Sherri Lupton Hollister

I survived my first presentation

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As chairperson of the Pamlico Writers’ Group, and more recently of our conference steering committee, I have been forced to do things that are uncomfortable, like public speaking. I know y’all think because I’m a big mouth broad I shouldn’t be sweating and fearing I’ll pass out just because my audience is ten times what I am comfortable with. I still get knock-kneed and tongue-tied whenever I have to stand up on stage and speak into a microphone, but I have learned to power through it. Practice and prayer helps!

This year I volunteered to teach a workshop. Why did I do that? Yeah, I asked myself the same question. It goes back to high school and Ms. Glenoria Jennette, basically she said, embrace your dreams even if it scares you, especially if it scares you. As I have gotten older, her advice has continued to guide me. I can cower in fear or spread my wings and take a chance. Yes, I might fail, I might fall but I will never know unless I try and keep trying. Thanks Ms. Glen, I’m still trying.

I shared my workshop with an awesome group of friends and strangers who each had something to contribute. I believe interaction makes a program more interesting and the presenter can learn from the attendees.

In my program “Be Prepared,” I talked of mistakes I’d made, programs and classes I’d taken, and how I’d adapted what I learned. I was a little terrified to have our keynote speaker, Katharine Ashe join my class. I’m a huge fan of hers and a bit awestruck, but she was a wonderful asset. I actually used her work to help make a few of my points.

Recently, I was a contributor to an international romance anthology, Love in Bloom. As part of this fabulous group I have learned so many new things that I was able to add to my program. Each experience I’ve had, each person who shares their journey adds another bit of information that helps me be a better writer or bookseller.

In today’s publishing world, whether traditional or indie, authors find they must wear several hats: promoter, publisher, and bookseller, marketer and designer. Authors are business people who must learn every aspect of their craft, as well as the business of writing in order to succeed. I am thankful for the workshops I have attended that have given me the tools to help me succeed. I hope my workshop gave someone else a little piece of that puzzle.

This year’s Pamlico Writers’ Conference had a few newbies, besides myself, Adrienne Dunning, Paloma Capanna and Tammera Cooper gave their first writers’ presentations. Paloma and Tammera were familiar with giving presentations due to their careers, Adrienne gave a 15- minute talk to a small group during our Carnival of Books, but for me, this was truly a first.

Thanks to everyone who helped me and encouraged me. I am blessed to have you as part of my tribe.

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