“Show – don’t tell” takes on a new meaning
One of my longest-term clients is a financial advisor in the Washington, D.C. area. We’ve been working together for nearly six years, now. Samuel N. Asare came to me, originally, in search of someone to help him get started blogging. And blog we did – quite successfully, mind you! Initially, while he was ramping up, Samuel blogged every Monday straight for about four years. Now he posts about twice a month – but the blog was a game-changer for him, in that it put him on the map as an expert. Since he began blogging, Samuel has landed recurring spots on local and regional TV and radio shows, a regular feature in the Maryland Women’s Journal, and many other “free” media appearances. I won’t say the blog is directly responsible for those – but his regular presence as an authority in his field certainly helped.
Along the road, I have helped Samuel create four books and three special reports. Of course, having had a hand in their editing and layout makes me look good (that’s why they are on my LinkedIn profile!), but they’re not really my promotional tools. They’re tools Samuel uses to help explain complicated concepts like 401Ks, mortgages, and retirement planning.
Recently, a friend of mine lost her husband and mentioned that she needed to talk to the Social Security Administration about her widow’s benefits. Wait! I thought. Samuel and I created a special report about that! I emailed her the report, Secure Your Future, and suggested she read it and give Samuel a call before talking to the Social Security people. She read the report, found it quite helpful, called Samuel, and was able to have a much more focused and beneficial conversation about her Social Security options than she might have otherwise. All because I emailed her this report we’d created more than a year ago.
Seriously – in all the time I’ve worked with Samuel, I’ve told people about his books, even had them on display at my own events, but I never had a reason to share a specific document with anyone. Until now. Then, I went to see my massage therapist and told her about sharing the report with my friend, and she asked me to send her a copy, too! This was most definitely a case of Show – Don’t Tell.
If I’d only told my friend that Samuel was good at this stuff, she might have listened and acted on that advice, but she might just as easily have put it off or never done it. The fact that I was able to show her a special report on the very subject she needed help with made all the difference in the world.
How does this apply to you, as an author?
Are you putting your book in front of the right reader
at precisely the right time?
Do you even know how to find the right reader? If you’ve written a do-it-yourself plumbing guide, your audience may be on Facebook, but is that really the best place to reach them? Wouldn’t the local hardware stores in your area make more sense? And what is precisely the right time? If you write YA fantasy, you probably don’t want to release your first self-published book the same week that James Dashner releases his next novel.
Don’t simply tell people about it – put your book where the readers are. Here’s to showing instead of telling!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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