Archive for the ‘“Book Speaking”’ Category

Over the festive period and summer holidays this year, I’ve been getting out more socially. My oldest friends finally managed to prise me out of my writer’s cave. I get so intense about my work, that it’s actually quite a relief to take a minute off and be reminded to cut loose again. When a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in thirty-five years, turned to greet the rest of us old high school mates, as we arrived in the bar last night with, “Right ladies, it’s time for cocktails,” you know it’s time to party.


Now that my friends and I are into our fifties, the conversation topics will always include stories of our children and aging parents. Romy Halliwell put it best when she said; Middle age is that time in life when children and parents cause you equal amounts of worry.

Yet, there is great comfort and surcease to be had by sharing these stories of anxiety. We hear tips, we gain new ideas for how to do things.

Each event has been a lot of fun! It’s nice to see everyone again and catch up.

At the same time, I approach social events a little differently to other people. As a writer, I absorb lots of details, and a party is like being bombarded with information. Israeli author, David Grossman, once said, ‘Telling your secrets to an author is very much like hugging a pickpocket.’ That’s a great analogy. I come home from social events loaded with ideas and voices and colours, enriched with the minutiae of people’s lives.


The conversations have covered all the important bases, too: we’ve discovered one another’s current home locations, marital status, and career situations.

There is one subject however, which I try to avoid at all costs. Money. The stark reality for the majority of authors, is that they will never recoup the production costs, let alone make a living out of writing fiction.

From what I understand, very few fiction authors do.

When talking about the subject of money, I always think of a friend who collaborated with us on the Kissed by an Angel anthology. Ellen Warach Leventhal. Ellen said that, during an author visit to an Elementary School in the States, this was her favourite response from a fourth grader: “You work hard, you don’t know if you’ll ever get paid for it, and you aren’t rich? Man, not sure I want to do that.”


Or, I remember picture book creator, Don Tate’s recent Facebook post, which said, ‘Book birthdays are exciting but, let’s face it, they’re quiet. After many years of hard work, a book is finally available for sale. There are no trumpets. There is no confetti. Heck, there ain’t even no money. So, I like to make my book birthday’s as special as possible.’

Good on him, for throwing a big shindig to celebrate every book, and for being honest about this business.

A top tier of authors do make a fantastic living, and there is good money to be made. The rest of us have to slog it out for the sales. Like most authors and artists I know, I have to maintain a whole variety of other income streams, in order to survive.

Therefore, when I go out socially, and I’m making conversation with old mates, it gets awkward when everyone is comparing “what are you doing now” stories.


My tale of hard won self-published books comes across sounding pretty weak, even to my ears, alongside the dizzying career heights of my professional female friends.

After listening to their stellar achievements I heard myself saying, “Producing a book is a lot of hard work.” “I need to sell a hundred books to get my first royalty cheque.” Somehow, it didn’t sound quite as glamorous!

Then, I thought of the letter left by Holly Butcher, the twenty-seven-year-old with cancer, which I read on Facebook today. She said of our worries, I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go.

This reminded me about to get real about what matters.

Last night, instead of trying to compete with success stories, I concentrated on sharing with my friends how much fun and fulfilment I get from writing fiction for children. Do what makes your heart sing, right? In the end, that’s what really matters.

Is your profession your passion in 2018?


Talk to you later.

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


‘I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.’ ~ Jack London



Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to:


It’s Wednesday and time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.


What am I feeling insecure about? Speaking in public. Yes, that’s right. I’m a Toastmaster who’s terrified of giving speeches.

A week ago, I was asked to speak to a group of people about my books. My first reaction? To think, ‘I can’t do that!’ Yesterday, I was asked to give a speech at a public venue this coming weekend, and my reaction was to feel, I can’t!

I know it’s just fear. And, I also know it comes from being an introverted writer. Talk about a double whammy! I know there must be other introverted writers out there, and most definitely there are many of the poor, frustrated people who live with them, who want to wrap their head around it a bit more. Here’s my take.

Headshot 2

To be a writer these days, you need to be able to speak in public. For that reason, I started going to Toastmasters nearly a year ago, and yet, I’m still terrified every time I take the stage.

The thing for the introvert is this. We can do everything within our power to overcome this fear of public speaking, yet, the natural inclination is to solitude. We still gain our energy from retreat.

Coming forward takes all my courage. It makes the stage fright seem doubly worse. There’s giving the talk itself and, then, there’s also the overwhelming prospect of a room full of strangers. It feels a little bit like swimming uphill.

‘Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.” ~ By Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert


At Toastmasters last week, my “adopted grandfather” Bruce brought along a friend, Bob, who also lives at the same retirement village.

Bob expressed interest in my book. He was one of those sweet old gentlemen you warm to right away: twinkly-eyed, white-haired, white-bearded, who are extremely enthusiastic about literature and authors in general. He said, “It always makes such a difference if you can say you’ve met the author.”

‘What sort of books do you write?’ he asked.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 4.13.09 pm

I tried to explain the genre, (fantasy fiction) and that it was aimed at the 9-12-year-old reading level. But, even as the words of description were leaving my mouth, I regretted them, and wished I’d said something else.

Lesson learned: an introverted writer should have a blurb rehearsed beforehand, a standard phrase that can be repeated in the time it takes to ride an elevator, in other words, have an “elevator pitch” ready. In a public situation, we don’t adlib very well.

In a starry-eyed fashion, Bob suggested I could get Bruce to organize a luncheon at their village, for me to come and talk about my book!


Despite shrinking inside, I said, “Yes, that’s a good idea.”

“Oh, you’d draw quite a crowd, we love hearing about that sort of thing down at the village,” Bob said, beaming all the while.

Crowds – my least favourite thing. I used to think that I had a phobia of crowds but it’s not that I am rattled by being among a large group of people; it’s that being there depletes my energy. This is how it is being an introvert.


‘When introverts want to be alone, it is not a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.’

I am fighting the good fight. I’m doing the work. I’m attending the weekly Toastmasters meetings and I’m somehow inexplicably surviving each speech I give. Yet, the thought of speaking in public this weekend is giving me palpitations!

Are you an introvert writer? How do you handle the stage fright? I need tips!


Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


“The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice!The artist knows he must be alone to create: the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.’ Anne Morrow Lindberg


Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to:


Picture 200

Here, in New Zealand, media coverage of children’s books is poor. I was particularly interested when a fellow Kiwi author shared this online conversation about the topic of the under-representation of children’s literature in the media.

This was the original “call-to-action:” ‘#CoverKidsBooks invites you to join in a public conversation about children’s books.  Leave a comment, write a blog of your own, or tweet about it using the hashtag.  Tell us why children’s books matter to you, and what you’d like to see the media do to #CoverKidsBooks!’

The research by #CoverKidsBooks showed that children’s books ‘typically got 3% of newspaper review space, despite accounting for over 30% of the market.’

This is a subject close to my heart. *grabs soapbox*

I’ve never been able to understand why children’s books are so greatly undervalued. To me, children’s literature is as important as any other genre. Wake up, world, to the increasing rather than decreasing value of books for our kids! Wake up to the importance  of time spent reading for our children!


When I was growing up, we were given books as prized gifts on birthdays and Christmases. I can remember poring over each and every tome. They were treasured. The first book I ever received was at seven years old. ‘The Legend of Siegfried’ gripped me so completely, that it started off a lifelong passion for mythology and legendary storytelling.

In the original post, Laura Jackson Warburton commented, ‘I think there is still a massive amount of snobbery about children’s books. Not about one children’s book over another, but people tending to dismiss anything from YA down as ‘only silly stories’.’

Exactly. Why is that? What is this snobbery based on?


I’ve always been guided by the words of famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in 1853, Children are now the only representatives of the men and women of that happy era (the golden age) and therefore it is that we must raise the intellect and fancy to the level of childhood, in order to recreate the original myths

The part of the CoverKidsBooks conversation to really spark my interest however, was when, in the original post, Emma Perry was asked whether children’s books were important.

002 (14)

Emma Perry: I think especially in the world today, where we’re bombarded by information and interruption, your relationship with a book is so important. I’d like to encourage my children to have that long-form thought and long-form imagination.

This was the key, I thought.

We, the parents of today’s children, worry greatly about the future awaiting them. We see our kids with their heads buried in their digital games, or, staring at mobile phones. We wonder how they will ever concentrate long enough to hold down a steady job or relationship.

003 (8)

Maybe that’s why children need to read books these days more than ever before in our history? Because reading helps our modern kids focus their easily-scattered attention for longer periods. Something has to happen to redress the effects of the continuous short-term gratification of playing digital games. Books may just be the cure. Huzzah!

*steps off soapbox*

It’s been proven that reviews and media coverage do sell books. Our children need good quality books, and not just in digital format.

With that in mind, what can we do to raise the profile and image of Children’s Literature?

041 (2)

Out of all the answers given in the original blog post, I liked the comment by Laura Jackson Warburton.

LJW: Daily book reviews in newspapers, not only of new releases from bestselling authors, but of debut authors and archive titles. A children’s book channel like MTV but with books, grabbing kids’ attention and helping books get into the right hands.  Top 10’s, book bloggers’ reviews, celebrities talking about books, book trailers etc would get kids thinking about books, talking about books in the playground and using pester power to get parents to buy the books!


Yes. These ideas are great!

Leave a comment, write a blog of your own, or tweet about it using the hashtag.  Tell us why children’s books matter to you, and what you’d like to see the media do!

#CoverKidsBooks – The Facts

#CoverKidsBooks – Booksellers

#CoverKidsBooks – Librarians

#CoverKidsBooks – Teachers


Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


Any book that helps a child to form the habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. ~ Maya Angelou


Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to:


“I’m late. Again. Yesterday, it was time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.


Can there be any more hideous experience than talking about your own book in conversation?

I should know by now, not to get drawn in by that most delicious and tempting of all questions.

Yet, my brother, Al, asked me, ‘how’s your book going?’ and I succumbed.


I told my brother, ‘The Sasori Empire’ was based on mythology, with alternate versions of Maori legends and Japanese mythology.

To me, the world I’ve created through the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series is perfectly logical.

Yet, it’s only when I try to describe the plot to other people that I seem to come unstuck.

Sam love

I heard myself telling my brother, Al, in avid detail, as you do when you’re a writer, all about ‘The Sasori Empire.’ I said, it’s set on the planet Chiron (an actual recently discovered planet in our solar system). The setting though is an alter-earth. As other authors have done, I swapped out the first letters of countries to make them recognizable and yet also, ‘somewhere else.’

Al was blinking at me owlishly.

Yet, we writers, when asked about our babies, cannot stop talking even when our listener’s eyes have glazed over.

I told Al that book two mostly moves between the Lost Island, set off-shore from the west coast of an alternate New Zealand, and the Land of Fire and Ice which is set in an alternate imagining of Japan.

Al may have started snoring at this point.

About mythology, the famous writer, Joseph Campbell said, ‘The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation—initiation—return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.’

I explained to my brother, that in these books I explore the traditional heroic arc, through the medium of fantasy and insect shape-shifters. Only in neither book two, nor its companion, book two: part two, do the hero or his heroic band get to “return.”

That was it. My brother wasn’t even looking in my direction anymore. I knew we’d officially reached his limit. At that point, I petered out.

I read somewhere recently, if we feel the urge to share what our book’s about with others, we should lock the urge up and throw away the key.


Sharing only seems to water the impact down. Yes, I know we have to be able to précis the book to compose the synopsis, blurb, and elevator pitch, all the way down to the logline. But that’s different, that’s the business side. Even writing a speech about your book is acceptable. But talking about the story with people in regular old conversation, I find, goes nowhere fast. It never works.

Why is that?

The fact is, no one, not even one’s own sibling, wants to hear an author “selling their own book.” Especially at length!

How do I stop myself from “sharing” again? Have you ever had a hideous experience of talking about your own book?


Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


Lord, make my words sweet and reasonable; some day I may have to eat them.~ Paddy Ashdown

‘The word ‘Legend’ comes from Latin legenda, ‘things to be read’. Originally, legends were the hand-written biographies of saints and martyrs, which were read daily, at MATINS, and after dinner at monastic refectories. In these accounts, such a love for exaggeration, the fantastic and wonderful predominated that the word, legend, came to signify a traditional story, a fable, or myth.’ ~ Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable


Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to:


‘These days writers don’t get to let their written words speak for themselves. Books must be promoted, which means that book writing is all about book speaking.’ ~ Laura Vanderkam

I’ll admit I tried to resist this truth for many years! In the early days, I wanted to hide in my cubby and write the books. Someone else would sell them. Yet, hearing salient quotes like this reminded me of the reasons to overcome this personal obstacle.


I have always hated public speaking. Let me amend that. I’ve hated it since the age of 12, when I first felt humiliated on stage. I had tried to sing the lead in the HMS Pinafore at my school production, while suffering a throat infection. On a prolonged high note, my voice broke. In one instant, I saw my parents’ stricken faces, and the shame set in.

At the age of 15, I joined a school production. It was being put on by the cool group, whom I wanted to befriend. Midway through our big final number, one of the girls grabbed me and swung me by my ankles around in circles. My skirt flew over my head.

My terror of public speaking had been firmly cemented into place. I’d never set foot on a stage again. Or, so I thought.


There were two times after that, when at big family occasions, I was called upon to speak. I messed up the speeches so royally, they’ve become stuff of family legend. Pulled out and retold at family parties, just to remind me that family never forgets.

Upon engaging a “life coach” a few years ago, I was encouraged to face my fear of public speaking, by doing it.

I said, ‘That isn’t going to happen, because I have a truly paralyzing fear.’

The coach said, ‘That’s just a story, okay? We all tell ourselves stories. Chris de Petty says, If you’re going to make shit up, make good shit up.


I’ll admit I thought the “cure” was a bit harsh. Yet, apparently, this is a common approach for this type of self-conscious block and it does have good results.

In the January 2016 issue of Toastmaster, there was an interview with a former stutterer, Ken Bevers. Ken joined the McGuire Program which is for people with speech impediments. The program supported him to front up to his fear – by going to busy public places like shopping centers and introducing himself to strangers. In the years since then, Bevers has moved on to become the President of his club, and has been promoted at work to a senior position in his firm.


*Hot Tip: If you want a breakthrough in being able to speak in front of audiences, take a stand-up comedy class. Improv would help, too. Or join Toastmasters.

Despite my immense misgivings, a year ago, friend and author, Lynn Kelley, and I challenged one another to join Toastmasters.

We discovered the life-affirming act of facing down the fear of doing each speech carries with it a payoff. There’s the satisfaction of winning that small victory. This acts like confidence fertilizer.

Of course, extra confidence is helpful in any professional arena. When interviewed in the February 2016 issue of Toastmaster, singer and producer, Quinn Lemley, said, ‘During interviews I stuttered or spoke too fast. I thought Toastmasters would help – and it has!’

The reason Lynn and I joined was to build our book speaking skills.

‘This will prepare me to do lectures and speaking engagements and school visits.’ Lynn Kelley said, in a conversation we had on Facebook recently. ‘You might be asked to speak at a conference someday and Toastmasters will prepare you for that.’


Author and speaker, Laura Vanderkam, explains why the skill of public speaking is good for writers. If I want to keep writing books, I need my books to sell, and that means getting up in front of all kinds of audiences to talk about my ideas.

Toastmasters, Improv, or learning a skill like stand-up comedy can prepare us for promotional opportunities as writers. Fun ways to brush up weekly on our book speaking skills.

What about you? Are there any skills you intend to master in 2016? How do you approach your Book Speaking?

026 - Copy

Talk to you later,

Yvette K. Carol


In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln