I’ve always been a little bit of a ham. Take a look at this picture from the recent LDStorymaker Writers Conference.
This is me as the Pretty Pink Present Pixie. Our theme was “The Magic of Writing,” and I was in charge of door prizes. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
I love going out to do book signings. I love giving firesides and speaking to book clubs, appearing at libraries and festivals – you name it, I love to do it. And, as a published author, it’s expected that you get out there and meet the public. However, how you do it can be as individual as you are.
Some of us love to put on wings and prance around. Okay, I’ve never done that at a book signing, but I still have the wings and it’s not totally out of the question. But some of us feel more reticent about “being on display.” Here are some suggestions:
1. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your own book, take another author with you and then talk about their book. They’ll in turn talk about yours. It’s so much easier to gush over someone else’s book, isn’t it? Some of my most successful sales have come from the traveling I do with Candace Salima and Shirley Bahlmann. We talk each other up, we share what we enjoyed about each other’s books, and we feel comfortable doing it because it’s not our own book we’re gushing over. (Okay, so I do gush over my own books as well. We’ve already established I’m a ham.)
2. If you feel uncomfortable approaching people, you can make them come to you with a cute table display. Kerry Blair has to be the queen of this – when “Mummy’s the Word” came out, she even had a stuffed crow on her table. I went to Michele Paige Holmes’ booksigning just this last Saturday, and she had created a darling display with star-shaped magnets on a metal board. If you picked the right star, you won a free book. If you didn’t win the book, you still got a candy bar. (Hold on! My candy bar is still in my purse. I’m gonna go get it. Yum!) She took a quote about the candy bar from the book and tied it to the candy, so even if you didn’t win the book, you still took home a snippet from the book. How clever is that? She even had a table cloth with stars on it, made by running a seam around some fabric. Her book is called “Counting Stars,” and she carried the theme through in everything she did. “I’m comfortable with the homemaking approach,” she told me. Well, it was cute and eye-catching, so I say it worked.
3. What if you just don’t like interacting with the public at all? You are going to have to get over that, you know. You can’t stay in your house forever. Okay, I guess you could, but then they’d do a TV show about you. But with the way the Internet is taking over the world, you could do a whole lot of promoting online. You can set up a website, you can start a blog (although only nerds blog – oh, wait . . . ) you can advertise in online magazines – there are so many things you can do from your own home that don’t require public interaction. You can’t escape it forever, but you can get your name out there.
So, do you have to be willing to wear costumes? No, that’s just me. But there is a way for you to tap into your own comfort zone and get out there and have some fun. That’s the main thing about interacting with the public – you have to have fun. If they feel like you’re there only because your dentist didn’t have any openings for root canals, they won’t be interested in talking with you. And it’s talking with you that makes them want to buy your book.