My public speaking journey really began back in 2008 when I gave a talk at the Motueka Community Centre. This first public talk was organised by Anne, a secretary at the nearby Parklands School who heard me speak, show some Alaskan artefacts to one of the classes, and watched the enthralled reaction. "Would you be happy to share your stories to a local community group, Emma?" she asked. Since that initial meeting I have been invited to speak to many groups, probably well over sixty by now, all subsequent invitations spawned from members of my audiences, and through word of mouth.
I had actually planned on writing an Alaskan memoir before this public speaking circuit began. It was why I wrote regular newsletters home in my early years of living in bush Alaska; knowing the newsletters would remind me of details of the adventures I was having. These early presentations confirmed that desire. My audiences told me, “Write your stories down Emma, we’d love to read them!”
This past week I spoke to a Probus group in Christchurch. The turnout to this week’s talk was about 100 members and in the excited rush to buy a copy after I finished speaking, one poor buyer ended up with my personal copy of Dancing on the Tundra that I had left lying on the sales table. This ‘author’s copy’ was filled with hand written notes and coloured post-its for selected readings!
I contacted the club to let them know, as well as to offer a sparkling new copy of the book to swap for the less than pristine copy in some poor buyer’s hands. I await contact with bated breath...
The journey of a self-published author is one of continuous learning and improvement but you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.