The lure of social media is powerful, particularly for artists, authors and other creative types who’d rather produce than promote.
Technology has made it possible to talk, influence, monitor and interact without leaving the comfort (and security) of your cozy home office. How efficient.
Here’s what’s missing: eye contact, handshakes (including an occasional high five or fist bump), body language, plus the opportunity to explain your work face to face, with the genuine passion that forges bonds far stronger than those generated by a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter.
Take authors. Sophisticated tools have made it simple for anyone to publish. Of course writers have taken note. Industry analyst Bowker says the number of self-published books in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 2006.
But the good news is the same as the bad. Anyone can publish; everyone is!
The marketplace is depressingly cluttered. Without a high-powered PR staff, you are one of thousands of voices appealing to average folks who are already stressed dealing with the kids, the job, and the rest. Their discretionary leisure time – that fraction of the day they devote to themselves – is maybe 5 percent. Now think about how many entertainment options are competing for that tiny percentage.
Give up? Not at all. But be smart. Don’t think that social media alone is the answer. Three or four apps should be part of your messaging arsenal, but they’re not enough.
Here are four tactics that will help when you get face to face.
1 – Pitch it. You’re up against information overload and shrinking attention spans. Make your pitch fast and compelling. Deliver it every time with enthusiasm. And it doesn’t hurt to smile.
2 – Book it. Make it known that if a book club within 20 miles selects your novel, you’ll come out on discussion night and do 45 minutes of Q & A.
3 – Read it. Let senior centers, libraries, schools and anyplace else that attracts a crowd know you’re available for readings. The more you do, the better you’ll get. And remember to look up and make eye contact when you’re speaking!
4 – Conference it. Book fairs, trade shows and writers’ conferences are great places to hone your interpersonal skills. Plunk down a few bucks for a booth and get to work. If possible, bring a friend to observe and give you feedback.
And five, be on the lookout for opportunities close to home. For example, in our neighborhood and in communities across the country, “Little Free Libraries” have begun springing up. The concept is simple: take a book, return a book. The operation is typically run by a friendly, literary type on the block who’s taken the initiative to place a branded “box” (see littlefreelibrary.org) on the front lawn.
You’re not going to sell a lot appealing to such a crowd, but you will meet book-loving neighbors who just might want to get behind a local author, and who are clearly fed up with all that soulless interaction on the Web. It’s also worth remembering that local support is the jet fuel behind most national campaigns.
Read more posts by Steve Piacente, a former print journalist and correspondent.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicity Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book marketing strategies to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major top city radio talk shows that broadcast to the heart of the market, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers.