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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Authors Only Write, Right?

Enjoy this post by author and guest blogger, JoJo Tabares

By JoJo Tabares

I began writing when I was about nine years old.  I was painfully shy and writing was an escape.  In my stories there lived the witty, passionate and strong characters I wanted to become.  Try as I might, in real life, I was withdrawn and unsure.  I thought I might become a writer one day.  After all, it was a perfect vocation for someone afraid of social communication.  Authors simply write.  They write their books.  They write their editors and they write their fans, right?  Wrong!

Writing is a business just like everything else.  Authors need to discuss book deals with their publishers and details with their editors.  Authors also need to promote!  Yes, even if you are a traditionally published author, you are going to be sent out to do book signings and interviews.  Authors who self-publish will have even more of the marketing responsibility. 

You know what I found?  I wasn’t the only shy author!  I know several authors who chose their profession because they don’t feel comfortable in social situations.  I know others who have grown accustomed to not being in the limelight and others who just aren’t sure how to handle all the speaking they have to do!  Some authors know they are holding back their writing career, but they are just too afraid of speaking. 

Authors don’t just write just as accountants don’t just deal with numbers.  In any business, any industry, any job, you have to deal with the people you work with.  The more comfortable you are in social situations, the better prepared you will be to succeed in your chosen field. 

When I first started teaching communication skills, one of my students was incredibly shy.  She had a difficult time even answering simple questions in class because she was so unsure of herself in social situations.   She was a senior in high school then.  As the semester went by, she very slowly began to become more comfortable with her fellow students, but remained quite shy.  The day of the big speech came and she blew everyone out of the water!  She came in, dressed to the nines, and gave the speech of a lifetime!  Everyone was shocked, including me.  She graduated and went off to cooking school.  Several years later I received an emotional call from that student thanking me for teaching her how to speak in front of people.  She related how much of cooking school and a chef’s career involved presentation.  I had no earthly idea.  That student learned a great deal about speaking that semester, but I learned an important lesson after that phone call. 

Every job requires an interview, but everyone who sells their skill requires one too.  There is a difference however.   Whereas the interview to work at Joe’s Bar and Grill may only take place once, the interviews authors have take place on an ongoing basis.  Each time you speak to your publisher about a new book, you are interviewing to get the job.  Every time you do a book signing, you are being interviewed by your fans.   Want to be a household name as an author?  You have to be interviewed on radio, TV and by newspaper reporters! 

So if you got into writing thinking you could live vicariously through your characters, guess again!  If you are not comfortable with social skills or out in front of the camera, you should begin to work on that now or severely limit your success.  It’s not as scary as it sounds and it can even be fun. 

JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as and and hosting her weekly podcast, Communication Comedy Network.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit

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