First, my daughter just asked me if anonymity was the same thing as that sea creature. I think she meant the sea anemone.
Anyway, have I mentioned that I have a background in promotion and event planning? Yup, that would be me. I spent several years working for a non-fiction book publisher who paid me to travel endless miles across the country, sleeping in beige hotel rooms and eating food that you can acquire from the vendors at the shows while you are on the run looking for the crate that had the most important part of your display booth... all while pushing their books!
Don't get me wrong. I LOVED it! The first booksellers show that I attended was the Northern California booksellers show in San Francisco. Can you think of a better place for an initiation? In the course of five days I went from being the young girl who had never been out of the state of Maine by herself to a traveler who could handle a mob of people. I met tons of people who were avidly interested in the product that I was hocking and I got my first look at real romance authors for the first time. This was about 12 years ago.
At that time, Susan Krinard had just started writing her dark paranormals and she just happened to stop by and look at the books that I was selling. She was kind and friendly and I was in awe. When I mentioned that I was just starting out writing romance she was encouraging and sympathetic and told me to give it all, that I could make it someday. I still carry her words with me today, along with the hundreds of others that I have met over the years since. Each has been kind and offered a tidbit or two of inspiring advice to guide me. I cherish all of them.
So what does this have to do with Anonymity?
Despite the fact that I can talk with hundreds, even thousands of people at trade shows and not be the least bit uncomfortable there was an air of anonymity that came with the focus being placed on the product that I was selling. Because I hadn't written the book I was more than comfortable touting it's fabulousness. Mine, however, are a totally different thing.
I am not comfortable with having the spotlight on me. Call it lack of confidence, but it terrifies me. That's part of the reason that I took on a pseudonym was that I could pretend that it wasn't me. (Yup, Teagan Oliver isn't my real name) By creating this personna I could imagine that this book was actually the work of someone else. So far, it's been working. That is... until I was camping last week. Remember the rain storm that shut down most of south eastern PA. I was there.... more directly, I was there in a campground. It rained everyday, driving the few hardy souls of us that were refusing to leave into creating a small network of friends. During this time I met a very nice lady who asked me about my writing. She expressed an interest in writing and I told her to give it a try. I was very uncomfortable, as I always am, but I gave her a copy of Susanne Brockman book I had just finished and told her that she could start without a computer, that the library would be a wonderful resource for reference and finding others who could help her and I encouraged her. Somewhere along the way, I became the role model... hot damn, never thought it would be me. She returned my kindness ten-fold with a book that she had just finished and a wonderful letter full of thanks for the encouragement.
So, despite the wild rains and flooding and my own uncomfortable anonymity I encouraged someone else the way others helped me. And it felt good... very good.
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