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...

10 comments:

  1. Great outline! It's nice to see what you think the talk was about and compare it to what I think the talk was about. Thankfully, the two were mostly the same...

    I like the phrase "underpublished authors" better, but it might be better to stick with "aspiring authors." "Underpublished" makes me think of people who have already been in the publishing market and want more. "Aspiring" could mean those underpublished people as well as writers who are brand spankin' new to publishing. "Aspiring authors" is also a more common and recognizable phrase. They're almost the same, but there's a slight perception difference and it could affect your audience.

    BUT... while your talk could be helpful to anyone, it was geared more towards the first set: those with a manuscript and up. So I guess you have to decide what you want your talks to be about and who you want to teach.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, my new Gravatar is working! Huzzah!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to comment again because I'm still thinking about your question.

    My solution would be to stick with "aspiring authors" in the title of the course, but explain your preference for "underpublished." So... exactly how you did it this time around. You could even mention it as early as the event description itself. I think that combo will ensure lots of people click on the title, but then have the chance to connect with you right away because you're letting them in on a little info.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your feedback, Jessica. My concern with "aspiring" is this: one person contacted me to see if her 14 year old daughter should come to the class, as she's expressed a desire to become a writer. Those are her "aspirations". Where you and the rest of those in attendance -- I assume -- all had at least one manuscript at hand and were looking to gain exposure.

    So you may have the right of it. Which means I may have gotten it correct out of the gate. Say "aspiring" and then add clarity. Sounds like good advice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How about "Social Media for Aspiring and Underpublished Authors"?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sometimes the simplest answers are right in front of us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Evo, somehow I missed this. Glad you had a good turnout of enthusiastic authors. I am hoping you can do this again sometime soon. Out of curiosity, what would you say was the diversity of the audience? How many were familiar with some tools and used them? How many had not ventured into the social media 'verse? Any actually podcasting, blogging, or otherwise making their work available (in whole or in part) for free?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd say some had basic understanding & usage. For a few, I was talking about all new stuff to them. None were trying the free route, by many are now intrigued. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Glad to hear it. I can say that I'm getting an Amazon royalty check this year, something I haven't seen for a while, directly because of podcasting my novel. Also folks have found the ebook version on Smashwords, too, and this is directly because of the link from Podiobooks.com. So, The Power of Free definitely works, even for a hack unknown from AZ. ;^)

    ReplyDelete
  10. [...] attended a seminar on social media and had a brief chat with the speaker afterward. We now keep in touch through social media, and he [...]

    ReplyDelete