Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On the Air
This reminds me of M*A*S*H :-)
Part of writing is promoting, especially if you’ve written a book. If you’re famous and/or have tested market appeal, this job -- or a part of it -- is often done for you, so I’m told, by other stakeholders. Publishers. Agents. Talk show hosts.

But if you’re a newbie, an independent author or, heaven help you, both, the bulk of the promotional responsibilities rests on your shoulders. 

The truth is, these can be kind of fun. If you’re the sort of author who enjoys being on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest (to name a few), promotion can flow naturally from day-to-day interactions. Since I am that kind of author, that’s the kind of promotion that comes most naturally to me. 

Another reason I like these avenues is that I don’t feel as pushy when I “promote” there. People have a choice to follow me or not follow me, and those who choose to follow are often as excited by the news I am posting as I am. And if they’re not, the beauty of social media is that readers have the option to scroll right past your tweet or post if it doesn’t interest them. 

Still, as the author/promoter, I have a responsibility to mix it up and include other, fun non-book posts on my page. I’ve stopped following people whose posts and tweets were a steady stream of “buy my book, buy my book, here’s my book, ain’t it grand, buy my book.” And you know what? If that’s what my posts look like, I expect people to do the same. It’s not that hard to find something pithy or downright hilarious on Facebook, or to find an article that inspires thought or action on Twitter. Those kinds of posts give readers insight into an author’s mind and interests, which, I’m told, is part of what readers who like an author’s page want to read about.
Tomorrow I’m embarking on a new promotional adventure. It’s a giant step away from the sit-in-my-office-in-my-pjs social media approach, but still a bit of a baby step given my background in education and theatre. Tomorrow, I’m going to be a guest on a radio show. A radio show that starts about an hour before I’m human on a regular day, and that’s broadcast from a station about half an hour from my home. There’s no delete button, no cut and paste. I have to say things right (and intelligently) the first time. My daughter tells me to beware of “um” and “like” and their distracting cousins. Good advice, but one more thing to worry about. 

I sought this out. I thought it would be cool, and I still think that. I underestimated, however, how nervous it would make me.

The email confirmation I received was lovely, warm and calming, and I know from past experience doing theatre and presentations that once I start talking, the nerves will fade away. But the apprehension between now and then is overwhelming. In theatre, I have a script. In presentations, I have notes and/or visual aids. 

So today, I need to go about finalizing those tools so that if/when I make it through step 1 (get up on time), step 2 (get out of the house on time and without alienating my family in the process) and step 3 (make it to the radio station on time), I will be ready.

I will be ready. And this time tomorrow, I’ll be able to add “radio appearance” to the list of things writing a book nudged me to accomplish.

Art by Bruce Van Patter

If you want to listen to my first ever radio “event,” tune into WJTL, 90.3FM between 7 & 8 AM tomorrow morning. But don’t say I didn’t warn you that I’ve never done this before. :-) 

Word Count Wednesday: 5836

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