Ah, there is so much potential with creating a writer and illustrator’s platform that we’ve got several more posts to dedicate to it. Last post we discussed how your website is one way to work on your “platform.” (Refresher: a platform is a form of author branding. It means how/where/when you present yourself to the public, and how you are viewed by readers, agents, editors, fellow writers or illustrators, and anyone else paying attention. It’s a way of showing your unique qualities that “brand” you as a person, as writer or artist.)
This month we are going to look at author (or illustrator) visits. The same basic ideas also apply to any variation of book signings and other public forums where you present about your book.
With apologies to illustrators, for simplicity’s sake I am going to refer to them as author visits. But please know I am talking to you, too, I just don’t feel like typing “author or illustrator visits” every time.
When you create your author visit presentation, keep in mind that how it’s presented will be remembered far longer than what was presented. The bottom line is you want people to leave with a happy impression of you and your work, even if they forget very word you said. A year from now, when your next book is out, you want them to noodle back, thinking “Oh, yeah, I remember. I like her.”
When I wrote my syndicated column about using the computer with your family, I encouraged parents to let toddlers play around with laptops or pcs instead of yelling NO! and ripping the device out of their sticky little hands (this was before today’s bulletproof, water- and kid-proof devices). It’s not because I was encouraging babies to learn how to program apps or design their own website. It was because I wanted to create a positive relationship between the child and the device. Parents were afraid of the child deleting files or ruining programs or what have you, when the kid just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
In a similar way, I don’t expect parents or kids to memorize your book after they see/hear you reading it at a library or bookstore. They probably won’t remember the title, or they’ll remember the title but not the topic. What I want them to walk away with is THEY LIKED IT. They like you. Positive association.
Being remembered might sell another book. But more importantly, it will open more doors for more potential future sales. One visit can turn into five more, which will turn into five or ten more, etc. Just like Tupperware parties! The Tupperware agent is there to sell Tupperware, sure. But she’s really there to book more Tupperware parties where a whole new set of potential customers will be ripe for the taking!
You want to stand out in the minds of not only the people in attendance, but the people who booked you. They’re going to be booking more at some point, right? Treat whoever is in charge of scheduling with utmost respect; they are the ones that will be telling their thinking-about-booking-you friends what it’s like to work with you.
The next time a teacher asks her teacher friends for ideas on who to invite to Author Night, I want your name to jump to their lips. The next time a library hosts a book signing, I want your name at the top of the list. When a Girl Scout leader needs someone to help their girls earn a new patch, I want you there (uniform optional).
Dress in costume, toss out candy, sing a song, have some fun! Leave people with a bounce in their step and a smile in their hearts.
NOTE: Bitsy will be speaking and presenting marketing workshops at the RMC SCBWI "Letters and Lines" writer's conference in Denver, CO next weekend (Sept 28-29, 2013). Come say hi!
Bitsy Kemper is author of six picture books and one YA nonfiction, her own website, three Facebook pages and two Twitter accounts. You may have seen Bitsy on CNN, heard her on national radio, noticed her quoted in anything from Parenting Magazine to Writing Children's Books For Dummies, or seen her work in countless newspapers, radio and TV stations across the U.S. Maybe you drove past her on the freeway and didn't even know it... Busy with three kids (four if you count her husband), she finds time to present at writer conferences and author visits from L.A. to N.Y. Wander over to www.BitsyKemper.com or follow her on Twitter (under, understandably, BitsyKemper).
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