Publicity Tip #110 ~
I’ve touched on offering your books and other smaller compilations for free to help you gain followers and build your email list. Today I’d like to talk about how you can be selling yourself for free and still earn from the experience 😉
Many authors are fairly introverted by nature, but regardless of how we handle ourselves in public, we’re all pretty passionate about writing and at least one other topic. If you can work up the nerve to host a free lecture or workshop at various venues within an hour’s drive of where you live, you are likely to draw in interested fellow authors and/or readers (depending on your subject matter) – regardless, those who will attend will share your passion.
Now, you can start small with 6-10 people ‘chatting’ with you about your topic of choice (and it should be a topic touched on in your book) at your local library (they often offer rooms for free if you’re not charging the public), and then build up to speaking on a panel at a nearby writers’ conference. Regardless of the size and location of your venue, bring along your books, bookmarks, business cards, etc. and set yourself up a nice little display space to advertise your book.
You won’t always make a sale, but you might just gain another follower on your mailing list who will buy book 2. This is a low-cost (mostly just your time and gas money) publicity option that many writers slough-off because they don’t think anyone would come to hear what they have to say… or you don’t think you know enough to talk for an hour on your topic of choice. I say, if you had the tenacity to get out there and get yourself published, you know enough to sit and chat with a small group of people who have a similar liking for that topic.
You can do it – I know you can. You just need to believe in yourself and throw caution to the wind.
Thanks Ashok 🙂 Don’t forget that if your fiction (or non-fiction) work is about seniors, you can lobby to speak with at a senior’s home, just like if you’re main character is a dog you can arrange to speak at a dog park, vet or even grooming place. It’s just a matter of getting creative in a different way 🙂
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Hmm….make eminent sense!
Great ideas that I’m sure will inspire introverted writers to get out there, but it’s not even in the ballpark for people like me – and I wonder if anyone has ever written anything along lines that are really quite different.
I am one of those individuals that introverts probably think are nuts. I adore Public Speaking – always have. I can speak on anything in my head to any size audience for as long as you want with very little prep time. That’s never been my problem – once I’m in front of an audience. As the ADD Poster Girl who writes self-help, brain-based non-fiction, it’s the *logistics* that have always slowed me down, tripped me up – or stopped me entirely.
Booking the venue (or the flight), packing up supplies (and/or clothing), deciding on a speakers outfit for an audience that can’t be distracted by what I’m wearing and still focus on what I’m saying, making sure I’m where I need to be WHEN I need to be there for conferences, etc. Shoot, even getting dressed and out the door on time can be a struggle for someone with Executive Functioning disorders.
All those pre-frontal cortex intensive *decisions* that people whose brains filter and focus without trouble seem to do with ease can stop a writer/speaker with EF struggles dead in their tracks.
Speaking of conferences, there are proposal deadlines, constant checking for the announcements to get your name in early, writing and formatting the proposal according to increasingly complex guidelines (and a backup proposal in case my topic is far too popular that particular year) – and making sure I don’t miss those deadlines WHILE I keep the rest of my life from falling apart. The admin side has always limited how much I could do to get out the word.
My heart is pounding even as I type this – and your article makes me wonder how many other writers are stopped – even unconsciously – by things just like these. My blog is not writer-focused, so the topic would not be of interest to a great many of my readers, but I’d love to read something from that *planning* to speak point of view.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to educate a world!”
Deep breath 🙂 If you enjoy talking to people and don’t have to worry about planning what to say, then my best suggestion for writers with an Executive Functioning Disorder is to ask a trusted friend or family member to make the arrangements on your behalf – and start small! 😀
See if your best friend can set up with a free-seminar based on one of ten topics you can flesh out within one hour. S/he can then book the time with the library based on your availability. Then, set a reminder in your cell phone’s calendar and on your computer. See if your friend can help you include in that reminder exactly what you should wear to the event and when you need to leave by in order to arrive on time.
By having someone in your corner who can help you focus on one task at a time (instead of the vast number of little tasks that make up a speaking engagement), you will be actively working toward minimizing your personal stress levels.
I always keep a bag ready with a table poster, my business cards, and several books (if yours are ebooks then you might think of having some ebook QR Code bookmarks made up to showcase your writing efforts – again, get a friend to help you put those together if you don’t have them yet). I always leave these on the back seat of my car (the trunk gets too wild for the poster to survive 😉 ) so that I never forget them.
The biggest thing to overcome here is the idea that you have to do this alone – you don’t. If a friend can’t help, then stop by a local writers group meeting or consider hiring a personal assistant if it’s in your budget (I do “writerly/administrative” things for my writing friends all the time – sometimes they pay me a bit, sometimes not).
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Your advice is SPOT ON – and very encouraging. Are you sure you’re not an ADD Coach disguised as a writer/editor/publisher? Nice blueprint you’ve offered here. This needs to be a blog post!
We have similar university backgrounds, btw: Theatre major, English minor. To support myself as I finished I worked in a small, in-house advertising firm followed by a medium-sized firm in their PR department, dreaming up ways to publicize our clients’ efforts and writing releases for trade pubs. I enjoyed it and was good at it, but I was all too aware of how tough it was for women to advance at that time, and the siren song of the stage always beckoned.
After landing an actor-in-residence/TA assistantship for grad school – with a smattering of directing and writing thrown in for good measure. Loved the environment/hated university politics, which I knew would do me IN should I attempt a career as an academic. I moved to NY and spent several decades as an actor before the diagnosis that changed my trajectory.
I really miss having a director to set rehearsal schedules, a stage manager to count down the time to curtain, a costumer to make the decisions of what to where when, someone to make sure the props are ready, etc. – those important members of the team that handle all those details that have often tripped me up since. When I say (often), “Admin’s not my thing,” that’s the understatement of the century. 🙂
Thanks for the considerable attention to your supportive response. THANKS!
You’re most welcome, Madelyn 🙂
My time in theatre was for Production, so I would have been your SM (or any number of other positions behind the scenes). I have a knack for organization at all levels and see life as a challenge rather than a roadblock 😉 This has helped me in all facets of my career – and I totally know what you mean about the politics of teaching! That’s why I’m writing and editing full time now.
Perhaps I’ll take your advice and write up a post to touch on the flip-side of the issue as we’ve discussed.
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Well! I suppose I must follow you then, so I know when it posts!
Although I am extremely organized in my head and/or on paper, bringing it into “reality” is r-e-a-l-l-y not my strength. I would have made a terrible SM! I could have designed the sets, but had I been in charge of production we would have been in deep s**t – not sure I could even have built a decent model!
I used to be surprised every time a challenge became a roadblock – only after a late-life diagnosis (38) did it begin to make sense that if I wanted to succeed I had to do things differently (working from strengths & avoiding “weaknesses” where possible).
Thanks again for your wonderful response. I look forward to your article on handling pragmatics.