Author Platform Building with a Speech & Book Signing

Good morning Daisy Friends,

Today, just wanted to let you know about the work beyond the work of writing a novel.  Perhaps I’ve mentioned some of this before, but as we get closer to launch of Faith on the Rocks, I have needed to focus more on building what’s called an “author platform,” or what I think of as the ol’ high school popularity contest.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think marketing oneself is an important part of every working person’s skill set.  In today’s world of job-jumping to the top, a strong personal presence in the minds of those in your industry is important.  We do this with updated resumes, personal contacts, and yes, even Facebook friendships.  Social Media is as much about business as about sharing our favorite recipes.

As a writer, this platform building includes developing a recognition among readers of all kinds.  I find myself trying to talk with total strangers wherever I go.  I produced business cards and a mini-brochure that fit easily into my purse, because you never know… This is not a natural thing for someone who would rather be home reading or writing, but writers need to add social skills to their repertoire if their books are going to sell.

One of the ways to build this platform is by setting up book signings.  Book signings are no longer arranged by publishers and publicists.  Gone are the days when book tours were part of the budget for launches (I think too, publishers probably found out that most of us authors are less impressive in person than our words on paper may make us seem).  Today, authors set these things up in brick-and-mortar bookstores–or other places that may carry our work, by ourselves.  No free travel perks as part of the job anymore.  Darn!

Luckily for me, I have a couple of local places that are being generous with their floor space and will have me in to do book signings:

  • Who Else! Books – is a small place on Broadway in Denver run by a terrific couple, Nina and Ron.  Who Else! is part of the Broadway Book Mall, and they will be hosting my very first book signing on Saturday, July 13th.  I’ll be there with Mike Befeler of the Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit Mystery Series. What a thrill for me!
  • Natural Surroundings Three Chimney’s is a gift store where I shop for unusual and pretty items for friends and family. Right at the intersection of Santa Fe and Bowles (the main entry to old town Littleton), this place is like a big Welcome Home sign for anyone entering Littleton from the west. Owner Terri is an enthusiastic reader and will carry my book when it comes out.  She’s also talking with me about a book signing later in the summer or early fall.
  • I have one or two other “leads,” but want to let you know about them as something more solid happens.  If any of you are in the Detroit area, and know of a place that might be interested (book clubs, libraries,or pet stores) please let me know.  I’d love to kick-off something in my home-town area. I’ll be visiting over the Fourth of July holiday, and my book will be officially launched by then.

And on to the next adventure …

I have started working in earnest on a speech I’ll be giving to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers members on June 8th.  I don’t have location or time details, but when that is set, I’ll post the information on this site.  The topic is on Writing More in Less Time, and will address the idea that most of us need to squeeze our writing in between raising kids, caring for elderly relatives, jobs, and other obligations.  In order to produce a novel in something under 100 years, we need to be organized, enthusiastic, confident and … what was it?  Oh yeah, CREATIVE!

I’m looking forward to the adventure both with excitement and trepidation.  Who am I to talk about organization?  My sisters all have me beat there.  And producing more?  I know several people who write massive amounts of words, even before their first books are accepted.  And public speaking?  Did you know most people fear death less than they do public speaking?  Luckily for me, I’m not one of them.  But I’m no Jay Leno or President Obama.

So, I’ve fleshed out my outline, and think the topic is good.  I’m harvesting quotes and anecdotes galore. I’m dreaming up little exercises that will keep people engaged.  Now I just need to mash them all together, brew the stuff in my brain, and hope the cake that comes out isn’t a flop. Eek!

Are you into public speaking?  Are you a Toastmasters champion?  If you want to send me your tips, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Who knew there was so much more to authoring than just writing a book?  Building an author platform is exciting and time-consuming.  Hopefully, this blog, the signings, the public speaking, and the business cards will pay off.  Fingers crossed.

Side note: It is snowing, yes snowing! in Littleton this morning.  Just the kind of day that’s great for cuddling up with a good book.

Happy reading day to you.