June 21, 2021– I hope that everyone had a nice weekend, and as we slip back into our theme of Author Mindset this month, I trust that you’re getting and using valuable information from our posts!
To switch things up a bit, I decided that we should dip into our reader questions that have been sent to me over the years. Here’s a perfect one that goes with everything that we’ve been talking about!
I’m a new author who self-published a children’s book. I’ve got a couple of book signings lined up, and I’m not going to lie, I’m scared to death about interacting with the public. I thought that I would write my book and that the hard part would be over. I’m learning quickly that I have to do the sales part too. I’m an accountant, so I keep to myself in my job, but that seems impossible if I want to sell my book. Can you give me any tips on how to be more courageous when doing my signing?
I love this question for two reasons: 1) Because many authors struggle with this 2) Because it’s an easy fix.
There are three tips on how authors can be more courageous during interactions with the public and their readers!
Employ your Alter Ego. I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it! Using your alter ego (or who you want to be) can work wonders for your confidence. I do this all the time, and when I step into a meeting for venture capital or work with a new client, I imagine myself as my alter ego. What would they do? How would they act? How would they speak? How would they dress? How would they look at the situation? What solutions would they come up with. If you picture yourself as one of your heroes or someone you admire or aspire to be, it can take the pressure off. Think of yourself as an actor; you’re playing the role of a confident, well-spoken author who loves being in the spotlight.
Be ridiculous. This is really fun, and it works for me when I’m shaking in my designer boots and have to do a speaking engagement in front of people, whether it be a sales presentation, class, or book signing; I imagine the worst-case scenario: What if while I’m speaking I slip and fall and I grab onto the book table, a mountain of books fall on me, I can’t get up, and the building catches fire all while splitting my pants open and spilling my coffee? I think of the visual, and I can’t help but smile and relax because the picture I just painted is ridiculous. When you use this strategy, you inject humour into the situation, and before you know it, you’ll be smiling. Plus, none of the scenarios you reviewed are probable, so if that’s the worst-case scenario, anything better than that is fabulous.
Ensure-ance. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We’ve all heard that dozens of times, and it still rings true. The best thing you can do to boost your confidence as an author is to ensure that you’re prepared! Prepare what you’re going to say, prepare your table, prepare your handouts, prepare what you’ll wear and so on. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when you don’t have to worry about trivial things that can steal your focus.
Remember, people celebrate authors, literacy, and books, so never be afraid that you’re won’t be well received. Make a connection with your readers, have fun, and relax. View the bigger picture! How lucky are you to be able to share your work with the world?
January 21, 2019– Being an author is fun! Book signings and launch parties, and seeing your book on the shelf in the bookstore are definite perks of the job, but there’s a certain type of person who shouldn’t be an author. I’m not saying there are people who can’t be authors, I’m saying that there are people who shouldn’t be authors. Ready to find out who those people are? Here we go! You shouldn’t be an author if:
You aren’t willing to physically work hard. Know what’s funny? That most people think that being an author is easy and that the hardest part is writing the book. Well, I’m here to smash that misconception into a million shiny pieces and tell you the truth. The truth is, being an author is hard. It’s physically and mentally demanding and if you don’t believe me, follow me around during the day of a book signing or launch. Who sets up the table? Who plans the display? Who brings the books? Who gets the dates and locations sorted? Who orders the inventory? Who makes sure that the signage and marketing are on point and convey a purposeful message? Who advertises the event? Who invites everyone they know? Who does the social media promotion? Who stands there for hours in the middle of a store promoting their book while the general public ignores them or pretends not to see them? Who takes a gamble on events and drags everything they own to said event just in the hopes that they’ll sell their books? WE DO. AUTHORS DO. No one does it for us, and we are directly responsible for our success. Oh, and if you’re thinking, yeah, but if you’re traditionally published your publisher does all of this for you. WRONG. The tides are turning and now, more than ever, authors are responsible for most of this stuff, if not all.
You hate and/or are scared of rejection. I’ve personally been rejected enough times that the rejection letters could easily wallpaper the side of my house. But did I give up? No. If you hate rejection, give up easily, are easily discouraged and allow people’s opinions to dictate your success or allow those opinions to force you to give up on yourself and your dreams, being an author isn’t for you. To be in this game, you have to welcome and get used to rejection, because every no, leads to a yes eventually.
You have a thin skin. You will be ridiculed, have people pick apart your work, have people tell you that they hated your book and that you’re a no talent hack, you’ll have people (my extended family) unfollow you on social media because they say you post too much, you’ll get hate mail, you’ll have people say that you should move on to something different, you’ll be reviewed online with less than stellar reviews, you’ll take complaints, and you’ll be absolutely hung by your ankles by people who attended your speaking engagement and said the best part about your speech was your shoes. Yes. This is just a piece of what I’ve experienced as an author. And this isn’t even the worst part. As an author in the public eye, you’re subjecting yourself to all of this and more. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But, you have a choice to either take what these people say, believe it and get out of the game forever, or you can keep going, keep improving, and keep living life on your terms. Let’s face it, the only people who are going to discourage you from living your dream, are the people who gave up on theirs.
You lack discipline. You’re late, or you miss deadlines, or you aren’t writing every single day of your life, or aren’t willing to do late nights and early mornings, being an author is something you should seriously reconsider. Authors, I would like to think, are some of the most disciplined people on the planet. We do the things we have to do before doing the things that we want to do. Would I rather be outside or poolside, or on vacation, or reading a book instead of writing one? Sure, but there are things that need to be done before any of the other things can take place. A quote that I have hanging on the wall above my desk reads, “You will not always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.” This keeps me in check and reminds me that even though I don’t feel like writing, editing, working, running my business today, or whatever it may be, that I’m going to anyway no matter how I feel.
You are horribly shy and/or unwilling to interact with the public. People don’t buy your book, they buy you. Your success is hugely influenced by the way that you interact with the public. If you’re at a book signing and you think that you’re going to sit in the chair behind the table with a stack of books, with hands folded in front of you, waiting patiently for people to line up to see you, you’ve got another thing coming. YOU ARE NOT STEPHEN KING AND NO ONE IS HERE TO SEE YOU. Read that again and if you’re offended by that, send me some hate mail, or re-read number 3 on this list and get over yourself. You have to hustle, you have to interact, and you genuinely have to be interested in your readers. You have to get out there, approach them, and tell them about yourself and your work. If you’re not willing to do this, find another career because you’ll never cut it.
Are you one of the people who shouldn’t be an author? I hope not, but if so, remember that it’s never too late to change. X LLB
August 10, 2018- What is your definition of being a successful author? This is the question that I ALWAYS ask the authors that I work with; whether self-published or traditional, it’s important to be able to answer this!
You are the only one who can define success and everyone’s definition and idea of success is different. Here are some answers I’ve received over the years after posing the question:
If I sell $1 million dollars worth of books
If kids read my book in their school
If I have a huge house, and an in-ground pool, and a convertible
If people line up to see me at book signings
If I become famous around the world
If someone tells me I’m their favourite author
If my book helps one person
If a celebrity reads my book and gives me a shout out on social media
If I’m a bestseller on the NY Times list
If I get a tv interview
If my book gets turned into a movie
So, as you can see, there are a lot of DIFFERENT versions of success and it’s all dependent on how you choose to define it! Write down your version of success and start working towards that goal. There are no wrong answers! Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Here’s to your success, whatever that may be.
May 1, 2018- Alright friends, here is the May schedule of book signings and upcoming events! I hope to see you out and about because I love meeting old and new friends!
May 3, 2018– I have the privilege of speaking to a fantastic group of women about the Business of Writing and Memoirs at the Westover Women’s Institute. I can’t wait to share some ideas and chat with some fabulous ladies!
May 4, 2018– I will be the guest author at a school in Hamilton where I will be sharing all of our picture book titles, Panda the Very Bad Cat, Phillip Star, and Deer Diary with the students. These visits are as much fun for me as they hopefully are for the students.
May 12, 2018– Author L.L. Colling will be signing copies of her newest thriller, Obsessed with Her at Indigo Erin Mills from 12:00-3:00; Stop by to say hello and get your copy signed!
May 19, 2018– Obsessed with Her book signing event. Meet the author, L.L. Colling at Indigo Burlington from 12:00-3:00!
May 26, 2018-L.L. Colling continues her tour of Obsessed with Her and will be stopping by Coles in Welland. You’ll be able to get your very own copy signed and chat with the author.
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