On Friday, I completed the last physical stop of my blog tour for Spark. Although I'll continue to do book signings and other events, Friday's event was something outside of my comfort zone because it was a reading in a bookstore. Of my book Spark. With a stage. And a mic. A little voice inside me was screaming, someone help me!
When this book tour started three months ago, there were lots of things beyond my circle of experience. Since then, I learned to do a book signing. I presented a short talk about my publishing journey. I talked to a book club about fantasy and why I write it. But Friday's event was a reading, followed by a Q & A. Terrified, I did what any nervous person does -- researched "how to do a reading for authors" on the internet. Asked friends for advice and prayers. Practiced reading selections out loud (and practiced and practiced).
Surprisingly, it went well. My practice and all the prayers helped, and I only stumbled twice. The Q & A went fine. But the reading wasn't my favorite event for a few reasons.
1) I'm not used to hearing myself on a microphone. Many people say they don't like to hear their voice, that they sound "weird", and I'm no different.
2) Reading my work out loud feels odd.
3) Reading my work out loud in first person point of view feels odder still.
With my experience in theater, I'm dramatic by nature. But number three made me feel vulnerable, like my soul was outside my body. All my soft spots were exposed. Although my main character isn't me, my main character's a composite of many things dear to me -- causes I support, beliefs by which I live my life, quirks of those I love. And reading out loud felt like an invitation for ridicule from the audience. That didn't happen, but the possibility was there.
When other people see who we are, hear what's in our hearts, and say, "Yeah, me too," that's when connections occur. And in this age of virtual connection and national divisiveness, relationships are more valuable, more important. So I'm making the rest of 2017 all about becoming vulnerable, honest, and relatable.
Would you like to join me? Share in the comments below -- I'd love to hear your thoughts!