Friday, August 15, 2008

Speak Up - It's Part of an Author's Job

Tip of the Day: Have you heard of the web site It's this cool web site that tracks Amazon rankings over the course of time. If you're curious how one title compares to another, you can pull up both and see what the 7-day, 30-day, and lifetime averages are of those books. It's really cool!

In the next couple of months, I’m honored to be doing not one, but TWO presentations at some wonderful conferences right in my own backyard. I’ll be speaking with four other members of the Class of 2k8 at the Pacific NW Bookseller’s Association on group marketing. And in October I’ll be speaking with one other member from the Class of 2k8 at the Oregon/Washington School Library Conference about books for reluctant readers.

A lot of people hate the idea of public speaking. Many writers, especially, struggle with it because we aren’t the stand-up-and-be-loud types. We are the sit-there-quietly-talking-to-our-characters-inside-our-heads types.

And I mean, it is scary getting up and talking in front of people. What if you forget what you want to say? What if you’re so boring people would rather go home and watch a documentary on how broccoli grows than continue listening to you? Or what if NO ONE shows up to hear you in the first place?
Or maybe you're thinking, that wouldn't be so terrible!

Over the years, I’ve had the chance to do presentations for my day job. The first ones, early in my career, were really, REALLY bad. I learned quickly that I needed to find a good role model and watch, listen, and learn. And so I did.

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

Don’t talk too fast. And remember to BREATHE as you talk. I know, you're going, um, that's obvious Lisa. But seriously, you can get into trouble quickly if you aren’t taking breaths in as you talk, then you’re out of breath, and your voice starts shaking because you’re trying to catch your breath, and it just goes down hill from there.

Use audience participation to your advantage. If you need a minute to catch your breath, or figure out where you’re at in your presentation, ask the audience a question. Who here has... or What do you think about... Something that takes the pressure off YOU for a minute. Besides, audience participation is a good thing. It keeps things interesting!

The more you can make people laugh, the better. Now, I’m far from a stand-up comic. I wish I was! But just a few things sprinkled throughout that will make your audience laugh will make everyone feel more relaxed. If you can’t think of anything funny to SAY, look for comics or quotes or something you can pop into your slide show for a little comic relief that way.

Once a book is published, promoting is part of our job. Speaking at conferences is a great way to get your name and book title out to a lot of people. Although I have a lot of work to prepare for these presentations in the next couple of months, overall, I'm looking forward to them.

What about you? Do you like this part of being an author? Why or why not? Any tips you'd like to share?

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed


Emily Marshall said...

Have fun at the conferences Lisa. I'm sure you'll do wonderful. You speak so well on all your vlogs!!

I don't mind public speaking as long as I know exactly what I'm going to say. But I would be a horrible wreck just improvising. Questions are okay, but that's about as much free-speaking as I can take.

Kate Fall said...

That's great that you have two conferences lined up in the near future. How do you get engagements? Does your agent help?

Lisa Schroeder said...

Em, I agree, improvising is not very fun. Preparation is the key for me too.

Kate - The class of 2k8 has really helped identify opportunities. Once you know what's out there in your area, you usually have to do a proposal explaining what you have in mind in the way of a presentation and what benefits it would provide. My agent hasn't gotten involved in any promotion stuff thus far.

Kristina Springer said...

I just got my author questionnaire yesterday and one of the questions asks are you open to school/library visits, bookstore signings, newspaper/magazine interviews, television appearances etc. I'm like, yes, yes. yes! Not sure if I'll really feel this way if they ever ask for some of these things but I guess we'll see!

DeenaML said...

Lisa, you left tip #4 off your list: Xanax. :)

That's so great you have the two engagements lined up! I'd be like Tina, saying "Hell yes!" and inside quivering, but with excitement and nerves.