Monday, April 23, 2018

Let's Get Established: Author Q & A Tips

Jacob, Jackson, and Lindsey share on their book, "The Universe is Indifferent".
Last fall, a few fellow Wipf and Stock authors invited me into a convo on enhancing their upcoming book signing event. Below were my two cents for Jackson Lashier, Jacob Goodson, and Lindsey Graber, who are some of the voices behind, "The Universe is Indifferent: Theology, Philosophy and Mad Men."  

Book signings are always way more enjoyable for the reader (and extroverted authors) when it is accompanied by a Q&A session. I hope you find this helpful and if you are seeking more marketing advice from an actual professional (#notMe), there's no one who will care more about you and the work to which you have been called than George Kao.  Seriously--the guy is so accessible, soulful and skilled. 

Part 1: Establish Yourself as a Local/Human  

Potential buyers love to support their own. Not only does it fill them with pride to have one of their neighbors doing great work, but they are also naturally more curious about said work because of a prior knowledge of you.

Mingle before and after the Q&A session to assist with this. Humanize yourself a bit. You are not just some Times New Roman name on a cover. You are a Cowley resident who is a: father, husband, daughter, and friend who also frequents Winfield’s hot-spot (College Hill Coffee). Kick-off the Q&A session by sharing your favorite CHC drink or where your favorite writing spots are around town.

Part 2: Establish Yourself as Competent 

This (sharing a CV of sorts) can simply occur in the intro by the moderator, or through a question. In my experience, it feels most comfortable (to all involved) coming from a voice other than the author's.

Remain authentic and humble. A conceited attitude is a big turn-off for potential buyers. (Pardon me as I state the obvious for you today!😉) Authentic marketing happens naturally when one is promoting something that a) he/she was vocationally called to create and b) he/she truly believes in the benefit it will have on the life of the customer. If these things are in place, humility and authenticity come naturally during marketing-like conversations.

As of 2013, there were 1 million books published each year in America (half of those were self-published). So what puts your book on their wish-list this Holiday?

Part 3: Establish this Book as a Must-read 

Donald Miller teaches us to make sure that every moment of marketing passes the “caveman test.”  This teaches that since potential buyers are super-busy, any type of pitch we make (spoken/written) needs to be put in such a simplistic (not synonymous to dumbing-down) way that a caveman could understand it. This calls us to use simpler language. Once you have a potential buyer committed, then you can dive deeper with him/her. Keep this in mind as you answer questions from folks who have yet to read your book.

One challenge for this book will be selling it to the non-academic types. No worries, this can be/should be done!

One selling point for this crowd could be, “According to a CBS poll, MadMen was the 13th most watched show on Netflix. Don’t you hate being in a “show-hole”? Ugh--it stinks! It nearly feels like you broke up with someone (“someone” being those fictitious characters that have lived in your TV for two months). The Universe is Indifferent is a cure for the show-hole that finishing MadMen causes. It gives you a chance to remain in that 1960s advertising world. It gives you a sweet reunion with those intriguing characters that you love to hate.  It allows you to keep on exploring (while experts hold your hand) the many underlying themes of theology, philosophy, gender equality and so on. Why not make your binge-watching a little more prestigious? Why not see how this eye-opening read can equip you for our current political climate? Books are on sale now!”

Part 4: Establish Yourself as a Trustworthy Resource 

In our current political climate, people are seeking out trustworthy resources to help strengthen their views on hot-button issues. You can be this resource.

Share that you are willing (if you are) to come and share at any community organization, class, or book club. Share that this book is only a peek into your repertoire of skills/interests. Share other topics on which you enjoy speaking.

Share your email and social media handles if you have them. These should be verbally shared by you or the moderator, and also placed on a table-tent by the books so people can snap a picture of your contact info. Make contact info very visible, so when questions come to potential buyers two-days later, they can reach out to you. (While social media is important, Maria Forleo teaches that your best marketing tool is your website. Plug it!💪😁💻)

With social media and websites, authors are more available to readers than ever been before, and an author who is interested in being in conversation with her readers will naturally sell more books than those who don’t--especially if the writer is also a practitioner.

If you are a book lover or an author, what would you like to see happen at more author Q&A sessions? Please share these thoughts in the comment section! ❤✌💬