It is my pleasure to share a guest post from author Aidee Ladnier, who answers my question...
ELF: What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?
AL: Hi, I’m Aidee and I have social anxiety. There. I said it.
I’ve realized in the last few years that there are many writers who are introverts and a few suffer from social anxiety as I do. Basically, it’s an unfounded fear that when you walk out into the world (out of the safety of your house, your room) that everyone is suddenly looking at you, judging you, and finding you wanting. And if you’re a writer, this can be terrifying because in a sense, people are judging you—or at least your books. That’s what a review is, after all.
But social anxiety has made a lot of things difficult for me as I became a published author. First it necessitated me gathering the courage to attend my local writers group. I wondered—why would they want to hang out with me? What could I, as a newbie writer, offer them? But I persevered. I went to the meeting, introduced myself with a quavering voice, and then pulled out my squares of origami paper. That’s a coping mechanism I have when I’m around a lot strangers. I keep my hands busy. So I folded a few paper cranes and listened to the educational program. Afterwards, several writers came up to me to introduce themselves and to ask about the paper cranes, some even inquiring about instructions on how to make them. And after attending that first meeting, it became easier to attend the next and the next. And then after a year, I realized that not only was I a part of the writers group, but I had new and dear friends that I didn’t have before.
Social anxiety reared its ugly head again when I prepared my first story to send to a small publishing house. I had everything ready. The story was as polished as I could make it. The cover letter was short and professional. The synopsis clearly outlined the major points of the plot. All I had to do was hit send. But I hesitated for nearly a month. What if the submissions editor doesn’t like it? What if it’s published and the readers don’t like it? But then I asked myself after that month, what if my story is never heard? Could I live with that? I couldn’t. I wanted my stories to be read. And if some readers didn’t like my story, that was okay. Not everyone likes Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books). There’s even a review for P&P that says it is the “most overrated book in the history of literature.” If a reviewer can say that about one of my favorite books, then I can certainly expect a few bad reviews to come my way as well. I’ll be in good company. And thinking about that worst case scenario, realizing that my need to have my voice heard was more important than being silenced, helped me to finally send in my first short story.
So there you have two of my coping mechanisms that helped me become a professional author. Despite my social anxiety, I’ve managed to publish several short stories, novellas, and now a novel. I belong to several writers groups. I’ve attended book signings and autographed a few of my books for fans. I even take a peek at my reviews occasionally. I don’t think I’ve necessarily conquered my social anxiety, but I’ve learned to live with it, and make sure it doesn’t keep me from writing and publishing. J
The Moonlight Market
by Aidee Ladnier
GENRE: LGBTTQ, Fantasy & Paranormal, New Adult
College senior Cory Long tracked his missing sister to the magical Moonlight Market to bring her home. Instead, he found a disorienting world of performers and hawkers, bizarre sights and sounds, and one very familiar showman, Sanderson Beets. Like a drowning man, he latched onto Sanderson, trusting him to navigate the twists and turns of the Market as unerringly as he had steered Cory to passion in their furtive trysts on campus.
But Sanderson was tired of being the quickie in the alley.
Sanderson Beets had escaped the Moonlight Market to attend college, hoping to settle into a normal life, maybe meet someone and fall in love. To obtain that new life he made a dangerous bargain. And when the sinister woman known as the Weaver of Dreams is involved, second chances always come with strings attached…and sacrifices. Sanderson’s debt has come due, and the only payment he has to offer is Cory, and their chance at a relationship.
Cory dropped into one of the orange plastic chairs lined up to face the scratched podium and its gooseneck mic. He cradled the lukewarm cup of coffee, hunching out of the way as another attendee climbed over the row in front of him to sit beside him. The guy’s lips curved up in an easy smile that sparkled in his eyes. Tiny silver earrings dangled from his lobes, catching the light.
Cory took a swallow of his bitter drink.
“The coffee never gets any better. You’d think we’d have at least one barista in the group.” The guy’s soft comment and raised eyebrow felt like a caress.
Cory almost snorted his sip of burned coffee through his nose. His seatmate was one of the new campus admin volunteers, or so his cheap clip-on button proclaimed. Earlier, the director had rattled off a list of a half-dozen unfamiliar names in a staccato monotone, but Cory’d been pouring his crappy coffee when each volunteer had raised an identifying hand.
The guy frowned at his paper cup and took a cautious sip. Cory assumed he was gay. Or bi. Or a straight ally. With his blond god looks, Mr. Volunteer Admin probably had all the girls and guys panting after him.
The guy set his cup down with a thunk that sloshed a splatter of coffee between their feet. It melted into the dingy faux granite of the linoleum.
“Where I grew up, there’s this woman who makes the world’s best coffee. I don’t know what she does, but I swear it’s made from orange blossoms.”
Cory resettled against the hard plastic seat, moving his leg where the edge of the chair dug into the muscle. “Sounds different.”
“It is. But I like it.” The blond guy gave Cory the once-over and smiled again. Definitely gay or bi.
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