Monday, January 23, 2012

What do you say when people ask?

So I went to a family reunion this weekend and guess what happened? Everyone asked about my writing.

They asked about work and the family, sure, but they wanted to know about my short stories and forthcoming novel.

What's it about? they all asked. Where can I buy it? Do you have business cards? Where is your website? When will it be released?

That's when I went Fudd on them and started stammering. I had no idea what to say!

It embarrassed me. I don't like discussing my work, because when I say it out loud, it sounds (to me) ridiculous.

God love my wife. She started talking me up, and hearing her talk relaxed me. Then I started talking easier about the story lines, and after a while I felt more like I was networking than visiting with family.

It was weird to hand out business cards to my family. But they took them, and I think they are genuinely excited about the book.

The business cards, of course, were for my business, not for my book and writing, and I looked as be-Fudd-led as I felt.

So I give you this as advice, as well as myself, regarding the arting of writing.

Get some business cards

There's a thought, eh. I will probably generate a logo for myself. Speaking of which...


Not sure on this one. For me, yes, I will create a logo. If you do it yourself, keep it simple, with as few colors as possible, and don't go changing it every few weeks. Make sure you can zoom in or out without losing resolution. You will need Photoshop if you are serious about it, or you can find free logo companies online.

Know your long and short

Be ready with a one-sentence blurb about your book. My blurb it this: It's about a redneck in a spacesuit who sits in a lawn chair and stares at the moon.

Then you can field questions after that little intro. I need to practice more.

Website and email

If you don't already, get a website and an email. I use my business email, and I own the website and redirect it here.

Have a central location for all your work

I keep track of my work and publications right here on this blog. I try to make it easy for folks to find and purchase my work.

Be professional on your blog

Too late for that one, eh.

Anyway, enough about all that. I need to polish my marketing and conversation skills so I am better prepared in the future.

How about you? Have you been taken off-guard about your current career and dream pursuits? Do you stammer when they ask what it's about and how it's going?

Buh buh buh, buh-da, That's all, folks.

- Eric


Roland D. Yeomans said...

How many people go and read past posts? Not many I bet. Blogs are like people. Be the image today that you want to seen as. People will take you at face value. What you say about yourself is how most folks will take you.

This is a great post. I don't know about the webpage. It is too static, never changing. And people visit for new content.

I do have business cards and a bookmark for THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. It amuses my best friend, Sandra, to no end. A book mark for a Kindle book without pages! Great post, Roland

G Blechman said...

It depends who asks. Some people I can't wait to tell my ideas too. Others I feel like "do you REALLY care to hear all this? You couldn't POSSIBLY want to know it all." Particularly with family, because I guess I feel like they're just trying to be nice. I really do have to work on my one-sentence pitch thing still. I thought I had it down, but I've been editing stuff so many times... I think that's the hardest thing to explain. To me, spending hundreds of hours writing and editing and editing (and editing...and editing) a manuscript is worth it. But when people ask how the work is going and all I can say is "well, I'm still editing, but I made some good advancements..." UGH.

Anyway. Enough ranting. Thanks for a great post.

<3 Gina Blechman

Laura Josephsen said...

I've been caught in that position, too--I feel weird talking up my work sometimes, LOL. I've been better about remembering that I DO have business cards in my wallet, though. ;) It's a learning experience going from "writer" for so many years to "writer/marketer".

Great advice here!

Wine and Words said...

Hmmm..well no. No one asks about my business pursuits. But they ask about my husband, and those are always fun questions to stammer through. If I could melt into the floor half the time I would. Go wifey! She came to your rescue. It's always easier to sell someone else than it is yourself. That's why we get publishers, and managers, and advertising executives. You're gonna do alright. I have complete faith in you.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Excellent list, Eric! And I agree - use a logo on your business cards, not your book cover. It looks more professional. Besides, what do you do with the old cards when another book comes out?

Anne Gallagher said...

Lucky you. At my last family reunion, when someone asked about my book and I gave them my practiced logline, they said, "Oh that's nice" and walked away. I get more interest from strangers in the grocery store.

I wish I had business cards, but bigger maybe 2x3 so I can fit all my covers on it. I was lucky, I'm writing a series so I can use them in that way.

But Diane, and you, are right. I should probably get some regular ones done up too.

Great post.

Stephanie said...

Yeah..I was there. But I think I have gotten the hang of it! Thansk to hubby's Grandpa! he always asks me about my books! He's so awesome! :) Good luck!

dolorah said...

I still get stage fright whenever my co-workers ask me about my writing. I still feel like its some big secret :)

Glad I'm not the only one who feels weird about it.

Good points here Eric.

I'm looking forward to reading your book.


Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

You will get over it, I promise you. After signing books in my first ever book fair this past fall, it has become a lot easier for me to talk about my writing.

It's weird for us, but people are genuinely interested. You'll get used to it.