Hello, my name is Kristina, and I’m an extrovert.
I love parties, even if there are lots of people I don’t know. I even enjoy small talk. I sometimes go into what my husband calls “reporter mode” when I meet a new person, trying to draw out their life story, one anecdote at a time. I’m not intimidated by crowds, or public speaking. In fact, when it goes well, I get a charge out of it.
But even I, the self-confessed extreme extrovert, have found my limit. And it’s the book launch.
I don’t even have a particularly grueling tour. It’s mostly local towns in Michigan where I know people, plus I was in Chicago a couple of times. But the kick-off of the tour was four stops in four days. I didn’t do this on purpose. But my book launch came so close to the Fourth of July holiday, and I knew it would be pointless to schedule anything that week. So I ended up with four events in four days.
By the fifth day, I wanted to crawl into a dark cave in my pajamas and not talk to anyone for at least 48 hours.
So, I have new respect for introverts in this business. It’s a performance of sorts to be social and charming and engaged. Even the most dedicated extrovert doesn’t have an unlimited supply of effortless charm, or so I’ve discovered at last.
At the American Library Association convention, I signed books for 300 librarians that Sunday morning. It was really fun, capping off a solid weekend of social interaction with librarians, booksellers, other authors, and publishing people. I loved every second of it and was so glad to be done! After my signing I retreated to the hotel room, changed out of my “author girl” clothes and back into my jeans. I did venture one more time to the exhibit floor because there was something I wanted to see. I wandered happily alone in the aisles, my charm button switched to “off.”
But I was wearing my nametag, necessary for entrance to the exhibit floor. And I heard my name shouted across the aisle. Showtime! It was like whiplash to go from silent anonymous wandering to be “Author” again.
I’ve loved all this interaction and I will continue to love it because it means people care about my work and there’s no greater compliment to an author. I just need my cave-time once in a while.