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Monday, August 23, 2010

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Publicity makes an author smile. In fact good publicity is a bonus and a sought after commodity by anyone in the public eye. Some authors are very good public speakers, can excel at book readings, or explain their book succinctly to anyone standing still long enough to listen.

Yet, no matter who you are there are different levels of your comfort zone. I know where I'm very comfortable and that is behind a keyboard, preferably attached to a computer screen. I am comfortable in front of an audience, especially if it is a topic I am passionate (or knowledgeable) about...and no, those are not synonymous! I am also comfortable before a group of students, I enjoy teaching.

The place I am the least comfortable is before a movie camera or still camera for that matter. At that point I think of all the places I'd rather be and it takes an extreme amount of effort to hold my thoughts captive. I'd rather be taking the picture or the movie, and this is something I enjoy. It is self preservation, if you are behind the camera it is difficult to be in front of it! I always marvel at those who love having their picture taken, and unfortunately my children have picked up my phobia.

Photo-ops are a must for any author, even those who feel that the years and the pounds are creeping up (at least my fingers get a very good, daily work out!). It is an important part of the profession and something that is a must for any author trying to sell their product. While the camera isn't always kind, a good photographer and photo enhancing computer software can definitely be a benefit.

Conversely, video does not lie! It is you and those lenses, sometimes many video camera lenses pointing and following you unrelentingly as you move upon the stage wishing you could climb off or hide under the nearest bush. As an author I know the importance of a speaking platform, so when I came up with the idea of Scholar Square and found a programmer who could bring my idea to fruition,  I considered it the best of both worlds. A video website with a twist. A place that an author, an educator, or a business person could put up a video, teach a topic, charge for it . . . and sell their books, products or services.

I still think it is a great idea, but I have yet to watch any of my video presentations all the way through. When the DVDs of my taped events arrived at my home, they sat unopened until my daughter came to watch them with me, in fact she insisted. We laughed at the number of times I blinked my eyes, and how the "Italian" in me came out as I often gestured with my hands. At least my voice didn't shake!

And, then came another opportunity. To be interviewed using streaming video online that was thankfully pre-recorded using Skpe. I had to smile while looking into the tiny hole in my computer screen, containing the webcam, as my kind host introduced me. Once the introduction was over it was much easier to handle the interview. I couldn't see her at all and I definitely CAN wait for that video to post on the website. I am sure I'll blog about that when it is launched.

In order to accomplish we often need to climb out from behind the computer and into the limelight. And, I've come up with a list of ways to do this. It began as a list of excuses for why I could not (or should not) venture out of my comfort-zone and quickly took on a life of its own. This happens often to the words I pen.

Reasons to step out of your comfort zone:

1. If you don't who will.
2. You can't take a picture of your cat and expect people to think it is you.
3. I want to sell books.
4. I can't hire anyone else to do it for me.
5. The time will pass quickly.

And who knows, you may actually enjoy the venture and find that it becomes your comfort zone! It is easier to accomplish a little in a day than nothing at all. Take a chance and try to stretch your reach, the worse that can happen is you may sell a few books!

1 comment:

  1. I finally got skype and my webcam installed. I must admit it was mostly to have SOME contact with my dd while she is in Russia for a semester (She leaves tomorrow), but I also wanted to start recording YouTube videos. I'm usually pretty comfortable in front of the camera, but without an audience is somewhat odd. Without the reaction of the audience, my timing is slightly off and I feel kind of like I'm play acting. lol goes!