The Introverted Author and Live Events

Depending on your promotional aspirations, at some point, you may wish to do a live event, like a book signing. I'll be attending the Texas Book Festival at the end of this week, and I'm already a jangle of nerves.

It's almost impossible to explain to the extroverted how much stress and strain this can put on an introvert. Our brains function differently than an extrovert's. It's easy for us to get over-stimulated, especially in a crowded, noisy situation. Our batteries are drained by social interaction instead of recharged. Unless we're careful, these can become negative situations for us.

Image by Cheyanne-Stinson
There are ways, though, to help make live events more comfortable.

1. Find a way to work in a few moments of alone-time. There will almost always be a few minutes of "down time" available during the event. Slip away by yourself for a few minutes to somewhere where you can be alone and calm. It helps to scope out the location ahead of time and find quiet little nooks.

2. Bring an extroverted friend to assist. I've found this to be very helpful. The friend can take the burden of most conversation off of you. If you're at a book festival, or other event where you're sharing space with multiple authors, they can help lure potential buyers over to your table by engaging them as they pass by, handing out bookmarks, etc.    

3. Keep your hands busy. This can help calm some of the anxiety you may feel. Drink some tea or water, sign some bookmarks between visitors.

4. Try to have a concrete schedule. As an INTJ, schedules and routine are very important to me. I'm not going to say I peer at my watch constantly, but knowing when your session has ended or when you can take a break can help you feel more in control of the situation.

5. Plan things to say. Think of questions to ask readers, such as how they discovered your books. That can help you feel less awkward than just "winging it."