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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Blog tours and public speaking

 cj Sez: One way to start blog marketing is to go on a blog tour as the guest of as many bloggers as are willing to host you. You write a post or answer some questions, plug your book, respond to readers, and you’re off to the next blog site. 

  It takes a bit of time to set up a schedule and some internet contacts to get a blog tour going, but reclusive authors usually like this kind of marketing. The neat thing is, with the right internet contact, you can reach an international audience.

  After virtual exposures, come personal appearancesAuthors need to connect with their readers. Actually, they must connect with their readers. That means authors do book signings and book readings at libraries and bookstores. For some authors there may be media—TV/press/radio—interviews. All of those tasks require (gasp) public speaking.

  Even if a personal media interview is out of the picture, be sure to issue a press release when the book is launched. It might just get published in your local paper.

  For me, and some other authors I know, the prospect of public speaking is a bit scary. A writer’s normal milieu as we create our stories is solitude in front of a computer or with pen pressed to paper. Writers are watchers . . . we observe the behaviors of other people and take copious notes for future story/character ideas. Being the watch-ee (in front of an audience) takes us completely out of our comfort zones.

  That’s where a formulaic but flexible “stump speech”* can offer a degree of confidence.
 Write the outline for a stump speech. Start with an anecdote, add a brief bio—mine included why I use a pen name and how I chose it. Follow up with something about where the idea for the story came from, the research involved, the characters, and then read a couple of short excerpts.

I print out the speech in large, bold, double-spaced type, and I practice it, a lot. That helps me with timing the length of my presentation and makes me familiar with the flow so I can wing some of it and actually make occasional eye contact with someone. The more often I speak, the easier it becomes.  (Yeah, right.)

 Other than participating in panels at conferences or speaking at a local writers’ organization, I’ve never had to speak at an out-of-town gathering. If that ever happens, I’ve read that it’s a good idea stop by the venue and get familiar with the layout. Another trick for newbie speakers is to attend someone else’s presentation if possible…that takes a lot of the mystery out of the event.
Caveat for public speaking: It’s important to really know your work, because the audience Q&A will bring some surprising questions—always.
  A few years ago, TV investigative reporter and fellow Sisters-in-Crime/Guppy author Hank Phillippi Ryan (USAToday bestselling author of 13 thrillers) came up with seven quick steps for dealing with the scary thought of having to speak in public (and she’s so good at it, public speaking seems second nature to her):

1.      Research your audience
2.      Plan
3.      Practice
4.      Know your stuff!
5.      DON’T worry.
6.      Get big.
7.      Love it and embrace it. 

Now if only I could get steps 5-7 down pat.  
* “Stump” is another word for “campaign” —like politicians do when they’re trolling for votes; authors are trolling for sales.

  Re that other important marketing consideration, to newsletter or not to newsletter? I tried that once. It was like pulling hens’ teeth to get regular subscribers (or subscribers who weren’t authors trying to help me out). Will I try to start another one? I’m still thinking.


Etcetera and P.S.A.
  A follow-up on my post about setting do-able goals (from a Jane Friedman blog) . . .

 YES YOU CAN honor Betty White's 100th birthday ON JANUARY 17. Your local rescue group, ASPCA, or my favorite: GOOD FORTUNE FARM REFUGE.

  Every dollar goes a long way for homeless animals. Food, de-wormer, a warm blanket, a vet visit. Easy-Peasy to help those who help the helpless, and you can do it from the comfort of your home.

  Think about it and mark the date on your calendar, please?

  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 


P.S.  The Haunted Bookshop has signed copies of my stories in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:

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  1. I don't have the amount of stage fright for public speaking that I do for solo performances on the violin. THOSE are scary--for me. Good post.

  2. cj Sez: I doubt I could walk on stage thinking I could perform on a musical instrument, unless it was a snare drum and the nervous jiggling of my hands would make the drum sticks work. That's an awesome feat, Kaye. Thanks for stopping by.


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