PUBLIC SPEAKING – WHO ME?

What did you sayYou hear these words and your voice starts shaking, your knees wobble, and your body feels wet from the sweat rolling around. You are a writer and now you are an author, so suck it up.

As an author, you need to present yourself to the public. Why? To sell your book, get asked to give presentations, be a guest on a program, and be recognized as a great speaker. But, you cannot do this without practice. Fear? Yes, fear is at the heart of all speakers, at the beginning, and probably every time they stand in front of an audience.

Remember, there is no greater speaker than that of an author. Who wrote the book? You. Who knows what the book is all about? You. Who knows about the funny places? You. Who can present the scenes of love, friendship, suspense and frustrations? You.

Now is the time for practice. Volunteer at your writer meetings to give an introduction for another author. No, not you. Volunteer to do presentations at a special meeting. Get yourself up out of your chair and behind the podium or even just  in front of a group with a microphone in your hand.

But, wait. You need to know how you sound with a microphone. Is your voice too loud? Are you speaking too fast, and no one can understand you? Does your voice stay in the same tone, like a monotone and no emotion comes out? Do you slur your words?

So, what do you do? If you have a tape recorder, use it. You can listen to yourself and might not even recognize your voice. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. Are you punching some of your words? Trying to emphasize words to get attention. Vary the pitch of your voice and you will have your audience captivated. Do not forget a pause between some words. This comes when you want your audience to be with you, listen, and feel what you do. You want your audience to stay with you from beginning to end.

What about your body? No, not the size, but what your audience sees as they listen. Are you dressed for the occasion? You need to find out about the type of audience you are addressing: a sports audience and you come in evening clothes? I doubt it. Or the reverse: an evening crowd and you come in your workout clothes? Yeah, I went overboard, but this gives you a chance to think about your audience. You need to invoke emotion and interest through non-verbal communication, known as body language. Facial expressions and gestures are a neat beginning. Eye contact is another very important communication. People in the audience love to think you are looking at only them. Give them your best.

A goof-up? Hey, we all mispronounce words, forget some words, and the best recovery is to acknowledge them and laugh at yourself. Your audience will laugh with you. Be sincere and honest.

Now, that you have done some practicing at home, in front of a mirror, and practiced, practiced, and practiced, it is time to take you and your book out before a live audience. Most of all, have fun with your time before the audience. They will feel part of your presentation and you will find yourself with new fans.

SPEAK UP.  SPEAK SLOW.  SPEAK YOUR BEST. PROMOTE YOUR WRITING.

o

Advertisements

LAUNCH YOURSELF

An Idea

Are you ready to “Launch” yourself? You’re writing and writing and writing and writing. But, are you accelerating your efforts? Are you contributing to the future? Are you getting yourself out to the public?

Yes, your writings and your books are your passions. Now it is time to launch yourself and let others see you, not only as a writer, but as a person who enjoys life and all life has to offer.

You volunteer to help assist students in a writing class and give direction to their writing interests. You take time to work with them, learn their names, and find out some of their passions. You are contributing to their future.

You work with a group at a library to set up writing sessions, critique groups, or suggest new ideas for non-writers to read more. You are pushing yourself forward into others’ lives.

You spend time with people who make you laugh. Writing is a tough world and writers forget there are fun times out there. Enjoy everyone.

Build up your relationships, based on honesty, respect and love. Cultivate your friends through conversations and always make certain to follow through and touch base more often.

Keep yourself in shape. Readers will see you, not just as a writer, but remember your tidbits on health, exercise, and sleep. Sleep gives a refresh to your mind, body and soul.

Give a big smile to all you meet; strangers, old friends, and new friends. A SMILE can say a thousand words and costs nothing to give and priceless to receive.

You can launch yourself every day with new happenings and sharing through the written word. A new blog or an email to keep in touch with your readers and make new readers.

Make time for meditation to relax mentally and physically and live in the moment. Tomorrow is another day and you have to launch yourself every day. This isn’t hard;you just make a launch part of your daily life.

Have a GREAT launch, and happy writing.

Creativity At Work For Marketing

An Idea

Yes, my friends had some interesting points for marketing, many years ago. This got me to thinking of marketing now, in 2013.

For a writer/author, they need to get their brand out to a lot of people, and this includes readers. On the road to publishing, a writer needs a platform, contacts in all areas, social media, writer organizations, blogs, websites, critique partners, workshops, and the list can go on and on and on.

I watch some television, but with the sound off. Why? Because, if I am revising or writing, my head needs to be in my work/scenes and not on the program. Then an idea hit me and I stopped writing and started looking at a mute television. No. Not the shows, but the commercials. You can learn a lot with commercials sans sound.

Which commercials? Any and all, but you have to think with a marketing head. How do you get hooked in? What does a commercial offer you, even if you have no use for the product? Do certain movements grab you? What about the colors? Do they irritate you or draw you into the center of the advertisement?

You should have your marketing notebook close and start making notes. What works and what turns you off. Then think of your own marketing plan(s). Without any sound, do language movements draw you inside. Look at the faces. Are they smiling, laughing, having a good time? Do these uplifts give you a joyful, playful attitude?

Do you create yourself or are you created by others? Some serious questions need study and answering. You cannot expect others to create you. This is YOUR work and YOUR story.

This commercial watching is not for a night, but try this for a whole week. You are watching, not listening. Make commercials for yourself and your work. Try an animation procedure, then a serious statement. Experiment with all of your senses and see what your commercial would look like. Watch more and look at your notes. What would you change and why? These are questions you have to sift through and revise your commercial, which is your marketing.

What extra steps can you take to get your work out, in front of your readers, and what part of the commercial will pull them in? Put yourself on the imaginary street corner. Now, what would you “hawk” out to people with your book in your hand?

Thanks to my two friends. They always seem to bring the past into the present. Now, you my readers, what can you do in the present to keep the past alive and awaiting for your next book?

Happy Commercial Watching.

STILL HAVE CREATING PROBLEMS?

Book CaseAll the free-writes, morning pages and the walks helped, but did not get you motivated. Okay, we’ll try something else – READING

Look at the books in your home library or go to the library (a walking trip) and look at books you cannot remember reading. Pick one of the classics, and here are a few to start with:

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (which is now a new movie) – Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the  Vanities, John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Caleb Carr’s The Alienist. You can also add poetry to the list, such as: Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood and Emily Dickenson.

Read the words of great writers and in a different time. Look at the words, the descriptions and find yourself back with the characters on the page. Reap all the sensations and record how these make you feel in your notebook. What? Okay, run, grab your pages and start writing.

Another avenue to push the creative button is MUSIC. Look over all your CD’s and then fixate on the ones that mean something to you. What did you listen to on your first date? Your first sock-hop? Ooooops, age telling.Where were you and who were you with? What about the Junior, Senior Prom? Then you see an Elvis CD and you rush to change the track. Age doesn’t matter as Elvis sang to everyone. Sit back, relax and let your mind carry you round and round on that CD. Put your pen on the paper beside you and scribble your thoughts, your imagination, friends you were with and feel the music take you up, up and away.

Have you ever thought about volunteering for a storytelling project at a library close to you. If there is a special class, go and study the storyteller and the children. Kids are more aware of stories and characters than ever before. Watch their faces, their hands and their smiles. Also keep close attention to frowns. See which characters bring silence to their voices or start a big “WHOOPEE.” You are getting valuable feedback. Got your book near you? These are things you need to jot down NOW, as the memory of these kids are quick to appear and quicker to disappear.

Now, go home and make up your own storytelling. You remember something you noticed in the grocery store, or the hardware place or even at the gas station. Write in your notebook or on your keyboard. Just get your excitement from your mind to your fingers.

Write and make certain your words convey the emotional side of your writing. It may look gibberish, but you know that special event in your life. Now, put this into your character’s life and watch the pages dance.

Sing while you work and be happy with your writing.

Is Conversation in your Platform?

Platform. Platform. Platform. As writers, we hear this word over and over. This is a bio of you, your writings, which include articles, newsletters, your website and your blog. It is not about what you want to write; but about communication on an ongoing basis.

You have all this information out on the internet for people to read. You need to stop and ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” What subjects do you have expertise and could talk about? It is time for your homework.

Who is your audience? What organizations would be included in your audience. How can you reach these people? Wait. I’m lost. Okay, you write fiction, but what genre. Who is the reader of these books. Now, go directly to developing your presence with these groups.

Do you belong to writer groups? Do you meet with them? Do you go in and leave? Not any longer. You connect, talk, be friendly and open. Get to know your fellow writers and let them know you. Say, you connect with only two people; hey, these are two people you didn’t know and now they know you.

Have you ever answered a call to volunteer for one of your organizations? “I do not have time. My writing comes first.” But, if you do not have an audience, who will read your words?

Learn to offer to speak in public. “I can’t get up and talk in front of strangers or friends.” Go at this slow. If you write, you read. Check out book clubs in your genre. You can promote your book and speak to other readers. This could lead to an offer to read at a library and get other authors to come.

If you are aware of a conference, see if there might be an interest for speakers in your genre. You have done a lot of research on material for your book, fiction or non-fiction. You want to share this information with other writers, old or new, coming to the conference.

One last charge — update yourself constantly. Take advantage of every opportunity to get yourself out in the public and COMMUNICATE.

I don’t know about you, but if I speak in public and screw up, I want to be the first person to make fun of me.

Happy visibility to you and your work.