Breaking Out of Your Shell

Networking and Pitching to Agents
(Even When You’re Scared to Death)

by Sabine Berlin

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

I have the world’s greatest critique group. Not only are the members super smart and talented, they are fun to be with. So why is it that every Thursday night I have to convince myself to get up and go to writers’ group? They don’t even care if I show up in my pajamas, so that can’t be it! The answer is, I’m a huge introvert. I love my down time, hidden in my room, not having to worry about socializing with anyone but Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Katniss and Peeta, or my favorite characters of the week (which this week happen to be Anna and St. Clair!). If you’re an introvert like me, you know this feeling. Maybe that’s why we choose to be writers. We don’t get distracted by parties and events, and we’re fine staying home on a Friday night to type away. Writing appears to be a very on-your-own type of career.

Until you finish your novel and actually want to get noticed.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,  had this same awakening after she finished her book. In an interview on Marie TV, Cain, a proclaimed introvert, said:

I spent seven years happily writing a book in splendid solitude and since then my life has been all about being public.”

I’m sure there are hundreds of writers out there who would love that type of a “problem,” but for those of us who walk into a room and look for the nearest exits and the quietest corners, it can be a scary thing. Especially when you’re at a con or writing event and you not only need to talk to perfect strangers, but you also have to get them to want to read YOUR book.

Never fear! Whether you are planning on pitching or just want to network confidently, we’re here with five great tips to keep in mind as you set out to your next con. [Read more...]