As unaccustomed as I am to public speaking…
Yes well, I am unused to it, but I’m getting there. I need to. While writing is a solitary activity, writers survive by the words of others. The words of reviews, and more importantly, word of mouth sells our books, and that is what we all need.
So when there is an opportunity to promote a book by doing a reading, then a writer has to take that chance.
The truth of the matter is – I don’t like public speaking. Getting up in front of a crowd is one of the most frightening things I do. But I did a read in London a few months ago and today I’ve been in Swansea to do another.
This weekend is the Swansea Fringe and there are many and varied activities going on. So when Cthulhu Cymraeg 2: Off the Page event came up, of course, I had to agree to do a reading, after all, one of my short stories is in the anthology “Cthulhu Cymraeg 2.”
I arrived early (a bad habit of mine), meet Mark Howard Jones, the editor of the volume and other writers and was given slot three to read.
Picking a middle section of the story, “Confluence of Graves”, I read of how the main characters had found tunnels under an abandoned house, and the terrible things that they started to find there.
It wasn’t the world’s largest audience, but I didn’t dare look up from the page in case they looked bored. I was still near the start when I was put off by the arrival of a woman at the top of the stairs to the room we were using. I paused and invited her in, but she was just there to take photos. Now that is another thing I am not comfortable with. So there I was already uncomfortable reading to an audience, made more uncomfortable by the photographer doing what she’s supposed to do. Thank God I’d had the sense to put on green base to counter the blushing!
I got through the reading and was applauded (there’s a strange experience), but after, one lady from the audience came up and told me that after the reading she couldn’t wait to read my story and find out what happened. Now that’s praise! It may not sound like much to other people, but it matters to me. I write because I write, I am truly driven to write. Now I could easily just keep my writing to myself, but I don’t, I want to share it, to show what I really am. So to have a reader say how much they enjoyed my work means so much to me that I don’t know how to properly explain it.
Then came the other weird experience – being asked to sign books. That’s never happened before, but I must have signed about ten today, and to add to the piquancy of this experience, I’d cheekily taken copies of two of my other books – “Locked Up” and “Shades of Aether”. I sold copies of each!
Not a bad days work at all.
Thanks then to Mark for including me in the anthology, thanks for Swansea Fringe for offering us all a spot, thanks to Gamers Emporium for hosting the event, and thanks to those wonderful people who turned up and listened, and a special thanks to those who dug deep and bought a copy of a book, any book.