The Art of Talking About Yourself


Two nice hits today: My first television interview as an author is running on NY1, and my first really long audio interview just dropped on the Booked podcast.

They are both, to varying degrees, mortifying.

I don’t think I performed poorly. But there’s a reason I’m attracted to being a writer. It’s easier to express myself when I can do it by myself. I could never be an actor. Being the center of attention is not something I actively seek out. I get embarrassed playing charades.

And yet, when you’re promoting a book, you’ve got to take every opportunity you can to talk about it. And yourself. And process. All these things you’ve been perfectly happy to not talk about for so long.

Despite my initial terror, and the fact that I will never listen to or watch either of these ever again, I did learn some stuff that’s going to be helpful going forward.

For example, practice, practice, practice. This is a lesson I learned earlier in the process (and I talked about at LitReactor): You need an elevator pitch ready to go. When someone asks you what your book is about you need to be able to explain it quickly and with confidence.

I stumbled a bit on Booked, so before the NY1 interview, which took place two days later, I wrote something out and practiced it until I had it down.

(They ended up not using that for the clip, but hey, at least I was prepared.)

Also, be careful of filler words. Like. Um. Y’know. Well.

Those words you use to fill empty space. Booked is full of them. Again, something I thought about a lot while recording and went into NY1 being thoughtful of. Because holy shit, it can make you sound like a bit of a goof.

They were both very different experiences—for the NY1 interview, we talked for maybe 45 minutes to an hour, and the whole thing is condensed down into one minute and 48 seconds.

With Booked, we talked for nearly two hours—not all of it made it onto the ‘cast (thankfully—there was some fun off-the-record riffing), but the overwhelming majority of it did. I listened to it on the way to work this morning, and it’s weird, listening to yourself, wishing you’d said things differently, or glad you nailed a thought that, until then, had escaped you.

I’m very fortunate to have landed both of these—and it’s given me some stuff to chew on, about how to be more confident as a speaker.

I will say, though, it was a blast. So thanks to Amanda Farinacci from NY1, and Robb Olson and Livius Nedin from Booked. All three of them asked a ton of smart questions, and were such good sounding boards that the whole process was that much easier.

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