Writers tend to be an introverted bunch.
So when your publisher expects you to do readings and signings to help promote the book, your first reaction may be to blanch and feel a little woozy.
That’s completely normal! However, here’s why you shouldn’t be (too) afraid to put yourself out there.
1. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
More commonly used when referencing spiders or other creepy crawlies, but also kind of true here. Once you have the label of “author,” you’re automatically given an air of professionalism; you’re now seen as an expert in something. Even working in the industry, I still get nervous and stammer unnecessarily when I meet authors. I can just about guarantee that a good chunk of your audience will feel the same.
2. You’ve been published!
Someone—many someones, in fact—saw your work as worthwhile and invested a lot of time, energy, and money into your manuscript to turn it into a bona fide book. This fact alone should make you feel proud, and give you some confidence to get in front of a crowd.
3. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into this project.
Let’s not forget what you’ve put into this book. You’ve probably spent years writing, revising, and re-revising before your manuscript even landed on the desk of your publisher. Don’t let all that go to waste! Especially because . . .
4. You’re building a career.
If you want to build a name for yourself as a writer, you need to be in front of the public. There’s a commonlycited idea that people need to see a product at least seven times before they decide to buy. This means not only do they need to see your book on the shelf, but they need to see you. Besides, how do you think your book gets on the shelves? Yes, by being in the public eye and doing readings and signings. The more active you are, the more stores will happily carry your book.
5. You need to beat out the competition.
Harsh, but true. Bowker & Bowker, the folks in charge of ISBNs (International Standard Book Number, which books need to get into stores), report that in 2015, self-publishing alone accounted for 727,125 ISBNs used (this number is for print and ebooks; the same title with different formats need separate ISBNs, but even if all these were one title in two formats, that’s still about 363,500 books self-published in one year). And what about all those traditionally published books? According to one source, Bowker reported 300,000 traditionally published books in 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available. So what does this mean? Few bookstores have room for all those titles, let alone those titles plus all the backlist titles people buy on a regular basis. If you’re not getting out there in front of people and you’re not selling, why would bookstores keep your book on the shelf?
6. It’s not necessarily about you.
For all this is about business, don’t forget the reason you’re out there doing events—the people who’ve read and enjoyed your books. The people who come out to your readings and signings are there because you’ve touched them in some way, you’ve said something they can relate to, they love your story, they have a similar story of their own, they’re a writer looking to make a name for themselves; the reasons are as varied as the people. If you keep in mind that the people at your events are just that—people—readings suddenly become a whole lot easier.
7. It’s a lot of fun!
People come to your readings because they want to be there. And these events don’t have to be stuffy affairs—crack jokes, get to know your audience, bring in donuts, whatever you need to do to make the event fun for everyone involved. This is your event, and you can have a good time with it!
Have I convinced you yet? Author events don’t have to be frightening or overwhelming. With these seven points in mind, the next time your publisher asks you about a reading at your favorite indie bookstore, you’ll be able to smile, say “sure!”, buy a big ol’ bag of candy, and get ready to have a great time with some of your biggest fans.
Anne Rasset is the founder of and editor at Inkstand Editorial, LLC, which provides editing services to emerging and published writers of fiction and nonfiction. In her spare time, she can be found reading, playing with her two cats, or cross-country skiing with her partner in the Minnesota winters. You can find out more about her services on her website and follow her blog for book reviews and more tips for authors.
Tell us about your latest book?
Max's Diamonds is a decades-spanning novel about Paul Hartman, who grows up haunted by his cousin Max, an Auschwitz survivor, and Max's mysterious cache of diamonds. Max’s diamonds fund Paul's Harvard Law education and sparkle in his fiancée's engagement ring. When a stranger from Paul’s past confronts him with an impossible demand, one that could destroy his law career, his marriage and his sense of self, Paul must make choices that will change his fate forever. Max's Diamonds reached #9 on Amazon's Jewish Lit bestseller list and #48 on the World Literature bestseller list earlier this year. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and the Jewish Museum in New York both carry Max's Diamonds, as does the Cornell University bookstore. You can purchase the book from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and many local bookstores.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
My publisher, Chickadee Prince Books used traditional marketing methods, including submitting the book for early and excellent reviews. We did a book tour in California and book readings in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The launch reading, at the Corner Bookstore in NYC, had a packed house, with over twenty-five people standing in the street. We will soon be initiating web publicity.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
According to readers and reviewers, Max's Diamonds is a suspenseful page-turner that grapples with profound questions and is difficult to put down.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Every stage of writing and editing is absorbing and enjoyable. Marketing, on the other hand, is, at best, a necessary and time-consuming slog.
Who inspires you?
My late brother, Hy Greenfield who was willing to sacrifice his life for a cause greater than himself. And my cousin, Howard Sackler who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his play, “The Great White Hope.”
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I am more than halfway through my second novel, Almost Friends, focusing on the complex and often strained relations between well-meaning, but sometimes insensitive, Jews and sometimes resentful African-Americans during the middle of the twentieth century, particularly during 1964’s Freedom Summer. Almost Friends will be loosely based on my experiences working as a civil rights lawyer in the South.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
In the publishing world, there is a stigma associated with self-published books. Many reviewers will not review a self-published book, and marketing is far more challenging as a result.
Does your family support you in your writing career?
Yes! Yes! Yes! How? My wife of fifty-nine years, Judy Greenfield, is the love of my life and my partner in everything. Her singularly insightful and careful reading of my drafts made this a much better novel than I could have written without her. My children, Susan, Mark and Ben supported my career change from litigation partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison to full-time novelist. They were there for me with encouragement, advice and love whenever I needed it, which was often.
These are the common problems of young and experienced writers. Of course, experienced writers have already some expertise in overcoming such problems, while for young writers this may become the end of their career. We have decided to analyze how to write suspense fiction in the most effective way and what tips to use to overcome common problems.
Create the Necessity of Finding an Answer Introducing Characters
Primarily, you should always remember what kind of fiction you are writing. The matter is that your approach to writing will differ from the approach used for writing comedies and romances. You need to keep the intrigue, and you need your readers keep looking for the answers till the very end. Your hero or heroes need to be in a constant danger, and no one should be able to predict for sure what happens next.
To create this necessity of looking for the answers, you need to make you readers love the characters. You need to make them feel as though they are their friends. The protagonist should provoke some emotions, as well as other characters that perform secondary roles. You would probably agree, that Happy Potter is a famous protagonist, but many people love Hermione Granger more than him.
To make your novel even tenser, add some villain characters and use them to create a necessary atmosphere. A small trick for the professional writers: the villain characters should not always be villain till the end. Moreover, in some cases, villain characters may appear to be good ones, and you can use that for your novel.
Find Proper Time for Events
In a suspense fiction, time really is important. If the events happen too early, the readers may not be prepared for that (for example, they still do not know the characters, and they already need to take care of them). If you wait too long, the readers may be bored with the development of events.
These are no common formula for time to pose the most important questions and events, but many writers recommend to do that in between 1/6 and1/3 of the novel. Thus, your readers already know the characters and are ready to read what happens to them.
Add Wins and Losses
Your whole story should never be based on only one win or loss. To create enough tension and make the story more dramatic, add small wins and losses. You can also add some battles, problems and complicated situations that help the plot to develop but do not create a separate story. The wins and losses may be connected with the story of the protagonist, or reveal other characters better.
Add Some Clues
Your reader should be able to find the answers by himself, and you are to introduce some clues throughout a story. Of course, it is better not to give the tips that will reveal the truth easily. However, when the story is over, you reader should have a chance to return to the story and check all the events that indicate this development of the situation.
Each detail that you write should contribute to the development of the story. Even if it is slightly misguiding, it should give a chance for another development of the situation.
Let Protagonist Find the Answer. And Fail with It
Your protagonist should not be a genius, who makes no mistakes. He or she should be a real person, who thinks, makes some assumptions, then makes some attempts, fails, and tries again. No one is interested in novels where a protagonist is capable of everything and is never mistaken. Let him or her be a real person.
One of the major mistakes for writing suspense fiction is to create an intrigue at the beginning of the story and to stop develop it later. You need to keep the intrigue at the first, second and every following chapter of your story. The intrigue is the key aspect for an interesting suspense fiction and you should not miss it.
Writing suspense fiction, you should always keep in mind an image of your reader. It is likely that he has already read dozens of suspense books and he is looking for something new and thrilling. You should be able to create such atmosphere and make a reader stay with you till the last pages of the book.
Kevin Nelson started his career as a research analyst and has changed his sphere of activity to writing services and content marketing. Apart from writing, he spends a lot of time reading psychology and management literature searching for the keystones of motivation ideas. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin.
Title: Bullet (Book 1)
Author: Jade C Jamison
Genre: New Adult, Rock Star Romance
About the Book:
What if you discover the man you want is toxic?
She tasted a little bit of heaven with him, and now they’ve gone through hell and back, but can their relationship take anymore?
Valerie Quinn is a naïve college freshman when she meets on-the-rise rock star Ethan Richards. He’s an idealistic, handsome, reckless young man, but he’s captured her heart. She doesn’t give up on him and eventually his walls crumble down. By the time Valerie has given herself to him completely, she discovers he’s damaged and may be beyond help. Can she save Ethan and their relationship before he implodes, or will he self-destruct and take her with him?
Whole series: http://amzn.to/2mj413w
Bullet (book 1): http://amzn.to/2mYt3YD
About the Author:
For years, Jade C. Jamison tried really hard to write what she thought was more "literary" fiction, but she found herself compelled to write what you read by her today--sometimes gritty, raw, realistic stories and other times humorous, light tales--but most of the stories she writes revolve around relationships and characters finding their way through life. While she doesn't confine herself to just one genre, nor is there a nice neat label for what she writes, most of her work could be called erotic romance. Her main writing passions include rock star romance, romantic comedy, and romantic suspense.
She lives in Colorado with her husband and four children.
If we’re honest about it, our deepest fears as writers—that our work is just not good enough to be published—dogs us no matter where are in the business. That fear only gets magnified when you pick up a book or read a published article that is so…so ordinary and predictable, so mediocre, it leaves you gobsmacked. Why did they get published and not you?
If you’re on Writers and Authors, you’re likely a committed writer and you’ve worked hard on your craft. And yet, even after all this time, that question—am I a hack and just don’t know it?—comes up with every rejection.
I’ve been writing for decades. I’ve had successes, but also, I’ve had failures so epic, I thought I’d never bounce back. And yet, here I am, plugging away, making a decent living while friends with arguably more talent no longer write.
The difference is that I committed to learning how to master the crippling doubts that come with the business. Researching grit and resilience with an eye toward adapting solutions for writers, I funneled what I learned into The Bulletproof Writer: How to Overcome Constant Rejection to Become an Unstoppable Author.
Cultivating resiliency for writers is a must because the rejections never end. It’s an occupational hazard. Perhaps your manuscript just received its thirtieth rejection from agents. Or your first book just got a bunch of 1-star reviews. Or perhaps you’re a midlister and only two people showed up for your book signing. Even bestsellers face rejection. Perhaps this time, they didn’t get a starred review. Or because of less-than-expected sales, their next advance is insultingly low.
From newbie, to bestseller, there’s no way around it. Here are some tips I’ve had to accept and/or master to overcome constant rejection:
1. Recalibrate your concept of the F-word: Fairness. Publishing is one of the only industries that systematically rejects its most talented people. We’ve all seen the lists outlining how many rejections famous authors experienced before they hit it big. And yeah, it helps to know that Stephen King had so many rejections, he posted them as wallpaper in his office—but you typically only feel better for about 1.2 seconds after that. Then it’s back to wondering why him and not you. In Bulletproof, I break down the many false assumptions writers make about the publishing industry to lay the foundation for a realistic approach to rejection.
2. Stop Trying to Learn from your failures. Wait, what? Aren’t we taught from early childhood on to learn from our mistakes? Cognitive psychologists call that “sense making,” and often that’s a viable strategy. But when it comes to writers, trying to make sense of rejection actually creates more anxiety and frustration. Why? Because so much of why we’re rejected is completely out of our control. It could be everything from “we just released a book like yours” to “we love the writing but this genre isn’t selling,” to “the marketing department nixed it,” to “it’s just not my cup of tea.” In other words, there are dozens of reasons why an editor might reject your work. Because the reason for a rejection is so often either unknowable or out of our control, trying to make sense of it only leads to frustration. Instead, experts recommend moving from learning from mistakes, to learning to go forward.
3. Tame your inner critic. It’s no accident that writers are often more self-critical that the average person. Writers tend to be more sensitive and introspective, which are necessary attributes for capturing the world in words. But when that inner critic turns on you, it can be brutal. This is where you can put a Nobel Prize winner’s work on loss aversion into action. You can turn self-persecution into self-empowerment by realizing that your inner critic motivates itself through a fear of loss rather than the gain of winning. By consciously motivating yourself through the desire for victory your self-talk automatically becomes kinder and gentler.
After an up and down career, I’ve learned to cultivate and maintain what I like to call a “bulletproof consciousness.” But as with most worthwhile endeavors, it’s not easy and it only works when you work it. That’s because of publishing’s dirty little secret: You will face rejection for the entire length of your career—even if you hit it big. Think about supernova books like Midnight At The Garden Of Good And Evil and Catch-22. Both John Behrendt and Joseph Heller reached the top of the charts and then experienced rejection every step of the way down. It behooves every writer—from the pre-published to best sellers—to develop a coping strategy for the endless rejections that are pretty much guaranteed to come your way.
This should not depress you any more than cops should be depressed because they have to wear bulletproof vests. It’s part and parcel of keeping yourself safe and achieving success.
Michael Alvear is the author of The Bulletproof Writer: How To Overcome Constant Rejection To Become An Unstoppable Author (Woodpecker Media January 2017).
He’s been a frequent contributor to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and his work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.