taffy. Checked with the Hastings book manager regarding what would be available and what additional supplies I’d need including tablecloth (clearly forgotten) and props or posters. Also, I supplied her with flyers to post on her windows announcing my book signing date.
Putting on a brave smile and emulating a Wal-Mart greeter, I was first they saw through the door and they were handed postcards and then an effort to engage–but showing no interest–backed off. It was when the local newspaper people showed up that I first started to unhinge and the resulting picture in the paper was embarrassing.
Selling one of the first books I published, “Cocos Island Treasure”, the potential buyer thumbed through and spot read. I mentioned Grandpa’s painting of the Bessie did not show the Golden Gate Bridge, whereupon he pointed to the first sentence and asked if I changed his words. When I replied no, he read, “The schooner Bessie headed in through the Golden Gate at San Francisco……” Stammering out an incoherent reply, it was only later I remembered that the entrance to the bay had been called the Golden Gate long before the bridge was built.
As much as I’d toiled over the manuscript, the time spent gathering appropriate paintings, and feeling ready for meeting the public, found no come-back or simple explanation to his query. (Note the 2nd and 3rd item in the last list above.) You could probably add “Loss of Face” to that list, or is that understood?
The fourth time our little group performed Diana Ross and the Supreme’s (I was a “Supreme”), I began just having fun with it and the crowd, but I left being “Diana” to our beautiful and talented leader, Geneva, and never did learn to solo with my gospel group either.
I suspect it’s a gift; one I do not possess, and that I’ll leave to others.