The most difficult part of writing, at least for me, isn’t the writing. It’s the promotion. Where do I go? What do I do? I was an extremely shy child who evolved into a fairly outgoing adult. I’ve tried to use the changes in myself and sometimes I probably come across as a bit eccentric. That’s okay, because I like that word.
When we’re out selling our books, we have to sell ourselves, too – not always the easiest thing to do. A reader will be much more likely to buy our books if they like us. That can be a little tricky, but it can be done, especially if we’re just ourselves. No putting on an act.
How do you sell yourself? For one thing, if you’re doing a book signing, don’t sit behind the table and wait for people to come to you. Stand up, smile even if it hurts, and look people right in the eye. Say, “Hi.” Easy to say, but many people will immediately turn away. They don’t always want someone to look them in the eye. If you’re shy, this makes it doubly difficult. It might make you feel like you’ve been rejected, but it’s all part of the process. Grin and bear it, and smile at the next person. Eventually it does become easier. Trust me on this one.
I’ve talked about doing presentations on another blog site. It’s time to talk about them again. If you’re not comfortable with public speaking, pretend you’re talking to your best friend. Public speaking was very difficult for me at first. Then it dawned on me that for the most part the people in the audience were just like me. They’d rather be anywhere except in my shoes. I found they can be very forgiving if you stumble over a word or make a mistake. If you need to, go ahead and correct yourself. Make a joke out of your mistake.
I remember one presentation in particular, at a library. I had a small carryall with wheels that I used to transport my books. I lifted it out of the car and a wheel fell off. The librarian brought me a library cart to use. I walked inside the room for the presentation, and half the audience was already there. I still needed to set things up, which included climbing up a few steps. I tripped and fell on the steps.
I turned around to the audience and the lens fell out of my sunglasses, which I hadn’t taken off yet. I started to laugh at my own misfortune, and the audience laughed with me, instead of at me.
More people filed in and since we were all laughing, it set them at ease.
We finally got to the presentation. The librarian had set me up with a podium. Unfortunately, there was a trash can sitting next to it. Since the audience couldn’t see behind the podium, I lifted my leg and rested my foot on a lower shelf. I talk louder and more comfortably if I can move around. It was time to talk and walk at the same time. I lowered my foot and stepped into the trash can, dragging it across the stage with me.
A few other things happened, but we’ll let those go for now. It was a memorable presentation and I actually sold several books. To this day I don’t know if it was pity or the fact that I said my books were even funnier than me that caused sales.
Laugh at yourself and others will relax and laugh with you. And it will give them a good story to tell when they’re at home again.
Here’s another tip. If you’re doing a radio or Internet interview via phone, don’t do it in your pajamas or with bed hair. Put on something fresh and comb your hair. Stand up and stand straight while you talk, rather than sitting. It actually comes through in your voice.
Make the most of every situation. Just be you (unless you’re a cranky person who doesn’t want to promote).
Until next time, if you do something goofy this week, laugh at yourself and others will laugh with you. If they don’t, then it’s their problem.
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Don’t forget that What Are the Odds? – A Sandi Webster Mystery is available in both ebook and paperback formats, and just waiting for you.