An author's job is to write good books. I've been working hard to acquire that skill for years.
But once published, there are many other tasks that an author must absorb. We must learn how to read contracts. We must learn to handle the finances and taxes of the self-employed. We must plan to attend conferences or workshops to improve our writing craft. And a huge part of the published author's job becomes the marketing of her books.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of books are published. Publishing houses cannot afford to market all of their titles. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to get readers interested in a book. Authors accept the burden to encourage word-of-mouth when they accept a publishing contract. We have to talk to people about our books and hope they'll love the books enough to talk about them in turn.
Trying to sell my books to readers was the part of this job that scared me the most. By nature, I am an introvert. I enjoy being alone. Going to parties or giving speeches or selling products--I don't enjoy that.
The reality has been far different than what I expected. I like talking to people about books. I love discussing my characters and stories. I enjoy sharing my experiences about the publishing industry.
Today, I attended an event for math tutors. I talked with high school and middle school teachers--and mentioned my book. Before I left, I'd handed out three business cards, offered to be a guest speaker at their schools, and had a wonderful time doing it. I love the idea of visiting with students, answering their questions about this business, and getting them fired up about writing.
The part of the author job that I dreaded most turned out to be much more fun than I could have imagined.