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Go Out on a Limb–The Fruit is There!

Go Out on a Limb–The Fruit is There!
 

You love to write or you wouldn’t be a writer!  Writers write!  But do you love to stand up and speak?  Many writers are happy enough to be in their cozy environs huddled up with a pen and paper, ipad or laptop; don’t bother them with the “events” where they have to say anything!  Sound about right?  Our “comfort” zones weren’t named that without reason!  But in today’s publishing world, unfortunately, it is an advantage to be able to communicate in person about the novel you have written, or the stories and characters that come to life on the typed page.  Publishers take into consideration whether or not you have a following already; whether you will be an asset to publicizing your own book.  If you thought, as I did, that it was the publisher’s job to sell your book, you are only partially right.  Yes, they will print it, design its “home” by having a great cover (hopefully); but, they are counting on you to do a lot of your own promoting.  Being a writer in today’s world of publishing means a totally different thing than it used to years ago!

But, don’t let that scare you!  There are many ways to accomplish those things and various individuals and groups that will help you get there!  But, for now, let’s look at an easy way to begin an interview, or a presentation for a group, a radio station, a newspaper article or the “spur of the moment” question by your church, club or girls day out—anywhere you need to quickly tell someone (that’s what speaking is) about what you’ve written and why they need to buy it and read it!  This isn’t the only way to accomplish what you need, but it may get you to thinking about what you want communicated—and it will work for anything!

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1)      POINT—what is your point? Your goal? What do you want them to hear?  What is the key principle you want them to take home with them?

Think how you’d complete this sentence:  What I want to communicate is this:_________________________________________

Or think: what would a “reporter” convey about your message? “The speaker’s message today gave us hope that_____________ “ (Perhaps you have a few things, not just one that you’d like them to remember?)

 

2)      EXAMPLES—what do they need to know about your book? What is it about the characters, heroes, villains, that are unforgettable, appealing? Hook them in!

Think about what will “draw” your audience into your story? Will the need of those in the audience be identified in your characters?

For instance, “I hope you will be captivated by _________the main character—because:

 

3)      APPLICATION—who is your audience? (College age, young moms, grandmothers, women of all ages?) Why will your book be one that the audience will want to pick up?  Do you have a “moral of the story”

that meets a human weakness? Strength?   There are a great many terrific books by authors such as Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, Mary Alice Monroe….you are a veritable unknown (sorry!).

For instance, if your audience is young moms, volunteer to be a “special feature” speaker for a MOPS group and bring your books!  Complete this sentence:  You will be surprised/challenged/encouraged by:_________________________  (Why do they need your book on their bed stand or on their e-readers? How would a “book club” benefit from choosing your book for next month’s reading?

 

4)      REFERENCES– Consider your book’s audience:  What references do they respect, listen to, or would perhaps motivate a positive response? Give them some great lines from your book, or share some popular          statistics on the needs: alcohol, drugs, marriage, loneliness–if it pertains to what you’re writing about.  Who wrote the endorsements and what did they say?

 

Taking some time to ponder these four talking points will prepare you to communicate what you already know.  Whether it is an editor in an elevator at a writer’s conference that you want to make a “pitch” to, a friend’s curiosity about what you are writing, or an audience who has come to a book signing and wants to hear more, these steps will get you out on that limb where the juicy fruit lives!  Being able to concisely and interestingly tell someone about your book in a few wonderful sentences (and you are good at that!)  will pique their appetites for your written word!

 

  1. Jenny Carlisle06-14-11

    Great Advice Pamela. I was pondering each of these questions. I hope I can be ready when someone inquires- “What’s your book about?”

  2. Pamela Stephens06-14-11

    Thanks, Jenny–if we don’t know what we’re saying, how will they? 🙂 You will do well!

  3. Sheila Covey06-14-11

    Great post, Pamela! You really answered all the questions of “how-to” about promoting self floating around in my mind. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Pamela Stephens06-14-11

    Glad it worked out that way! 🙂 I appreciate you taking time to respond! I was part of a group that taught Christian leaders/writers and authors how to “communicate” their ideas…
    and have done quite a bit of speaking myself…for retreats! 🙂
    Thanks, Sheila!

  5. Debbie Archer06-14-11

    Pam, this is awesome! THIS format that you’ve worked out is a great way to work on our pitches for conference. I’ve really been dreading it. Not anymore! THANK YOU so much. Are you going? Hope so. 🙂

  6. Pamela Stephens06-14-11

    Thanks Debbie! So thrilled you saw the value! 🙂 You’ll do great! Have you gone to these before and pitched other books?
    Look forward to hearing how it goes for all of you! Unfortunately I will not be in attendance.

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