Monday, October 24, 2016

Selling Out

One of the realities that authors face is that they almost always have to do public appearances sooner or later. This comes more naturally to some, while others struggle to adapt to marketing themselves. As writers, we tend to live in our heads a fair bit, and that puts us in a place where we get wrapped up in our own fears and thoughts and often make things harder on ourselves than they need to be.

That was one of the key things I took away from a recent Skype conference with author and literary event manager, Sarah L. Johnson.

When she launched her own book, Johnson had been coordinating events for over a year, but “when you’re talking about your own work it’s very different and you get nervous.” Although the nerves are natural, she says that one of the most important things an author can do to prepare for a bookstore event is to relax. “It really isn’t a big deal. It’s a friendly room. There’s nothing to be worried about. These are people who want to support you.”

What's the secret to a successful author event? Sarah's insight and advice is running in full today. I think for me, the biggest thing I took away from this is that we are our own worst enemies.

I will say that it can be hard to fully embrace the self promotion aspect, though. If you're in your own hometown you should have a strong audience to pull into an event. For some of us who've moved around far too much as an adult, we have limited local social circles. It's left me wondering if there's a void that can be filled with online book launches. I know the odd person still does blog tours, but the heyday of blogs and the large author social circle online seems to be far behind us, and I do find myself wondering why that is. Are we only able to invest in immediate results, and because we can't always see the impact of a blog post to the overwhelming majority of the audience, who do not comment or interact with the writer, does that render the medium ineffective? When I post here and get no comments or only 1 is it a sign that it's time to pack it in? Yet the site stats tell a different story, and it does leave me wondering why the shift away from internet promotion, or the change in how that occurs.

Which is probably enough to get me wrapped up inside my own head for the rest of this Monday morning. So instead of falling down that rabbit hole, hop over to Spinetingler and check out Sarah's tips for successful bookstore events.


Dana King said...

I haven't done a lot of events, but based on those I've done and been to, this is all excellent advice.

Sandra Ruttan said...

It really is pretty simple when you think about it. I think it puts a lot of people's fears to rest to realize that it's not that complicated.

Dana King said...

That and another key element: the people in attendance WANT you to succeed. It's a book singing, not 60 Minutes.