Tongue Tied

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Once you tell people you’ve written a book, the first question that’s going to pop out of there mouth is almost always “What’s it about?”. Seems a logical question, no? You’d think, since I wrote the book, edited it a million times, wrote a query/backcover blurb, etc. that it would be an easy question for me as the author to answer, right?

Umm…wrong. For some reason, whenever I’m asked that question, I get all tongue tied. My mind goes blank and I start to stutter. Why can’t I  explain what it’s about? I just don’t know.  I think, on one hand, I feel like I’m bragging if I start rambling on about my story. On the other hand, I’m concerned about the looks I’ll get when I tell people I wrote a story about a girl who cheated death twice and the Angel of Death who saved her life. I can only imagine what people must look like when I tell them I wrote a story about a love triangle between two hot guys and a girl who wears clown makeup.

I don’t do well with face to face stuff as I am not a fan of being the center of attention.  It makes me blush! It’s one of the reasons I love all this online web-related promotion. I don’t have to see people jeer me! Yeah I have to read it, but at least if it makes me cry, no one is around to see.

I’m sure a lot of it just has to do with confidence, something I know I lack a lot of. It also seems to be a writer type deal to have a lot of insecurities about our work. As I’ve said before, art is subjective and not everyone is going to like what we do. I can accept that, but I don’t have to take it head on and face to face. I’d rather just tell them to look it up! I’m sure, given time, it’ll become easier but for now expect a blank look followed by a rambling explanation that is all over the place.

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9 responses »

      • My mom told her whole side of the family, so at the Christmas party, they all bought books and I had to sign them. Then they all teased about not writing “For my favorite aunt” and stuff like that. I wanted to hide in a hole. One aunt grilled me about copyrighting the book so if someone tries to plagiarize it.

  1. Oh geez. It’s great that they’re excited for us…but I think a lot of writers are the…shy type 😛 Don’t tell me you love it, leave a review! 😀

  2. Whenever I write a review for a book I’ve read I try to come up with just one short sentence about the premise, and then another short sentence connecting it to the theme – both can be pretty damn hard to do. Plus, you don’t want to spoil anything. I hate when people summarize a book by giving a lot of character names and bringing up subplots and what-not. Simplicity is heaven in my opinion. I’m reading To Kill a Mockingbird right now and the front cover has a wonderful summary of the book: “The timeless classic of growing up and the human dignity that unites us all.” It gives you the premise and a hint at the theme. But yeah, I know what you mean about telling people about it, it would sound a little corny and pretentious to say that aloud to someone.

  3. Unfortunately, you are going to have to do the face to face stuff. Yes, online is great for remaining anonymous but you’ve written a book and you need to promote it because not many outside of our own family are promoting our book. Yay for mothers and aunts who tell their friends and the rest of the family about our books but guess what, 97% of promotion comes from the author. My daughter accuses me of talking too much when I’m out in public but most of the time I’m talking about my writings and I tell her, I have to talk a lot because I need readers and I’m not gaining them by sitting at home on a computer and she’s not out there promoting me.

    Keep practicing in front of a mirror or every inanimate object you encounter during the day – have that mental conersation – Hi, Mary Beth, I hear you wrote a book recently and are published. What’s your book about? – Well, I have two books published – one called “Tears of a Clown” which is a YA novel dealing with crushes and (not sure what to put here as the word I’m looking for isn’t really coming to me) – and it involves two very hot guys and a girl who wears clown make-up, not because she is a clown but because she follows a group and this is her way of not following the norm. My second book is called Near Death and is about a girl who cheats death twice and the Angel of Death who helps her do this. — Not in those exact words but you get the picture, practice it so when faced with the question of what your book is about, you have the answer instantly.

    If that doesn’t work, I’d keep bookmarks on hand with the description on them so all you have to do is hand them that. I get my bookmarks through gotprint.com – and the last order I placed I only paid like $15 and some change for 1000 bookmarks (for my YA paranormal mystery novel, Finally Home) and on the front I hae my cover and my website, blog and email and on the back – I have the brief description (the back blurb) – it’s almost a mini version of the back cover of my book because it has my mirror and the blurb on it.

    Just find different ways to tackle this problem so that you aren’t always tongue tied. And naturally, the more you practice, the easier it will be for you to answer and not think twice about it.

    Hang in ther and over time, the tongue tied thing won’t be an issue – keep practicing – E 🙂

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    “The Proposal” (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    “The Tulip Kiss”, a paranormal romance ebook
    “Bride-and-Seek”, a paranormal romance ebook
    http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
    http://eeldering.weebly.com

    Ma America, The Travelin’ Maven
    Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery trivia series and “Train of Clues” (a mystery destination story and predecessor to the JGDS state series)
    Where will the adventure take you next?
    http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
    http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

    • Good advice, thanks! 😀 at the insistence of two of my “meat world” writer friends, I recently joined a local writing group and you have to explain your book and do a reading. I was totally against it, but they pushed me into it and I’m glad they did. I think the rest will come easier when I’m more used to talking about it. At least with other writers I don’t feel like I’m coming off as bragging! 😀

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