Letting People Know You Are Out There
By Kathi Macias
Not long after I got my first few books published—one fiction and a couple of nonfiction—my friend Linda came up with an idea to help improve my sales.
“People need to know you’re out there.”
I should have asked where “out there” was, since I’ve always wondered and it would have been a great way to change the subject before she really went off the deep end. Unfortunately, I didn’t say anything and lost my window of opportunity.
“I was thinking that if you started going around to different church and civic groups,” Linda continued“, and speaking about your books, then…” Her mouth was still moving, but I no longer heard her. My brain shut down at the word “speaking”. My head was reeling and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, but I knew I had to pull myself together and tell her exactly why her idea was the worst one to come down the pike since the unveiling of the Yugo.
Linda was still talking, her enthusiasm growing as she expounded on her plan to “launch” me into public speaking. I held up my hand. “Stop,” I said, feeling very much like a helpless traffic cop trying to halt a runaway eighteen-wheeler. “I don’t do that.” She frowned. “Don’t do what?” “Speaking? I don’t speak to people.” Her frown deepened. “That’s ridiculous. You’re speaking to me. What am I, a telephone pole?”
“Very funny. You know what I mean. I don’t speak to large groups of people, meaning two or more. And if you are thinking I’m going out on some half-baked lecture tour, selling my books like I was hawking snake oil—” “Oh, please,” she said, interrupting my tirade. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting a bit? I didn’t say anything about a lecture tour. No offense, but you’re not that big of a deal. Lecture tours are for people with credentials and well-known names. Sorry, but that’s just not you.”
Okay, I asked for that one.
“Fine,” I conceded. “So what’s this big idea of yours? If no one would come and hear me speak, why should I even try? How is it going to help my book sales if I go somewhere to speak and no one shows up? It would be embarrassing.” She laid her hand on my arm. “Weren’t you just telling me the other day how you’ve been learning that it’s not about you, it’s about God? All I’m saying is, why not at least pray about this and see what happens.” She shrugged. “Hey, your books aren’t selling anyway, so what have you got to lose?”
That was almost two decades ago. Did I take Linda’s advice? Yes. Did I quickly become a public-speaking dynamo? No, not at all. But I did learn to not only survive interviews and public speaking gigs—I actually got to the point that I enjoyed them! I now get comments all the time like, “I wish I was a natural public speaker like you!”
Okay, so I’ve got them fooled—or is it that I finally “let go and let God”, as they say, and took a step of faith? Sure, I fell flat a couple of times, but I pressed on, latching on to Micah 7:8, which says, “When I fall, I will arise.”
And so will you.
Whatever it is that God is calling you to do but fear is holding you back—go for it! You just might find out that you like it.
*Adapted from HOW CAN I RUN A TIGHT SHIP WHEN I’M SURROUNDED BY LOOSE CANNONS? PROVERBS 31 DISCOVERIES FOR YIELDING TO THE MASTER OF THE SEAS by Kathi Macias (New Hope Publishers, February 2009). www.kathimacias.com