This is highly inconvenient in an age when publishers no longer do your book publicity for you but expect you to do most of it yourself (remind me what publishers are for again?), and especially require you to be a speaker as well as a writer. If anything, this is worse in the Christian publishing scene, where books by 'celebrity' speakers sell better than any
others, and where you will essentially get nowhere as a writer unless you are part of the never-ending round of festivals, conferences, retreats and Christian knees-ups.
Yet many if not most writers are natural introverts (it's quite difficult to pursue such a solitary profession if you're an extrovert like me) and, unless they started by being speakers and ended up writing, are out of their comfort zone when addressing a horde of eager fans or potential fans. Even if you're an extrovert, it doesn't necessarily mean you are able to stand up with minimal notes or none at all, and keep an audience entranced for 40 minutes plus questions. I love preaching, though I prefer preaching to people I already know, but I can't cope without the entire sermon written out beforehand. Research is fascinating, but I could never have been an academic - too much lecturing.
What can you do if you want to promote your work but just don't have the contacts to get speaking engagements, or just plain don't enjoy speaking? I suppose there is always the good old reading and signing at a bookshop, or these days, social media campaigning (at which I confess myself also a novice). But it's not easy, when you're basically quite a shy person who spends their life drainingly pretending to be a confident one. Any ideas from your own experience would be welcome. Or even commiseration, if you're a reluctant speaker like me.
Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer whose latest book is Everything I know about God, I've learned from being a parent (BRF 2013). She also writes a column for Woman Alive magazine, and Bible notes for BRF's New Daylight. Veronica used to belong to what was, before it closed, the only non-conservative, English speaking Mennonite church in the UK, and is currently playing at being a high Anglican. She also blogs (rather occasionally!) at reversedstandard.com