Probably the biggest way to attract people to your books is in appearances. This is the twenty-first century. Authors no longer hide in their garret, pounding or scribbling out their next great novel. We have to see and be seen. Our picture should be on the back cover of our print books. Put that picture up on all of your social media sites. Be friendly and always smiling, no matter what you feel like on the inside.
I’m sure you’ve heard this exact same advice from everyone in the publishing field. And you’re probably having the same reaction I did the first time I heard it. Are you kidding me? I got into writing just so that I wouldn’t have to interact with people. My books should be enough to satisfy them.
Well, that’s just not true any longer. You are an author. No one can argue that. You do need to be working on your next book. Very true. But you can’t hide in the shadows any longer. Come to think of it, you probably need to get outside, take a walk or work on the garden, to tighten up your muscles and get a little color in your skin. That’s one of the more important things you should think about before an appearance.
Why? You demand. I’m fine the way I look now.
Again, this is one of those “you’re competing with literally thousands of other authors” things. Today’s author is supposed to laugh off the assumption that we spent hours and hours every day hunched over the keyboard. Our stories are supposed to magically appear, perfectly edited, at any of the many online sales venues. They do that while we’re doing interviews either locally or nationally, while we’re getting out into the world so people can see that we’re a real person, and while we’re also dealing with our normal loves.
I’m not going to do interviews, you state firmly. I hate talking to people.
Most authors are introverts. We’re the shy person in the corner at a party. We’d rather have a root canal than do an appearance. Unfortunately, a root canal isn’t going to save you from the dreaded interview, so here are a few tips on surviving.
First, speak with the person who will be interviewing you. Find out what they’ll want to know. Then write out what you’re going to say and practice, practice, practice. Podcast and radio interviews will be easy. You won’t have a camera focused on you. If you happen to score a television interview, remember to focus on the interviewer, not the camera.
Second, have your panic attack early. During your many practice sessions. This will alleviate the possibility of freezing at a crucial moment.
Third, remember to smile and look like you’ve done this a million times. Practice your smile in front of a mirror until it looks natural, not like you’re going to scare small children.
Finally, prepare for the best but expect the worst. You’ll do fine.