In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of www.cynthialeitichsmith.com, I asked some established authors–folks I’d featured early on–the following question:
Over the past decade, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned about your craft, the writing/artistic life, and/or publishing, and why?
Here’s the latest reply, this one from author Carolyn Crimi:
Before I was published I imagined that the life of an author would involve, um, writing. Just writing.
I actually believed I’d earn a living from my advances and royalties alone.
Hey, don’t laugh! That’s not nice.
I had a hard lesson to learn, and that is that writers are asked to give talks. You could even say that writers often earn more money doing public speaking than they do on their craft.
I know! It’s crazy! But there have been many times in my writing career when I have felt more like a public speaker than a writer.
If people ask me what my advice is for new writers, I tell them to write, read, and join Toastmasters. Improv classes also help with public speaking.
I go to conferences just to watch authors present their material. How do they use their hands? How often do they use anecdotes? Do they read their lecture or do they have it memorized?
Because when it comes right down to it, authors who present well will be in high demand and they’ll sell more books.
So that’s what I’ve learned. Oh, and don’t picture the audience naked. That’s a lot scarier than actually doing the talk.