Being an Introvert in an Extrovert World

Contrary to common belief, I am not an extrovert. I know I come across as one – I’m loud and speak my mind. I am happy to talk to anyone about myself. But only in certain circumstances.

I don’t like “spamming” people either, but I will. Although I have been put in Facebook jail for putting up to many ads in groups this week. Which is what made me think about other ways of marketing. I keep being told to talk to people about my books. It’s my job to sell books, specifically my books. But I struggle. Why? Because I am a terrible saleswoman. I hate talking to strangers, I hate standing up in a crowded room and reading extracts from my books, I struggle to read out 1500 words at my local writer’s group without having a full-blown anxiety attack. It took me a year to summon up the courage to actually attend my first meeting.

What about talking about myself? Selling myself? Telling not showing. It’s a big no-no in the fiction industry, and yet I do that every day. Yes, I am happy to answer any of your questions – but I won’t show you how it makes me feel. I don’t really have a brand, and I have been having an identity crisis since I was 13. 20 years later, and I still don’t know who I am, or what I want to do with my life, other than be a best-selling author.

I am a member of the Romantic Novelist Association. I’ve had all the invitations and letters for galas, awards and meetings, but have never been to a single one. I don’t even like going to the day schools and tutorials I’m supposed to attend for my English Lit and Creative Writing degree. It’s not that I don’t like people – but I get nervous being around people I don’t know, and travelling to places I don’t know.

But why? I don’t know. I really don’t. I get scared, have palpitations, get breathless. My chest tightens, I start to sweat profusely, and want to pass out.

My husband will tell you that I am an introvert in an extrovert world, trying to blend in. But I’m no chameleon.  My colours are firmly fixed, and while I can act at being extroverted in certain situations, the truth is, I would be happier being a hermit and doing all of my work hidden behind my keyboard.

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