Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Social Media for Authors a smash success!

Tonight I taught the Social Media for Aspiring Authors class at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe. Not to toot my own horn (again), but I think it was smash success. The audience really seemed hungry for the content, and kept leading me right to my next point. And I only had to pull the "It's 2010" card once! Based on the feedback, I'm certain that Brandon and I will be working on a more formal workshop schedule. Excellent!

For those that made it: thank you. I truly enjoyed all of your comments and feedback. Thank you for being such an attentive audience.

And for those who didn't... well, it's hard to convey what we covered. I considered posting my outline, but I don't think in complete sentences. And I sure as heck don't outline that way. But here are the broad strokes:

  • We spent a good deal of time talking about the power of free. This is always a contentious topic, especially when talking to authors. And while I received a few questioning looks when I started, I think I won them over. Not that I attempted to convince them to give their stuff away for free. Not at all. But I did convince them that some authors are finding ways to use free to gain readers, book deals and real sales. They also walked away understanding this trend isn't a flash in the pan -- it will continue. And they have to try and work in that world.

  • I introduced my "Three Tees that Plague Underpublished Authors" concept. It went over well and I think made my further points hit home that much stronger. They are:

    1. Quality -- Can you hire the rest of the production team to make your book exceptional?
    2. Quantity -- You need more where that came from. Period.
    3. Obscurity -- By and large, people aren't waiting to steal your work. Because they don't know your work exists.

    Who said anything about them starting with "T"?

  • Done is better than perfect, great is better than OK, but success comes when you create something that is truly remarkable. Those terrible books that are terribly popular? They are so because they are remarkable. How do you create something remarkable? [Insert Your Answer Here]

  • Yes, we got specific on social media properties. But it wasn't the focus. Nor should a talk like this ever focus on tools. Tool-specific talks can, but not a survey class. We covered Gmail (there was and is a purpose, trust me), Google Alerts, Facebook, LinkedIN and blogging. Notice anyone missing?

    One common misconception I had to correct at least twice -- updating once a month. That's not nearly enough. How much is enough? Well... more is better than less. If you're trying to do weekly, someone is successfully doing it daily. YMMV.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Evo Terra signing Anne's book, courtesy of Nick Bastian"]Evo Terra signing Anne's book[/caption]And then suddenly, the two hours were over. Yes, like that. And someone brought a copy of one of my books and asked me to sign it! Thanks, Anne!

But not to worry. I'll be back. Based on the questions during the class and the feedback I heard afterward, there's a great need for more of this. Let's do it! Keep watching here and the Changing Hands website. I'm sure you'll see more -- and more formalized -- classes with me starting up quickly!

Quick question: do I stick with "for Aspiring Authors" or switch over to my personal favorite " for Underpublished Authors"? I'm obviously biased, and much of this depends on what CH wants to do. But your comments would be helpful to steer us in the right direction...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Workshop: Social Media for the Aspiring Author

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Changing Hand Bookstore crowd"]Changing Hand Bookstore crowd[/caption]I think the writeup for this workshop I'm teaching says all there is to say:

Social media is often touted as the Holy Grail, a sure path to publishing success. But what about aspiring authors who don't have tens of thousands of fans waiting in the wings? Can social media help boost a budding novelist's career? Yes. And no. For nearly a decade, Evo Terra has been helping "underpublished" authors approach the world of new media. The co-author of Podcasting for Dummies, he's been a nationally syndicated radio show host, and is an influential social media practitioner. He's as jaded as he is excited about the opportunities offered by new media, and brings real-world examples germane to any author with dreams of publishing success. FREE.

The workshop is entitled Social Media for the Aspiring Author, and I'm teaching it at Changing Hands Bookstore on Tuesday, July 20 2010 from 6:30-8:30p. Changing Hands is an independent bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. They do an excellent job of introducing authors large and small to the general public and are probably the most frequented bookstores in town when authors are making their rounds across the country.

My friend and occasional co-conspirator Michael A. Stackpole teaches there regularly, often covering the topic of building a career as writer in a digital world. My approach (and hopefully my audience) will be a bit different, as I plan on addressing the foundational elements before the word "career" comes into play. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. You know. Just like everything.

So if you or someone you know might be interested, tell them about it. This first class is a free one!