Tips On Public Speaking For Authors, Creatives And Other Introverts

Successful writers have to be speakers – eventually literary festivals, podcast interviews, radio and TV shows will be on the cards, and it’s

speaking in bali

Speaking in Ubud, Bali. Travel is one of the reasons I speak!

best to learn to speak before you absolutely HAVE to!

If you want to run a business as an author, professional speaking can add another stream of income to your portfolio, and there are lots more reasons you might consider adding speaking to your repertoire.

I’ve been a professional (i.e. paid) speaker for 6 years now, and I love connecting with audiences in person. But I’m still an introvert who needs a lot of alone time and finds crowds difficult. In this interview, Viv Oyolu from AudioByte interviews me about being an introvert author and a public speaker, and quizzes me on my tips for starting to speak, or improving along the way, as well as managing anxiety. (Viv also has a lovely voice so you’ll enjoy listening!)

You can listen below or here on SoundCloud:

You can also find the interview on Stitcher or iTunes.

public speaking for authors, creatives and other introvertsWant more help?

Everything I know about speaking is included in my book, ‘Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts.’ While much of it is aimed at anyone who wants to speak, there are some specific chapters around introversion, as well as the business side of being a speaker.

This SlideShare contains some of the highlights:

You can find the book in print and ebook formats here:

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Do you have any tips or questions about public speaking? Please leave them in the comments below.

 

How To Create Stronger Bonds With Readers Through Author Appearances

In my reflections on two years as an author-entrepreneur, I noted that relationships continue to be one of the most important things as an author.

handshakeMany of the friends I have now, I met first on Twitter and then our relationships progressed into the physical world. I have found events and conventions incredibly important for the serendipity that occurs when you actually make a physical connection.

In today’s article, YA author Natalie Wright talks about how you can do the same with readers. 

You are a regular here at The Creative Penn, so you know how valuable social media is when it comes to marketing your work. You Tweet, you post to Facebook and you socialize on Goodreads. You pin your heart out on Pinterest, tumble on Tumblr, and plus this and that on Google+.

But is it enough?

If all of your interactions with readers are virtual ones, are you missing out on a powerful, “old-fashioned” marketing interaction?

Are in-person engagements with readers, fans and potential readers worth the time and effort?

I began my adventures in social media about three years ago. When my first book, Emily’s House, launched, I had a small gathering of friends and family. It was the one and only in-person interaction I had with readers until March 2013. Instead of pursuing speaking engagements, I spent my time focusing on writing books and interacting on social media.

But I began to ask the above questions after I had a vendor booth at the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB). It was the first time I had the opportunity to meet, in-person, my actual target audience of girls ages 11-18. Two significant things happened.

First, I sold out of books, thus making the event financially successful.

Second, and more importantly, I got to talk story and hang out with readers for two whole days. I saw the eyes of tween girls light up when I told them what my story was about, and I watched as they walked away from my booth, hugging the book to them.

There is not a single virtual interaction that has come even close to energizing me – thrilling me – as much as the “real” world interaction I had with readers over those two days.

And it got me thinking that maybe we authors should not be so quick to ignore the old-fashioned “dog and pony show” that authors have used for years to build their audience.

Having a grand total of two author meet-and-greets under my belt, I’m a novice in the author appearance category. In order to get a better handle on my questions, I reached out to a few authors with far more experience than myself.

First I spoke with Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles (and a heck of a nice guy).

Why did I reach out to Kevin?

Although I’d heard of Kevin through my meanderings around the Internet, I didn’t become a fan of his until I heard him speak at a fantasy world-building panel at the TFOB in 2012. I was an insta-fan. He was funny, smart and down-to-Earth. I left the meeting room, bought his book and found him on social media. Meeting Kevin in person moved me to make a connection (and buy his book) when I had not been so moved merely by seeing covers of his books or hearing mention of him on the Internet. Who better to talk to than someone that I had discovered because of an author appearance?

Kevin was generous with his time as we chatted about the topics of in-person interactions with readers and how to get the word about your work out to readers. Here are two tips that I distilled from my conversations with Kevin:

1.     With In-Person Appearances, It’s About Quality, not Quantity

Kevin said,

“My first three books came out bam-bam-bam in 2011, and the biggest event I did that year was San Diego Comic Con. I paid my own travel and hotel…. My publisher gave out free copies of the first book and put me in front of a lot of readers. That grew my readership significantly …” Kevin added, “Something that hasn’t worked for me (but may work for others) is small cons, less than 2000 people. I’ve found very few people interested in trying new authors at such events, and the youth is almost entirely absent.”

Kevin’s experience comports with my own experience at the TFOB 2013. Despite cold, rainy weather, the outdoor event was attended by over 70,000 people of all ages. That’s a huge number of potential readers. Kevin adds, “Large events have thus far produced better return on my investment of time and money, so that might be something new authors should consider.”

Is there a well-attended book festival, book fair or comic con near you?

If so, you may be able to pay to have a vendor booth or table. Better yet, look into the application process to be a speaker on a panel or submit a proposal for a topic you’d like to present. Perhaps start with your local area so that you can leverage your personal connections to get family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to attend the event. If you are new to speaking, it may help you to have a few friendly faces in the audience.

2.     Social Media Bridges the Gaps

Personal appearances are more time-consuming and costly for authors than social media. Kevin noted that most readers get a kick out of meeting authors in person and would prefer it, but it’s just not feasible. Kevin thus uses social media to keep the connections forged through his in-person appearances going. He mainly uses his blog, Facebook page and Twitter. (Kevin opines that his fictional Irish wolfhounds character Oberon (@IrishWolfhound) is more popular with Twitter followers than he is!)

As Kevin says,

“I personally enjoy both kinds of interaction – it’s all good for me because heck, I’m overjoyed anybody wants to say howdy, you know?”

I also had a discussion with veteran author Dan Gutman. Dan is most known for his books for elementary school children, and he currently has over 100 books in print. I heard Dan speak at a writer’s conference in 2012 and remembered being impressed by how hard Dan had worked to build his considerable audience. Dan and I spoke and he shared these tips for writers:

1.     If you want to succeed in the writer business, don’t give up.

“I had received hundreds of rejection letters before my first book was published,” Dan said (emphasis added).

From hundreds of rejections to over a hundred books in print, Dan is an example of staying the course and never giving up.

2.     Authors should make an effort to meet readers, in person, when they can.

“[T]here’s something special about meeting an author in person, hearing him or her speak, getting a book signed, a high five, or whatever. You form a connection, and there’s a good chance that a kid who meets you will become a fan, buy your future books, and tell their friends about the experience. Meeting readers virtually is also good, but nothing compares to the real thing. It’s sort of like the difference between hearing a live album and actually being at the same concert.”

But Dan also points out, “There are only so many personal appearances we can make. Travel is no fun at all.”

Sounds like Dan would agree with Kevin’s tips above. Meet as many readers as you can, but stay connected through social media.

3.     Write the best books you possibly can then work hard to promote them.

“[W]rite the best books you possibly can…. If your books are lousy, you’re probably not going to build an audience no matter what else you do.”

After you’ve focused on your craft and have a product you’re proud of, Dan has further tips for making the most of your in-person and other promotional efforts:

  • Create a fantastic presentation and deliver it at every school and library you can handle. Do it for free in the beginning. If you’re good, eventually, you’ll be able to do it for money.
  • Visit every bookstore you can. Introduce yourself to the owner and manager. Sign your books there. Send them information when your new books come out. And when you go on vacation, pop into every bookstore nearby.
  • Post all of your personal appearance in advance on your Facebook page, website, blog and any other place you reach your audience.
  • At book signings, be the nicest guy (or gal) in the world. Shake hands. Thank everybody for coming. Make eye contact. Never let ‘em know that you’re exhausted. Sign stock. Never complain. Make everyone happy.
  • Lastly, Dan said, “Bust your ass. Every day. Nobody ever got successful by sitting around doing nothing.”

Action Plan

Create a plan for this year that includes at least three in-person appearances where you can interact with your target audience. Continue to consistently use social media for daily interaction with readers.

What speaking engagements or author events can you set up for yourself this year? Get creative. Consider what value you bring to the table then deliver. Reach out.

If you’re worried about physical appearances or need more help on the mechanics of speaking, Joanna has a book out that may help, “Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts.”

I’ll be doing an author appearance at a library this month, a book signing at a local indie bookstore next month, and I’ll be in the Author’s Pavilion at the TFOB in March. This is what I’ve lined up so far. I’m taking Dan Gutman’s advice and I’ll reach out to schools and libraries this year as well as other bookstores.

And I have a new mantra to print out and post prominently where I can see it every day:

Bust Your Ass Every Day

Have you had experience with meeting readers in-person? If so, do you think it was worthwhile? Do you plan to reach out to readers through in-person appearances this year? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

emilysheartNatalie Wright is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a middle-grade through young adult paranormal fantasy trilogy. Her newest release, Emily’s Heart, released February 1, 2014.

Formerly a divorce attorney, Natalie now focuses her working-day time on writing fiction, being a paid beta reader, blogging, interacting with readers through social media, and writing guest post articles for a variety of blogs. You can connect with Natalie on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Wattpad

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons handshake by AK Rockefeller

Why Authors, Creatives And Other Introverts Should Consider Public Speaking

I’m a professional speaker, as well as an author. I’m also an introvert.

public speaking for authors creatives and other introvertsPublic speaking is an important part of my creative business, currently making up around 30% of my income. It helps me to market my books, travel all expenses paid, and meet amazing people, but it also enables me to share a message of empowerment with writers, which I find amazingly rewarding.

When I spoke at the London Book Fair in April 2013, I mentioned that I was an introvert, someone who recharges by being alone, not uncommon for authors! I had so many comments about it that I decided to write a book for people like me.

“Public speaking for authors, creatives and other introverts” is available now on Amazon and also on Kobo. It’s at launch pricing of 2.99 until 19 Jan, when the price will go up to 5.99. It’s an info-packed resource that will help you with the practicalities of speaking, the mindset as well as the business aspects.

Here are some of the possible reasons you might decide to speak, excerpted from the book.

(1) Sharing your message. Helping and inspiring people

One of the most rewarding things about speaking is sharing your message and changing people’s lives. If you’re passionate about your topic and you communicate well, you will touch individuals, sometimes in unexpected ways. The light dawning in someone’s eyes as they suddenly understand that their life can change is fantastic, and I think many of us speak to help others. This is intrinsic reward, and the reason why some people speak for free to groups that might not be able to afford professional speakers otherwise.

Whenever I am exhausted from speaking and traveling, and think that perhaps I want to give it up, this is the anchor I hold on to. I made a commitment when I started this blog in 2008, that I wanted to help release a million books into the world. Every person that I empower to write, publish and market their book adds to the tally, and whenever I speak, I add a few more to the list. Whatever you speak about, consider how you might change people’s lives.

(2) Speaking can be personally transformative

When you craft a talk, you have to organize your thoughts into a coherent structure and lead people through a story. This

Guardian Speaking Masterclass

Teaching a Guardian Masterclass

helps to order your own thoughts, and can change the way in which you think about a topic. Writing this book has helped me to clarify further what I want from my own speaking career, and we often teach what we need to learn the most.

Going outside your comfort zone is also valuable for personal development, and speaking in front of a crowd is one of those skills that can transform you and give you more confidence. It can help you to face your fears and help you through helping others. You also have to share your own stories and personal experiences, and I’ll come back to this in more detail later, but in sharing from your heart, you can confront your own problems.

(3) Marketing your creative work and harnessing word-of-mouth marketing

Speaking enables you to connect directly with people, and they are more likely to become fans of your creative work through seeing your face and hearing your voice. If people listen to you and see you in action, they get to know you better. They can ask you questions and you can demonstrate your knowledge. You connect with individuals this way, and great marketing is best done with a personal connection.

Joanna Penn speaking at a Berlin publishing conference

Speaking in Berlin

If you give a fantastic talk or seminar, if you are memorable for all the right reasons, people may well talk about you to their friends. This generates word-of-mouth publicity for you, the very best kind. People may buy your books or creative products, or attend your next workshop.

(4) Stand out from the crowded market

Thousands of books, and millions of creative products are put on sale each week, so how do you stand out? Being a professional speaker can mark you out, because most people would rather do practically anything else than speak in public. You have an advantage if you speak, because you can say yes to new opportunities.

(5) Successful creatives have to speak anyway

Best-selling authors and creatives speak at festivals, conventions and events and also appear on the radio, TV, and other media. Therefore, if you want to plan for success, you need to prepare for these events and make sure that you fulfill the audience’s expectations when you get there. I’ve been at many literary festivals where authors have given a poor performance and it has affected the way in which they are perceived by the audience.

In comparison, I saw Ms Cupcake, a creative cake-maker, speak at a women’s event. She was enthusiastic and passionate, demonstrating confidence in her business. As a creative entrepreneur, she has gone on to have a TV show, best-selling books, and a thriving cupcake business.

(6) Multiple streams of income

Speakers can earn a good speaking fee for a keynote speech, but can also run workshops or other events that may generate significant income. Many speakers sell books and products at events, but you can also include the price of a piece of your work in the cover charge so that all attendees get one as part of the event. ‘Back of the room’ sales are almost guaranteed if you give a great talk/workshop/seminar, because people want to take something of you home. Speaking has enabled me to become a full-time creative entrepreneur, making up around 40% of my income.

(7) Expenses-paid travel

speaking in bali

Speaking in Ubud, Bali

This may be more of a personal reason, but I’m a travel junkie and one of my goals around professional speaking is to use it as a vehicle for travel experiences. When I speak in different cities, or even a different country, I generally stay on for a day or two after the event and experience a new place. This might negate the ‘income’ goal in many instances, but I often get ideas for my novels when I travel and so it is a life priority for me. It nourishes my soul!

(8) Serendipity

You never know who is in the audience when you speak, or what will come from your appearance on that particular day. It may be that someone talks to someone else and suddenly you get a call that changes everything. You’ll never know unless you put yourself out there.

Those are some of the reasons I speak. I hope it might encourage you to consider speaking too.

“Public speaking for authors, creatives and other introverts” is available now on Amazon and also on Kobo. It’s at launch pricing of 2.99 until 19 Jan, when the price will go up to 5.99.

Yes, I am available to speak internationally :) Here’s my speaking page and testimonials if you’d like more detail.

Do you do any public speaking? Do you want to, or do you dread it? Please do share your thoughts, comments and recommendations below.

Performing Your Work: Reading Your Book Aloud

Professional speaking is a core part of my business these days, but I am still scared silly about reading my own fiction aloud. I am hugely impressed by performance poetry in particular, and it is something I aspire to do one day.

microphoneToday’s article is from Dan Holloway, novelist, performance poet and spoken word artist. Dan is someone I respect a lot for his creativity and proudly independent approach.

Performing your work: The whites of their eyes

There is all sorts of business speak I could reel off about interfacing and sticky contacts but as I want this piece to sound less like a 50 Shades parody and more like practical, hands on advice to help you get the most out of talking direct, in person, right at the whites of the eyes, to your readers, I’ll leave the ‘business case’ for going out and giving readings at this:

Nothing cements your story, and you, in someone’s mind quite so much as hearing it straight from your mouth, read with every ounce of the passion that drove you to write it in the first place.

That love for your story as you read from it and talk about it is what makes all those lights of connection go off in a reader’s head that mean not only do they feel they must have this book, but they must read it and they must tell everyone they know about it.

Now, OK, that “with every ounce of the passion that drove you to write it” bit is something that sends many writers scurrying for the nearest curtain to hide behind. But that’s the bit I hope I can help you with. I am as shy a person as you could meet. Put me in a party and I will run for the corner and surround myself with an aura of “don’t come near me” until the whole sorry experience is over. But, even though I still go through a cycle of overwhelming nerves before any kind of reading, I have both learned to manage and direct those into my performance, and come to love being in front of an audience more than pretty much anything else in my creative life.

I want to look very briefly at three sets of considerations that I hope will help you to give readings that you love and through which you gain readers who will stick with you for life.

What kind of reading?

Not everyone is suited to the same kind of reading. You need to read somewhere that’s suitable both for you personally and for the kind of book you have. Fortunately, there are more kinds of reading springing up than ever. Of course, the staple remains bookshops, libraries, and schools. But for those of you who write genre fiction, probably the best places for you to approach are conferences and festivals specializing in your genre.

There is also an increase in spoken word performance nights that embrace prose as well as poetry. The trail is being blazed by events like Literary Death Match, Book Slam, Grit Lit, and Short Stories Aloud but reaches down through all levels to the open mic nights that run in almost every town. In fact, I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone to begin with an open mic night. You will get used to the mechanics of reading to an audience, you may well make some new fans, but the spotlight won’t be on you.

And if you can’t find something suitable, don’t be afraid to approach a venue and ask to set up your own event. That’s how I started, with a pleasant conversation with my local bookstore, politely asking if I could hold something there. Within weeks, I started approaching galleries and cafes, two months later I was standing on stage at Rough Trade Records in Brick Lane, and less than six months after my first reading I somehow wound up in front of more than 100 people in Shoreditch winning Literary Death Match (Not Safe For Work). The door for readings, in other words, is as open as you want it to be.

What do I read?

Now, I started off by saying that the best thing about readings is making an audience fall in love with your book. This is where I go back on that a little. One of the best literary events is Short Stories Aloud. Each event features two well-known authors who write a short story which is then read to the audience by a professional actor. It works wonderfully, even though the writers are usually novelists.

The reason is that the very best reading will do three things:
•     hold the audience’s attention from start to finish
•    make the audience desperate for more
•    showcase all your talents

The inconvenient truth is that very few passages from a novel will do all three, or even two, of those.

A great reading, to do all of these should:

•    Be short. 8 minutes is the longest you can possibly keep an audience rapt. 5 minutes is about right for prose. You can, of course, do more than one 5 minute piece during an evening.

•    Show all your talents – however experimental your style, the best readings have a clear narrative arc, and will demonstrate your skills at pacing, description, and dialogue.

A short story will usually accomplish these better than a novel excerpt.

What do I do?

So, you have a reading lined up, and you know what you’ll read. You have the right audience and the right material, so how do you ensure that they will come away inspired and wanting to be a lifelong fan?

The best piece of advice I was ever given came from a writer friend who’s also a professional actor. She told me, “figure out in advance what to do with your spare hand“. The following tips will all help you to perform to the very best of your ability.

•    Rehearse. Lots. And then more.

•    Go to the venue in advance. Stand/sit where you’ll be standing/sitting for the reading. Get to know the layout of the room so you feel comfortable there.

•    When you do that, pick an object in the room, close to where the audience will be, to read to. That way you won’t be distracted by not knowing where to look.

•    Figure out in advance what to do with your spare hand. Holding a book in one hand really is distracting in a way that you won’t realize until you get there and feel this thing waving around by your side. Practice an action, hold something, even put it in your pocket, but plan what you’ll do.

•    Learn to breathe from your diaphragm, and learn breath control so that you only ever have to breathe on the commas and full stops.

•    If you only invest in one thing, make it an acting lesson.

•    Don’t worry if you’re nervous. You will be. You certainly should be. That’s because you care and want to give your audience a fabulous time. If you have done all of the above, you will have maximized your chance of being able to work through the nerves and channel them into giving a great performance. This is why you need to do all these things in advance (and especially learn your breath control), because when they confront a nervous you they can send your mind in a hundred directions. If you know the space, and are comfortable with your actions and your material, that won’t happen.

And practically:

•    Ensure that you have water. Ask the venue but bring your own in case.

•    Always have cards/bookmarks with you.

•    Bring enough books, and check the sales arrangements with the venue. Bookstores may want to check your books in as stock and then take their discount. That, after all, is how they make their living, and doing what the venue likes is courteous and the key to a long-term relationship.

•    Bring a piece of paper for your mailing list and actively pass it around the audience.

•    Have a friend in the audience that you trust to be honest to give you feedback – and ideally to film you so that you can learn for next time.

Most of all, enjoy it.

Do you have any questions about performing your work? Or experience with performing or reading live? We’d love to hear about it. Please leave your comments and questions below.

dan hollowayDan Holloway is a novelist, performance poet and spoken word artist. He has read stories in venues as diverse as Rough Trade East, Modern Art Oxford, Brighton Fringe, and Afflecks Palace in Manchester, and is a multiple slam-winning poet whose one-man show, Some of These Things are Beautiful premiered at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

He is the MC of the spoken word show The New Libertines which has toured literary festivals and fringes across the UK. You can keep up with all his events and download his books from his website.

Photo Credit: Wyaland Thor Badger

Book Marketing: 9 Activities to Boost Your Author Career

There are millions of books out there, increasing in volume faster as the technology makes it easier to publish, so how do you stand out from the crowd?

crowdI don’t believe there is only one answer, but I do think you need to do something to get noticed, stand out from the crowd and get your book sales started. Here’s some different ideas from Dana Sitar, author of ‘A Writer’s Bucket List‘.

You know you’re supposed to write a blog and be active on social media. You’re following all the tips you’ve ever heard for marketing your books through these channels — even trying the ones that contradict each other — but you always wonder if you could do more. If you feel stuck in a rut and searching for new ways to build your platform and promote your books, here are nine ideas to add to your arsenal:

1. Enter a contest.

Placing in and winning contests add to your credits and, depending on the contest, can afford you great cash prizes and opportunities in your field, like attending a writers conference or having your work published in a major publication. Prestigious leaders in the industry often judge the right contests, so even if you don’t place, you have a chance to put your work in front of people you couldn’t otherwise touch.

Writing for contests can also be a great motivator for fiction writers. Where non-fiction writers often have assignments and deadlines to guide their writing habit, fiction writers often have to be more self-motivated. Contest themes can afford you inspiration when you’re feeling blocked, and the deadlines force you to adhere to a writing schedule.

2. Submit stories to literary journals.

Rather than pining away your whole life and betting your entire career on a novel, break into publishing with baby steps. Without worrying whether you’ll be accepted, start submitting short stories or poetry to literary journals. Working with editorial guidelines and learning to accept inevitable rejection will help steel you for other endeavors in publishing. Even if you never have a story published, the experience of submitting and the feedback you’ll occasionally receive from thoughtful editors will be invaluable for strengthening your creative and professional skills.

Some magazines will even pay for your stories, so this is a great way to build an additional income stream so you don’t have to rely on book sales.

3. Create digital products.

Use your writing skills to develop more than stories. Create a helpful ebook, manifesto, an e-guide, or an online course. These may come very late in your career as a way to impart your wisdom, or early on as a way to share your work and connect with new readers.

Get creative! Being an author doesn’t mean you have to create products to teach other authors. Create products that will help you reach your readers. Write a free manifesto from the point-of-view of your main character. Create an e-guide to the capital city in your fantasy world. Develop an online course to share tips and recipes in the style of cooking your characters are famous for. Diversifying the products you create will help you not only reach a broader audience but also broaden your own knowledge and your voice.

4. Produce a book trailer.

For at least one book you publish, write and produce a trailer video. I mean do it yourself — or, at least, work very closely with the professional you hire to do it for you. Even if you don’t want to be responsible for this step for all of your books, going through the process at least once will help you develop new skills, and understanding it will prepare you to work with publishers on marketing future books.

Videos are a fantastic marketing tool, even when they’re marketing books. Developing a multi-media presence online will not only help you reach a wider audience but will also greatly enhance your appeal to the audience you already have.

5. Write a column for a newspaper or newsletter.

I know: You’re a fiction writer, not a journalist. But, why would people buy your book if they don’t know who you are? Maybe they’ll recognize your name from your book review column in the library’s newsletter, or your pontificating in the local weekly.

Even if the focus of your writing career is not on freelance news writing, you can make steady income and gain at least local recognition from a regular column (national or international if you work with an e-newsletter). Your column gives readers a chance to sample your writing and get to know you without investing additional time to read your blog or money to buy your books.

6. Meet other writers in person.

Some of the best education you’ll find in any art form comes from the people who are doing what you do — or better, what you dream to do. Getting to know others who share and understand your interests and goals also comes with a unique comfort and camaraderie that even the most supportive group of non-writer friends or family can’t quite offer.

If you’re exclusively active in online forums, social media, or blogging, make an effort to connect in real life with some of the people you know online. You don’t have to shell out the time and money to attend a writers conference or retreat (though, those are also good options). Just pay attention to where your online friends are living or traveling, and send an occasional “Let’s grab coffee” email when they’re in your area.

7. Find and keep a good critique partner.

You know the value of getting a second opinion on anything you write. That value increases greatly when the opinion comes from someone who understands your voice, style, and intentions well. Finding a skilled writer with whom to swap critiques throughout your career will do wonders for your writing and your brand. Start with finding a critique group in your area through (Meetup is a great place to start), or an online group like LadiesWhoCritique, and work with a few people to find your ideal partnership.

8. Generate an email list.

“Permission marketing” is the buzzword phrase of the day, and building an email list is its most basic manifestation. When a reader gives you an email address, they expect and welcome correspondence from you. It gives you an opportunity to make promises, which creates expectations, and keep them, which fosters goodwill, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Writing an email newsletter is one of the best ways to build an email list, because it allows you to offer something of value — news, information, or just another way of connecting — to your readers in exchange for permission to contact them. If your fan base is loyal enough, you may be able to get readers to sign up just to hear your news. If you’re still working to grow your audience, try offering an incentive to sign up — many authors and bloggers offer a free item when readers join their list (your new digital product could come in handy here!)

9. Speak at live events.

Successfully capturing the attention of an audience — or, even better, eliciting an emotional response like laughter or tears — is one of the greatest highs you will experience in life. That massive payoff is probably why it’s so nerve-wracking for most people. Get through it a few times, and your self-confidence will soar through the roof.

Writers can too easily neglect live events, because we’re often quiet, behind-the-scenes people. We want our work to speak for itself. But stepping out in front of audience helps you connect with readers and potential readers in a more real, more memorable way. Live events also offer more pragmatic benefits: Readers will be more likely to purchase your paperback in person than online, where they can compare it to the cheaper ebook option, and meet-and-greets allow you to hand-sign copies of your book, turning them into personal mementos for your readers.

Do you have any advice or experience with these different ways of getting attention for your writing? Or any other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

bucket listWant more ideas to boost your writing career and ignite your creativity? My latest book, AWritersBucketList is a launching point for all the possibilities of being a writer. Grab the PDF today, or the book is also available on Kindle here.

About the Author

Dana Sitar is a freelance blogger and author ofAWritersBucketList’, 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket. She shares resources, tips, and tools for writers in search of a path through the blog, books, and community at DIYWriting.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons Alex Kess Raincoats