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Maintaining your cool under holiday pressure

In preparation for the upcoming Holiday Author Event, I recently hosted a training, Book Signing Success Secrets. There were 4 parts to the training:calm under pressure

  1. Before the Event
  2. At the Event
  3. The Display
  4. After the Event

I was fortunate to be able to bring in two experts to offer invaluable input into the success metric:

Connie Kadansky is an international sales coach and trainer whose underlying message comes back to one thing: the importance of having a success mindset.

Barbara Chatzkel, the Body Language Pro, shared information about the kind of body language authors want to exhibit in a book-signing scenario to indicate interest and attract people to them, as opposed to inadvertently pushing them away.

Connie often writes and speaks on the power of optimism as a sales tool: optimistic people meet more people, make more sales, and generally have more success in all areas of their lives. And optimism is a mindset.

I recently came across a LinkedIn article by Dr. Travis Bradberry titled, “How Successful People Stay Calm,” and found that it coincides precisely with Connie’s thinking and teachings on optimism. I encourage you to read the whole article, but here are the 10 behaviors Bradberry notes that successful people use to remain calm under pressure:

  • The appreciate what they have.
  • They avoid asking “What if…?”
  • They stay positive.
  • They disconnect.
  • They limit their caffeine intake.
  • They sleep.
  • They squash negative self-talk.
  • They reframe their perspectives.
  • They breathe.
  • They have and rely on support systems.

I had an opportunity to practice some of these the other day. For last weekend’s training session, I set up a display table with all of my books, products, and accoutrements. Knowing I’d be attending another event where I would be using the same materials this weekend, I left the multitude of boxes in the trunk, figuring I’d just make it easier on myself. Then, the car I was driving went into the shop on Tuesday. Was certainly supposed to be fixed by Thursday, Friday at the latest. Of course, it hit me at 6 p.m. Friday night that since we clearly weren’t going to get the car back that day, I’d need to stop by the garage on the way to my event and gather my things out of the trunk. Perfect plan, until my husband texted: “Sorry. The garage is closed on the weekend.”

Crap, crap, crap!

I was pretty aggravated for a couple of minutes, until I realized that there wasn’t much I could doplan b about the situation, and staying frustrated would get me nowhere. I needed a Plan B. What’s quite humorous about this whole situation is that my Plan B involved the saddest, most pathetic looking little portion of a display table (I didn’t have materials enough to warrant even half a table) at this weekend’s conference. One person grabbed a business card, but that was pretty much the extent of the activity my display generated.

Of course, then, there’s serendipity – as my sad little pathetic display table happened to be immediately adjacent to the lavish display of one Maxwell Alexander Drake. If you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan, you may have heard of him. If you’ve ever attended Comic-Con, Gen-Con, Origins, Xanadu, Combat-Con, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, the San Diego Book Festival, or the Tucson Festival of Books, you may have seen him, heard him present, or had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the man. He has a pretty impressive résumé. And since I now had no reason to babysit my table, I was able to attend one of Drake’s lectures, as well as lunch with him and discuss many writing-related topics (which I’ll touch on in more detail in an upcoming post). Had I been busy with my typical table display, I might very likely have missed out on these intriguing conversations.

I’m not saying I’ve got stress management all figured out. But for as long as I can remember, optimism has been my default, and I tend to stay fairly positive – and calm – even in stressful situations.

Between the book signings and professional events that may be coming up in the next few weeks, and all the chaos of the holidays, it may do us all well to remember Bradberry’s list of behaviors and model them to the best of our ability.

Here’s to calm seas ahead!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: If I waited till I felt like writing…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.”

Anne Tyler

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

Who’s inside your Inner Circle?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received about successfully launching your book – and yourself, for that matter – is to marshal the forces you already have at your disposal. Take a long, hard look at your virtual Rolodex and identify the members of your inner circle. Could be 25 people, 50 people, even 100. The pointinner circle is, these are the people who are loyal to you, who love what you do, who support you, who will go out of their way for you, who’ve been with you for the long haul, and who – when you need them most – will give you honest answers to difficult questions and help you launch your book, product, or business.

Think of these folks as a team of ambassadors or raving fans. Some may already consider themselves a part of your team. Some may be flattered when you officially invite them to join your insiders’ club. Some may thank you and decline, as they prefer to offer their support on their own terms and/or may be busy running businesses and lives of their own.

So what are the most important traits you want the members of your insiders’ club to possess?

  • Be sure they are individuals you trust and respect, who conduct themselves with character and integrity.
  • Try for a group with a variety of skills, talents, and personalities (e.g., a good mix of introverts and extroverts).
  • Look for the people who’ve already proven they are willing to stay the course with you – the ones who’ve seen you through the most amazing successes and have also stood by you through life’s inevitable downturns.
  • You may want some strong team players, as well as a few lone wolves.
  • Surround yourself with people who share your vision and enthusiasm for your goals.
  • Of course you want those who are competent and have proven track records in their own areas of expertise.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, ally yourself with influencers – just remember that someone needn’t be the gregarious life of the party to hold lots of sway with the audience you are trying to reach.

Next, figure out exactly what you want these folks to do for you. Perhaps it’s helping you with your crowdfunding campaign. Maybe it’s sending out announcements about your book launch. It could be retweeting your hashtags or sharing your Facebook and LinkedIn posts. Perhaps it’s much more subtle, in that they simply mention you in conversation to the influencers in their own circles.

In exchange for their advice and support, you can find great ways to reward your inner circle. Ideas include:

  • Giving them the chance to read and comment on your rough drafts
  • Providing advance reader copies (ARCs) and asking them for blurbs
  • Sending them autographed copies of the printed book in advance of your actual launch date
  • Hosting a private VIP event for them
  • Naming characters after them or using their stories as case studies in your next book

Lastly, find a great name to call these insiders. Laura’s Lemmings and Marcie’s Mascots are probably not the best ideas. Some call them insiders’ clubs or VIP clubs. Put on your SBM* thinking cap and come up with a great name that resonates with your book(s), your brand, and your specific group of insiders.

Here’s to identifying your inner tribe!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Much of the writer’s work is solitary, but…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Much of the writer’s work is solitary; I thrive on talking to other people about their vivid personal experiences that touch on the subjects I write about every day.” This quote is unattributed because I found it jotted at the bottom of a completely unrelated document. Perhaps something I read? Or heard in a seminar? I Googled it with zero results … so if you know who said/wrote it, please let me know!

vivid personal experiences

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

What’s your book signing attention-getter?

 

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “gimmick”?

gimmickInterestingly, the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange website offers the following pieces, in relation to “gimmick.”

QUESTION

Does the word gimmick have a positive or negative meaning? It is not obvious to me from a Wikipedia article. I also would be glad if someone could explain it in two words, not several paragraphs spread across ten articles as in wiki. I understand that there are several meanings, but what do you think about when you first hear it?

ANSWERS

It definitely has a negative connotation. It is a trick advertisers use to get your attention or to get you into their stores.

***

Yes. It can be either positive or negative depending upon context. Magicians, for example, usually use it in a positive context.

***

[G]immick implies something added on to an object or product to make the object more appealing than other similar objects, despite that fact that it might have nothing to do with the purpose of the object.

Regardless of your personal emotional response to the word gimmick, the fact remains that having an attention-getter as a regular facet of your book signings is a winning strategy.

Mary Ellen Stepanich is the author of a memoir titled D Is for Dysfunctional and Doo-Wop. Mary d is for dysfunctionEllen and her Doo Wop quartet have been singing barbershop style four-part music for more than a decade, having a ball performing for audiences throughout Arizona. Here’s the thing: Lilac Crazy, Mary Ellen’s quartet, accompanies her and performs at every book signing!

So I’m guessing the chances that you have any sort of regular musical accompaniment at your signings is fairly slim. Here’s the question: WHAT could you do, wear, or use as an attention-grabber that will set your book signings apart from others and create some authentic word-of-mouth interest?

LA Mascone is preparing to release her first novel, The Moondead, just in time for the holiday season.

moondead

When two gruesome slayings turn a remote desert city in Arizona upside down, Major Crimes lead night detective, Lt. John Padric, goes searching for answers. Local media is all over the story, calling the victims the moondead. Someone is targeting priests and nuns in the fictitious city of L’Arroyo; they’re dying on moonlit nights, the crime scenes macabre. A chance encounter brings an assist from archeologist-turned-nun, Sister Magdalen, and the convent of San Miguel. The cop and the nun meet when the detective must deliver the news that one of their Sisters was found dead of a near-decapitation.CARD 21 grandfather clock.jpg

A quartet wouldn’t quite be appropriate for Mascone’s book signing. But would you sit up and take note if a character woman in a nun’s habit appeared from the midst of the crowd at a book signing?

What could you do to garner similar attention at your own signing events? Are you the author of a Mexican food cookbook? How about a sarape and sombrero? Story about a mouse that lives in a grandfather clock? How hard would it be to cart along a cardboard grandfather clock prop to your book signing and play a background recording of the clock tolling?

Would these be gimmicky? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? Of course not – especially if you sell more books! So get over your fear of the word “gimmick” and embrace the PR stunt that will help people remember you and your books.

Here’s to making yourself memorable!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Procrastination time

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Most of those people who claim to take years to write a book are counting procrastination time.”

countin procrastination

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

Use – or create – a style guide for a professional finish

You may remember it: the woman athlete running with a giant sledgehammer in hand. The unnamed heroine hurls the implement at a giant screen, saving humanity from “conformity” and thereby introducing the Macintosh apple-1984-runnercomputer to the world during a break in the third quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl. While I sincerely doubt my father ever saw this ad (he was not a sports fan and seldom watched anything on TV besides the news and PBS), he was on the cutting edge, as he bought my sister and me the very first Mac Classic to aid in our studies. This was pre-pre-pre-Internet. Today we regularly send email attachments larger than the 4 mg memory of the entire Mac Classic.

So I grew up a Mac user. And it was in the book The Mac Is Not a Typewriter that I was first introduced to the idea that with desktop publishing applications, it was no longer necessary to use two spaces after a period. The reason for this is that the letters on typewriters were all uniformly spaced, meaning that a lowercase “i” or “l” took up the same amount of space in a line of type as a “w” or “m” even though the latter two are significantly wider. If you want to see this at work, check out the Courier typeface example below.

courier

In modern typography, letters take up only their actual width, so the shape of a word contributes to its readability. In documents created on traditional typewriters, every letter took up the same amount of space, so the extra space between sentences was necessary to indicate the end of a sentence for the reader. I never took a formal typing class, so I’ll admit that this was not an enormous adjustment for me to make. However, I’ve recently been doing lots of editing for a group blog by authors for authors, and I’m noticing that many, many of our authors still use two spaces after a period. I’m guessing they didn’t get the memo.

So what, right? Sort of. The thing is, since I coordinate and edit this group blog, I get to decide on the styles we use. What does that mean? It means using H2 style for every subheading. One space after periods. OK, as opposed to okay. Putting all resource boxes in italics. En dashes ( – ) with one space on either side, as opposed to em dashes with no space (—). No http:// to start web addresses. Using periods to break the segments of a phone number. You get the idea.

The particular styles matter less than consistency in applying them. If you haven’t adopted a professional style guide for your books/writing, you may want to think about creating one of your own – particularly if you write fantasy or use a language, symbols, or terminology of your own creation. IntelligentEditing.com offers an excellent post with tips for creating your own style guide.

While there’s no rule that says you must use a style guide, adopting or creating one will give your editor some standards to follow and give all of your writing a more finished, professional look.

Here’s to consistency in your work!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 50+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book Logo w backgroundlovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 200 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at HolidayAuthorEvent.com.

__________________

 

 

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