Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Social Media Trends For the Savvy Author

donutsSocial media is without a doubt the single most effective tool a content originator has in their arsenal to spread the word about ongoing and future projects to build steam. Combining SEO tactics with targeted advertising and chat-group insertion, a message can be broadcast to millions with the click of the Share button- and the great thing is, it doesn't need to go viral to be effective.

Viral is nice, of course, but not necessary. As long as the project is reaching the targeted audience it is designed for, a worthy message will find traction. This relies on wording, imaging, and overall approach.

And, it goes without saying that it should be something your audience would like to interact with. To do this, here are a few tips on social media trends to get the ball rolling -

cell phone surfing
  1. Start a movement. A solid, creative angle will have your readers engaging before you know it- think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, or the recent Straight Outta - " from Dr. Dre. It can be silly, or contemplative, or just plain weird, but allowing your readers to engage in your message in creative ways will help move your project along faster than you can keep up. 
  2. Use genuine feedback from genuine readers/subscribers/fanatics. By letting your dedicated audience share your message in their words, either through video, text quotations, or imagery, you can spread the word that you're not just a flash in the pan, and that others have found value in your project. Fans love to share why they're fans, and try their darndest to convert new believers. Use your social media to help them reach their goal.
  3. Use video when ever possible, and even when there's no conceivable way to do so. Many folks are visual types- the message needs to be placed graphically in their face in order for them to interact with it. Ronald Reagan was a firm believer in this- he often had his briefings via video in order to connect more closely with them. Think of it- the Cold War in 3-D each morning with his jellybeans and coffee.
  4. Speak plainly when only speaking plainly will do. When converting new followers, understand that they may not have the experience or lexicon to fully comprehend your message. Limit the insider jokes and hoity-toity vocabulary and speak clearly. More potential followers can be lost to over-the-top dialogue than from slow loading speeds on a website.
  5. Think globally, act mobil-ly. Make sure your online content and social media platforms are optimized for mobile viewing. Most followers will engage during the work day, and using their company laptops is not the way they will connect. Instead, the personal device revolution is at hand, and if they can't read your message on their phones, then they simply won't.
  6. Lastly, be the first. Be active in your social media interactions by being a trendsetter when new applications come out. Most social media trends and apps will die by the wayside, but others may prove a boon. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram- all of these started small, and look at them now. Just imagine if you were one of the first users of Snap-chat or MySpace? You could be ruling the world by now...

social media

Share your experience below with social media platforms- we love to hear our readers stories!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Public Reading and the Voice of the Author Bookstore Speaker

For some writers, the voice of a story ends when it is placed on the page.

"There, I've done it. I've crafted the perfect sentence... Now, onto fame, a new contract, and the Pulitzer Prize!"

However, for the author who wishes to engage their readers on a more personal level and, well, engage with this little thing called sales, it's only the beginning. The written sentence must now evolve into a spoken line via a road trip through every bookstore and venue possible. Hence, the public speaking engagement.

Along the way, the sentence will mature as an audible element of your story - filled with inflection and nuanced glimmers that are craftily designed to speak to each member in the bookstore audience before the signings and sales commence. Each utterance will be crafted to be received on a personal level, for your listener's connection as well as your own.

"She wrote that chapter just for me! I just know it! sqweeeeeeee!"

That's how to sell a book. That, and a promise after the public reading to validate said fan-boy's obsession in order to prompt him to tell everyone he knows to buy your novel by signing the inside cover with the most meaningful, personalized, intimate tidbit of an autograph known to mankind.

Make it a run-on sentence.

Fan-boys like run-on sentences.

"So glad you liked it, [INSERT NAME], be sure to buy the bookmark and prequel and the t-shirt and the audiobook on your way out, great to meet you!"

Well, maybe not every public reading goes that way, but as an author of a marketable novel the bookstore appearance is a right of passage. And it all comes down to eye contact, inflection, voice, volume, and speed.

The elements of an introvert's nightmare.

To prepare for a public reading, even as a seasoned professional, the key is to use the tools at your disposal to practice well before the event.

It's how to get to Carnegie Hall, after all.

Begin by matching your reading selection with your audience- how familiar will they be with your subject? Would they perhaps enjoy a more exciting passage, or one with serious philosophical insights? Only you and your marketing agent can make these types of decisions...

Next, read your selection several times out loud while actively listening. How do your words come across? Look for flat sounds that could put a caffeine bean to sleep and focus on finding your strengths. Vary your speaking voice in volume, inflection, and stress... rise with the action, and fall with the, well, falling action.

Do it again, only this time with someone else to listen and provide feedback.

Then, before the public reading, do it again.

And, surprise, surprise... do it again. your material inside and out, without relying on the fact that you wrote it in the first place. At the bookstore, speak slowly, but firmly, with enough volume to reach the back, but not so much as to grab the attention of the barista at the coffee shop across the street. A good public speaker realizes that the voices in their head may sound amazing when kept inside, but when the words translate into a spoken tongue, they can become confusing, slurred, and muddled without practice.

Once you have your selection down pat, and after practicing it one more time, think of how your presence can influence sales.

As a public speaker, dress appropriately - if you write of Victorian nights and Chaucer-filled days, tweed with leather patches on your sleeves is a proven way to go.

If you write of romance on the high seas... how about wearing a pirate shirt to the bookstore?

Make eye contact with your audience- it calms them, and lets you telepathically suggest they buy four copies of your book. The hardcover one, not the paperback.

Eye contact does in fact draw in your audience, helping them to share your emotions and feelings found within the book. And once they've picked up on this, they won't want to put it down.

Never let them put it down.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

It Begins With an Idea

Your creation -

Maybe it was a recurring sensation that returned only when the lights were low, and the rustle of leaves could be heard from the old oak standing sentinel beside the window. Or perhaps it was a concept that replayed itself whenever a mild breeze wandered elusively from offshore, carrying the salty depths of an ocean to taste and smell and conjure images of adventure and betrayal.

Our ideas come from our environment, a swirl at times of thoughts that need time to settle and begin to form a tale.

A life's story is like that.

The original idea must not be forgotten. Instead, much like a newborn life, it should be nurtured. It must be taught in its own way how to bend along a plot line, how to fall away from the crescendo, and how best to engage with those who long to engage with it.

But it takes time and patience.

An idea does not simply appear fully conceptualized. It whimpers at first, mewing against plot holes and grammar errors and sour notes. It cringes in the creator's protective arms against the chills of syntax confusion and wildly shifting points of view. Nurtured in this way, adjusted and corrected, ideas can be realized as coherent and melodic stories, with happily proceeding trains of thought, responsible exposition, and individualized traits.

With attention, ideas become art.

The writer... the artist... gives birth to something magical. The story develops into a creation of beauty-

To this end, an artist's thoughts during creation should not be of literary marketing, or disseminating publishing sales data, or how best to approach a bookshop or venue for a book signing tour. A writer should not add the stress of online image management and SEO optimization onto the pyre of creative flame - this is where we come in.

We at Spotlight Publicity can take your creation- your heart and sweat - and help you find your audience.

We would like to thank those who we have worked with in the past, and thinking forward, those we will in the weeks and years ahead.

Sometimes, it takes a dedicated ally to realize the results you've worked so hard to achieve.

Let the team at Spotlight Publicity be yours.