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Tag: Promotion

Giving My First Talk as an Author

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Me in full swing!

My first author talk at my local library has now been and gone but I am still glowing from the wonderful evening I enjoyed there. The library staff were very kind in helping me set everything up beforehand and I had a good sized audience on the night with lots of friendly faces. The atmosphere was so welcoming that I hardly felt nervous at all, which I had really expected to. I ‘present’ all the time in my day job but it’s quite a different feeling when you’re talking about yourself. I know from speaking to other writers that the very idea of standing up in front of an audience scares them half to death! If you can do it though, giving an author talk really is worth it.
I had tried to get round my nerves by being very well-prepared and I think this paid off on the night. The plan was for me to talk about my debut novel From Here to Nashville and also my journey to self-publication. I wrote out what I was going to say over a couple of weeks, adding to the script as I thought of new things. Then I transferred it on to index cards, as advised by lots of other writing friends, and I practised to see how long it was, including me reading out an excerpt. All in all, it was 27 minutes long when I practised but on the night with a few questions, it was more like 45 minutes. I also videoed myself at home to see if I had any glaring habits that I wanted to avoid!
Once I had put the talk together, I had a chat with a writer friend of mine who also had a library talk coming up last week. She suggested playing some country music as people came in which I thought was a great idea and some of you may remember of course, that I even had a Spotify playlist already set up of the songs Rachel sings in the story so I added that to my plan. My friend also suggested asking the audience questions to involve them in the talk and to stop it from getting too formal so I did that too.
In the end, these were my headings:

  • How I started writing.
  • The Nashville TV series and how it inspired the idea for the story. Read out my blurb.
  • Writing as a ‘Pantser’ and discovering NaNoWriMo along the way, which led to me investing in Scrivener.
  • Discovering and then joining the RNA New Writers’ Scheme and my first report back from them.
  • Finding an editor, designer and proofreader.
  • Deciding to self-publish rather than trying for a traditional contract.
  • Publication to Amazon and later other platforms. Read an excerpt. Talked about trip to Nashville.
  • Marketing post-publication – social media activity, including this website and blog.
  • My next books.

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Talking to another RNA member who happened to come along!

One of the things I had to think about very carefully was what technology I would be able to use. The library is all set up for the internet but it isn’t working there currently. This meant I had to do screenshots of the things I wanted to show which could have been boring on their own. So I added in some content to my presentation to go with the shots as well. There were a fair few pictures of my books and I also had a table set up with my books and marketing materials on as well.
The library organised a projector and screen for me and we arrived early to set it all up and make sure it worked correctly. I had to take our bluetooth speaker from home so that we could play the music because the library didn’t have any speakers. I made a list of all the things I would have to take with me and checked and double-checked it before going!
As I said, everyone was so welcoming that I was fairly relaxed from the start. My daughter took some videos of me and my husband took some photos so we have something to remember it all by. I suppose I will have to give in and let you see one of the videos now!

I took a few questions afterwards as well over refreshments and I also sold signed copies of my books. In fact, I sold more copies than I have ever done before at an event of this kind!
So, all in all, as I said at the beginning, it was a very good experience. It was really hard to approach the library in the first instance but once I did, they were very encouraging and happy to help me with promotion and setting up along the way. As I hadn’t had the courage to send out a press release when I first published From Here to Nashville (I know!), this was a good opportunity to write one so that I know what to do next time round. So there were many benefits to doing this, not just the obvious ones.
I suspect that most libraries would welcome local authors with open arms as they try valiantly to keep people coming through their doors so if you love your local library as much as I love mine, then why not give it a try? You might be surprised at how much fun it is! Do leave me a comment below to tell me how you feel about the idea or maybe you’ve already done one so please share your experience 🙂

3 Things I learnt from setting up a Facebook Author page

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I have been reading a number of blog posts recently about how to promote your novel in the most effective way and it has become clear that most people think you need to have a Facebook page. I have put this off for a long time because, to be honest, I don’t really like Facebook. I’ve had a personal profile for some years but haven’t really engaged with it and when I became a teacher, I decided that was definitely for the best and deleted my account.

Fast forward a few years to when I started writing and after reading up a bit, I realised I would have to have at least three ways for people to get to know me. I set up my Twitter account and took to it like the proverbial duck to water. I set up this blog and I absolutely love writing it every week and watching it grow. Then there was Facebook. I reactivated my account and invited a few select family members and friends to join me, which they did without hesitation. But soon though, my timeline was filled with so much stuff that was really of no interest to me that I was left feeling full of regret. I realised once again, that I just don’t like Facebook so what was I to do? At this point, after a lot of moaning about it, my daughter showed me how to set up a page. I then left it unpublished for more than six months, still unsure what to do with it. Until yesterday when I started playing around with it. I still have a long way to go but I’ve looked at the Facebook pages of a number of authors to see what they do and now feel more confident about making this page into something useful in the longer term. So this week, I’ve decided to share what I’ve learnt so far in the hope that it helps any other new writers out there to set up their own page.

1. Setting up the Page
First of all, you must have a personal account on Facebook in order to create an author page. At the top of the screen, next to the security lock symbol, there is a down arrow which gives you the option to create a page. Once you have clicked on this, you should choose ‘Artist, Band or Public Figure.’ Then choose ‘Author’ from the drop down menu, type in your name and click on ‘Get Started.’ You will now have a basic author page. The link to this page will show up on your personal ‘Home’ page on the left-hand side. You can move its position by clicking on the cog to the left of it and then dragging it up to greater prominence.

2. Adding a Cover Photo
This is as simple as clicking in the Cover Photo area and uploading a photo. If you’ve done this on Twitter or on your website, the process is much the same. You should add a photo of the cover of your book here of course and although I’m not yet published, I have had a provisional cover since day one so I have uploaded this photo there. In the past, you used to be able to insert a ‘call to action’ here for potential readers but Facebook have recently changed the rules so now you can’t do any overt marketing which begs the question, what is this all for? Aargh! Still, I quite like that. Facebook wants you to keep detail like that in your About/Bio section and perhaps that’s fair enough. If you go to Settings at the top of your page, you can fill in all kinds of details about yourself. Don’t forget to include your website! I have asked people to tell me what they think of my cover and pinned that post to the top of the page to try and draw people’s attention to it.

3. Sharing Posts on Twitter
This one took me quite a while 🙂 If you go here you will be able to link your page to Twitter so that when you publish a post to Facebook, it automatically posts it to Twitter. I have also added the Facebook Like widget to my website (over on the right) so that readers can link straight to it and it shows who has liked my page as well. In addition to this, you have to enable Facebook in your ‘Publicize’ settings when you write your posts. This means that this blog post should now appear on my Facebook page. I hope that this will trigger a tweet as well but only time will tell. If it all works, I’ll let you know next time. If not, I’ll give you an update on what I had to put right!

In the meantime, do have a go at setting up your own page, especially if it’s something you’ve been putting off. It’s not that difficult but I won’t know for a while if it’s useful. Please do let me know if this works for you and tell me of your successes in the comments below. Thank you all for reading. Have a good week 🙂