Thanks, S, for inadvertently giving me the idea for a blog, after sending me an email with ‘the reluctant extrovert’ in the subject header. The title was in reference to me setting up a Facebook writer page - and my friend knowing how squeamish I felt about the whole thing. It made me wonder how many others feel the same about self-promotion. No one would know, unless the writer chooses to reveal it, because online, we can be whoever we want to be; free to manufacture any persona we choose. I often come across blogs where the writer sounds confident, experienced, an undeniable expert – but, of course, I know nothing of the sort about them because they are, essentially, spinning me a story.
We all cherry-pick from our thoughts, experiences and opinions in the hope it’ll reveal something of the essence of who we are …or the essence of how we want to be seen, at least. Some will want to ‘sell’ a new or skewed image of themselves, others will try to be more honest. I suspect many of us are here on the web, because we need to be rather than because we want to be. Originally, my Facebook page was for me to communicate with my friends. But now I have a new writer's page and a website because I also have to promote what I’m doing … because if I don’t, who will know I have a book coming out? And if no one knows about the book, no one will buy it. And if no one buys books from the small, independent publishers who support writers like me, they will go under. And then all writers will have to swim in the shark-infested oceans of the big commercial publishers whose sheer size means they can only choose established names and celebrities to fill their shelves. So, you see the problem.
I guess it’s all about the bigger picture. Someone is taking a risk on me - an unknown author - so it seems only right for me to do all I can to reduce that risk, by stepping outside my comfort zone. Yes, there might be some wincing and squirming along the way: yes, my instincts yell at me to sit politely and not speak until I'm spoken to, but all that’s really being asked of me is to have the courage to say: ‘I’m here.’