Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Enthusiasm Goes a Long Way


You know those authors who spam you with buy links all the time? Well, I think most of us know that's not the best route to take when you want to get the word out about your books. But you don't want to go in the complete opposite direction either, where you don't even tell people you're a writer. First, you should be proud of what you do, because writing a book is a great accomplishment. And second, you should be enthusiastic about what you do, because that will make other people excited, too.

I went to an author signing this month and met a very young author. She self-published her novel and while she knew that this wouldn't be her best book ever because it was the first novel she ever wrote, she had this enthusiasm that made people stop at her table and talk to her. She greeted everyone who walked by and told them all that she's a teenage writer. She was proud of that fact. She wasn't trying to push her book on them. She was simply sharing her love of writing with those around her. Because of this, people listened to her, asked her questions, and even told others about her. Before the event was over, she was interviewed by the local TV station because she stood out for both her age and her enthusiasm.

I think we all can learn something from this young girl. Author events are about making connections and sharing our love of books and writing. If we focus on that, people will be drawn to our enthusiasm, and we just might sell more books in the process.

37 comments:

  1. I can see why she ended up on TV. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

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  2. You're right. Enthusiasm is the best way to go. We writers are incredibly lucky to have this gift.

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    1. Yes, it is a gift and one we should be proud of and share.

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  3. That's awesome. Can we get the teenager's name?

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    1. Since she's a minor, I don't want to post her name online. At least not without her permission.

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  4. I remember having an author even last year and shared a table with another new author. She kept pushing her book onto people who were passing by our table; often hunting down customers from across the way. I thought this was very unprofessional and brought less attention to my book since people were less inclined to approach someone who kept hassling them. We should always be cordial, outgoing and personable but trying to "push" our books onto others is very unbecoming.

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    1. Yes, we don't want to be THAT author. lol No one wants to buy a book from someone who acts like that.

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  5. I think making connections w/people at book events is the most important thing you do there -- whether it's connections with the book store employees, other writers, or the readers. I know of writers who count book sales or school visits they wrack up from an event, and if it doesn't meet a certain standard, they won't go back to that store/event. They underestimate the importance of simply talking to people!

    That said, if there are a group of authors and a person has stopped by the table to speak to each one, it is very unprofessional for one author to monopolize the conversation, push her book over all the others, and pin the poor person down so they can't move on to the other authors. I've seen that happen! You can't forget that making POSITIVE connections w/other writers is important too!

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    1. Yes, this girl talked to every author there too. She cared about meeting other authors as well as readers.

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  6. Amen to that! People recognize enthusiasm and passion, we're amazed by it. There are so few in this world who actually have pride in their work rather than simply wanting to make money.

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    1. Yeah, it's not all about money. It can't be or most of us would be miserable. ;)

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  7. How neat for that teen! Hopefully she just continues to learn and grow and have a successful career. Yay for positive author interaction! You'll definitely be remembered for it- and the other kind as well... =/

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  8. What an awesome example! I often get embarrassed and don't like talking about my writing--something I definitely need to work on!

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    1. I think the key is to talk about writing and not necessarily trying to sell your book. That kind of takes the pressure off a bit.

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  9. Excluding the out of line/jerky exceptions, I think this happens in most cases because as writers there's so much outward and inner pressure to sell ourselves and not be wallflowers that we get overzealous at events where we do have to be "On" to some degree.

    Lectures of practice and experience aside, I just think some learn it faster than others, and for some it's just more natural (they may rehearse what they'll do or say, but they're just not shy about talking to people in general), I'm not a natural, so every step I take is me fighting back A LOT OF NERVES!

    I'm not condoning being rude and pushy, of course, but honestly I feel some of this is nervousness on their part, and either they don't have the skills or support network to help them stay on an even keel, or they've been given false advice, or just misread the situation.

    I think this issue is further compounded by the simple fact that some writers are just not as confident with "On the spot" interaction as they are with being amongst familiar folks who will cut you some slack if you tense up a bit.

    Kelly, perhaps a post about battling nerves when it comes to the public things writers would make a good counterpoint to this one.

    So often writers don't help themselves with problems they face because they don't want to look weak to others, often I see that far more than the childish denial that most posts on this subject witch about. I've been there myself, and sometimes still am, but I've learned to talk it out when I need to.

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    1. I like the idea of a post on battling nerves. I'll put it on my list, Taurean. :)

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  10. I've seen authors who essentially all they do is endlessly push their book... and it becomes grating.

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    1. Yes. I agree. We are more than sales people and we need to show that.

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  11. Such a great point, Kelly. It's often hard to find the balance between enthusiasm and being pushy, but I think when the enthusiasm is genuine, it comes off as not being pushy.

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    1. That's a great point, Katie. People can tell the difference between being enthusiastic and being pushy.

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  12. Such a refreshing example compared to the salesman approach a lot of publishers want their authors to model. I'd like to know the name of her bolk as well. I'm all for helping young writers move their career forward.

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    1. I have her email, so I can contact her and find out if it's okay to name her here.

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  13. I agree. Publishers etc seem to expect us to be salespeople, but when a writer is new, I think the best sellers of their work are: 1) the works themselves and 2) their personalities.

    That's sort of why my blog is the way it is. :-D

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    1. I agree, Misha. I feel like I'm very open on this blog because I want people to know the real me. A lot of this business is about making connections, not just selling books. Personally, I love making connections. That's what keeps me sane.

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  14. That's very admirable. She found a way to show her enthusiasm for her work without being a human spammer

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  15. What a great story! I think enthusiasm and believing in yourself are so important. I enjoy talking to authors who are personable. :)

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  16. Yes. I think people are gradually understanding that online you should connect with people instead of touting your book all the time. But that applies to in-person, too! Book signings can be uncomfortable if customers don't want to make eye contact with you because they don't want to buy your book. This girl found a way to change the climate at her signing, and it had to do with connecting!

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    1. Yes, we have to be people first, not salesmen. Sales are important since this is a business, but we can't forget that making connections should come first.

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  17. Sounds like a special girl! Glad the two of you got to meet :-)

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  18. Talking about our enthusiasm in writing and reading does take pressure off book sales, and amazingly, that's how more interest is gained and hopefully, readership is increased. That girl will go far if she keeps infecting others with her passion!

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