Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things I Learned

I had my first public appearance as an author yesterday. I met with a high school book club that is about to read my novel, The Crystal Bridge. I'll be heading back in a month after they finish reading. There were a few surprises. I'll share some of those lessons learned from the experience.

1- I really can talk about my book, writing, and publishing intelligibly for a long time. I was super nervous that no one would have questions and we would just stare at one another. Maybe I'd get out ten or twenty minutes worth of stuff and then look dumb. That wasn't the case. They had questions and I filled most of an hour. I probably could have filled another hour, but they had to go to class.

2- Wearing a sweater is a good idea. I sweat more than any human should when I'm nervous. I changed shirts like four times and looked at a couple jackets before I left my house. I then threw on a sweater at the last minute. It was a great choice. They couldn't see how nervous I was, even if my shirt was sticking to me underneath it all. I looked calm and confident. I don't know what I'll do in the summer.

3- I should remove the bit about a velociraptor impression at the end of my book. Someone flipped to the back and read my About The Author section. She wanted to see the velociraptor. I was super embarrassed, but did it. It involves me loping across the room, screeching like a crazed lizard. I think the kids thought it was fun, but they may also think I'm a crazy person.

4- I like talking about writing. Not only did I find I had the words, I also didn't struggle with them. I didn't say "um" or "uh" or stutter a lot. The only time I stuttered for a bit was right after I did the velociraptor and I was also blushing. Then I warmed back to the subject at hand. I enjoyed discussing the writing process and the words flowed from me rather smoothly. This was a surprise. I haven't done public speaking in a long long time. I expected it to be harder, but I guess passion for the subject helps more than I imagined.

5- Sitting on a desk with your feet on a chair makes you look cool. At least I felt that way. I didn't have to stand awkwardly at the front of a classroom, unsure what to do with my hands. I didn't have to lean on a podium with a big block of wood between me and them. I didn't have to sit at a table on a stage feeling alone and isolated. I got to sit just slightly above everyone and talk to them like they were my friends. I felt awfully cool...I assume I looked the part too...even with the sweater.

14 comments:

Nance said...

I'm nervous for you... after the fact. Glad it went well. Someday Brandon will actually let me use our Kindle and I'll get around to reading your book as well.

Michael Offutt said...

Yay...Charlie has fans! Maybe your book will catch fire now!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Nance- Thank you for the post event nervousness. You really should steal the Kindle and hide it from him while you read it.

@Michael- Thank you. I doubt a group of thirty high school kids is enough to make it catch fire, but I sure hope so.

Candice said...

That is so cool that you have these kids reading your book, and that you got to go and talk to them! I'm also glad that it was easier for you than you anticipated. Of course, a lot of these things usually do end up being that way. :)

Andrew Leon said...

Good for you! Glad it went well. Now that you've spilled it about the dino, you have to make a video of that and post it! :P

Brent Wescott said...

It's true. Sitting on a desk with your feet dangling does make you look cool. It's like the ultimate position of authority.

J.J. Bennett said...

Just tell me it wasn't a Bill Cosby sweater... ;)

Eve.E said...

Hello there,
I am just popping over from Alex's blog hop. I have been trying to do a few a day or when I get some free time. I'm sorry it's taken me a while to get around to you, it's just that there are so many phew!! So "hello" and great blog. I will pop by as often as I can. Good to "meet" you.
Eve :)

Hollywood said...

Well done on your first public appearance. I can't believe you did the velociraptor! I would have saved that for appearance number two. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Congratulations. When's your next one? After all, practice makes perfect.

dbs said...

Congratulations. Don't feel bad about the velociraptor impression at all. That sort of thing hooks way more boys to read than just talking about the book alone.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Candice- It was pretty cool. Things like this usually go smoother than I expect, but still freak me out every time.

@Andrew- Thanks. I should do a video. That way I can make sure it's the best velociraptor I can do and direct people to the video any time they ask to see it. That seems far less embarrassing than having to preform it in front of them all the time.

@Brent- I'll remember to use it wisely.

@J.J.- Nope. It was a cool brown and black sweater that hides the sweat while making me look sophisticated and less unemployed.

@Eve- Welcome! Nice to meet you too. I've been picking at the blog hop bit by bit and am way more behind than you.

@Hollywood- They may ask for it again at number two...dang.

@Martin- I'm going back in a month when they've finished reading my book. I'm exciterrified.

@dbs- There were only two boys there. Maybe word will spread and more will show up at the second visit.

Kerry said...

High school students can be kind of intimidating, but it sounds like you rocked.

By summer you will be so experienced you won't sweat so much, plus you can set up a fan, one of those new ones that doesn't have blades in it. Everyone will listen to you but stare at the fan b/c it's so weird.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Thanks, Kerry, I think I did rock it too. I'll have to consider the fan idea for summer. I don't think more experience will keep me from sweating. It's just something I do when I'm even the least bit nervous.

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