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They Buy You First

July 7, 2021– We’re a week into our theme this month, all about Public Speaking for Authors! I love this topic not only because of its importance but also because of how practical it is. When it comes down to brass tacks, authors need to employ many different methods to get themselves and their work in front of their readers. Our biggest problem as authors is obscurity; if people don’t know who we are or what we’ve written, how can they possibly buy our books? Here’s the thing, people buy YOU first, then they buy your books. There’s no understating the importance of connecting with your audience, and that’s why today, we’re going to talk about in-store book signings.

You may not think that an in-store book signing has anything to do with public speaking, but you couldn’t be more off base! They go hand in hand. Every single time you’re in front of the public promoting your book in any way, shape, or form, you’re practicing the art of public speaking. Yes, you can be speaking to one person at a time or a group of people, but it’s all fish from the same kettle.

Here are three tips to help you connect with your audience at your book signing:

  1. Be authentic. There’s nothing worse than watching someone be who they’re not. Authenticity is the key to every area of our lives, and folks can see right through people who try to fake things. Don’t try to be what you think people want you to be. Be who you are, embrace your wonderful/unique qualities, and let your light shine. When at your signing, tell people what you love most about being an author, tell them what the hardest part is, tell them the challenges and triumphs you’ve overcome in your writing life. Be real.
  2. Tell your story. People love to know why you do what you do and how you got there. They like to feel like insiders with insider information. They want to know why you wrote your book and if it’s based on anyone in your real life. The more that you can give them, the more special they feel. Talk to them about what got you started as an author, which characters you connect with in your book, and what you’re working on next. EVERYTHING is about relationship building, and public speaking is a great way to do that, no matter the size of the audience.
  3. It’s all about energy. There’s a particular person who works at the Starbucks that I go to, and I only frequent that location because they’re there. Their attitude is unmatched, they love what they do, and it shows, and they are so upbeat and enthusiastic that I can’t help but feel the same way after they give me my coffee. Their happiness and energy are contagious. When you’re at your book signing, remember that people can feel your energy even before you open your mouth to speak. They can see your demeanour, they can tell if you’re in a bad mood, and they notice if you’re less than excited about being there. How would you feel if you walked into a bookstore and saw that the author was there sitting behind a table and not even lifting their head to acknowledge you because they were on their phone or reading a book to pass the time? (Yes, this is a real example, and I’ve seen it a hundred times). You would think, “What the heck are they doing here?” “Why are they wasting their time?” “Is that an employee?”  We all have crappy days, and some are worse than others, but it’s important to remember that you’re an author, and you get the opportunity to speak to people about your passion! You’ve got the best job in the world, and you’ve created something out of thin air and turned it into physical form. That sounds like magic to me!

The point is that people buy YOU first, and then they buy your book; make a connection and, quite possibly, some new friends!

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New Theme of the Month!

July 5, 2021– What is it that most people fear more than death? Public speaking. Yep, that’s right! People are more afraid of speaking in public than they are dying, which boggles my mind. This month, we’ll be focusing on Public Speaking for Authors; I encourage you to download the Podbean App so that you can listen to our Pandamonium Publishing House podcast. It’s always free, and there’s a lot of additional, helpful content that compliments our written posts. Here’s the link: https://www.podbean.com/pu/pbblog-idwit-460248

Public speaking is a big part of author life, and you must get over your fear of it. School visits, book signings, public Q&A, media interviews, and public events can send most authors into a bumbling, grumbling mess. Don’t fret; I’m here to help! I’ve had the privilege of speaking in public on many occasions for many different things such as book marketing, book presentations, transitioning from writer to author etc. I really love public speaking because it allows me to connect intimately with the audience and experience in-depth questions to help writers with what they want to know.

Here are two quick tips you can use to be more confident in any speaking situation  (we’ll dive in to specific speaking engagement situations and tips this month, but for today,  we want to get your feet wet) :

  1. Stand up straight. Posture is important. Nothing gives away someone’s confidence quite like posture; it’s something that you can’t fake and that everyone notices. Pretend a string connects the tip of your nose to your belly button-keep the imaginary string taught, and you’ll have perfect posture every time.
  2. Make eye contact. I’ll never forget a teacher I had in high school who would stare at the back of the room while he was lecturing and NEVER made eye contact with us, even when he called on us to answer a question. It was bizarre and uncomfortable for everyone (even though he was a heck of a teacher). Now I realize why he did this; he was afraid of speaking to us, afraid of being on display in front of his students, and was nervous about public speaking even though we saw him every fourth period. He did this with ALL of his classes, not just ours. It’s how he got through the nerves. I don’t recommend this as a public speaking author because of the lack of connection it gives your audience and the distraction factor (students would often turn around to see if they could find what he was looking at). You don’t have to focus on one person (that’s just as weird), but ensure that you’re engaging in eye contact with multiple people in the audience that you’re speaking to.  This simple gesture lets everyone know that you’re tuned in and confident. * Pro Tip: When I first started public speaking, I would focus on people’s necklaces, ties, collars of their shirts etc. I was far enough away from them that they couldn’t tell that I wasn’t looking at them:) It helped me get over the fear of making direct eye contact with my audience until I was completely comfortable doing so.

I hope you enjoy the theme this month as we dive in to specifics of public speaking;  stay tuned for practical tips, tricks, and ideas to make you a confident, well-spoken author.