With my planned blog tour and Scylla and Charybdis' release coming down the pike, I am left once more faced with how bewildering and difficult I find marketing.  I know this is probably more authors than not:  most of us are introverts by nature, and our wordsmithing skills don't seem to extend to the perfect cover copy.  Witness all the bellyaching about effective query letters and synopses ...

I have ambitions of opening my own catering company down the road, and in general, I hope to be able to cover the business functions by myself.  I'm confident with computer systems, organization, financial recording, and I can (gasp) use Quickbooks; I would probably want an accountant for tax filing itself, but bookkeeping is probably the number one area where fraud occurs, so keeping my own hands on it for as long as possible is a good strategy.

The one role I know I need to hire out, though, is the role of marketing and publicity.  I used to work with a company that also employed a lady who was fantastic at selling in conversation with customers.  It would just flow out of her mouth, and I marveled at it.  If I tried to say those things, I would trip over my tongue, they'd sound hokey and forced if I did manage to get it out, or more likely, I'd chicken out and say nothing at all.  It's more than learning strategies:  a certain mode of communication needs to be second nature for face-to-face marketing and networking to be effective.

I've hid my light under a bushel all my life.  Even if the light really only needed a thimble to hide it.  I have a full-blown case of Impostor Syndrome:  I always feel as if people see me as more accomplished / skilled than I really am, and I'm afraid that they'll find out about the dope under the surface.  I've been known to respond to compliments at work like I'm pretty astonished, and I usually am.

I've learned how to fake social aptitude.  As a child, I had to learn how to put on a social mask and engage with others, even those who were withdrawn themselves.  (That's another story.)  As an adult and a performer, I've had to learn the instruction, monologue and banter that comes with playing on stage.  Though really, that hasn't helped with the impostor syndrome, because what's the safest thing for a performer to poke fun of?  Themselves ... and believe me, I've got a million of them.  Even in my culinary career, I've learned to turn on the patter:  I've spent hours managing a carving station, where brief, casual conversation with customers is a must.

But when it comes to marketing, there's a palpable difference (for me) between being able to put on the mask and being able to sell myself.  As I said above, that requires an internalized, second nature component that I don't have, and I'm honestly not sure can even be learned.  Sure, it can be improved / honed, but I think you have to a certain innate switch flipped to make it work.

Then there's that the common advice not to sell your book, but to let potential readers get to know me.  My goodness ... why would they want to?  I'm boring.  (I realize objectively that my life has been really weird in patches, like that stint in the Renaissance song and troupe and the project I did transcribing handwritten records from the mid-1800s, but it still just seems normal to me.)  I also have to admit that I want people to buy the book because they're interested in the book, not the writer.  Sure, there's a place where the two dovetail, but I'm not a helicopter parent.  I want my book-baby to stand on her own two feet.

So in conclusion ... marketing bewilders me, but I'll muddle through regardless.  Watch this space.