Friday, April 17, 2009

Dealing with the presence?

So, anon, asked this yesterday...

Question of the day- has anyone found a way to deal with the near-mandatory demand that one now have a "public presence" in addition to being a writer?

Guess what, this is a demand and it is a reality. There is simply no way around it. You have to understand though, if you want your books to sell, you have to get out there. This is mostly due to the number of authors out there writing and the huge selection the readers have to pick from. One way or another, it is up to you to get your name out there.

I understand this takes a great deal of time and money on your part, but if you are in this writing business for the long haul, it will generally pay for itself.

I spoke to one writer in her early days with Tor books. She openly stated that she and her writing partner (that did relieve the burden a bit financially) would put close to $5000.00 out of their own money into the publicity for the book. This included mostly sending out flyers, bookmarks and the like. They also would attend every conference they could get to. In the case of the conferences, they could sometimes get reduced rates for presenting sessions at the conference. Still, it was money.

The end result of this hard work has been a huge career (in about 5 years) and now 6 figure deals.

There is simply no way around not getting out there.

Another example: One author of historical romances attends local Highland Games and signs books there. She writes stories with Scottish heroes so she has a great market. These signings bring in good money for her in the long haul. It might not be with the selling of the books at the games but it comes from the mailing list she generates and the future sales from people that get her card in the mail.

You can also make a big presence on the internet by working with established blogs. Guest blogging on reputable sites really brings in a crowd!

The key to all of this is that you are going to have to work. Writing is not simply a passive affair anymore.



  1. I enjoyed reading this post and I whole heartedly agree with you, BUT, I feel the need to mention that not everyone is good at creating an attractive 'presence'. Or, to be clearer, a 'positive presence' and in that case, wouldn't putting yourself 'out there' hinder or at the very least, limit your career opportunities? I mean, some people, and they may not even be aware of it (that's the danger), suck the air out of a room just by entering. That's not to say that they aren't capable of writing a masterpiece and that's precisely why I bring this up.
    Well, that and the fact that this brought to mind an experience I had once. Traveling for three hours to go to one of my favorite author's book signing events (way back when there was no internet). I sat there sweating in ninety degree heat waiting to meet this brilliant woman, who I thought was going to look like Grace Kelly and speak with an appealing English accent . The reality? She looked like a Hobbit and her voice would have been better suited to shouting out orders at a truck-stop diner. But, for all of that, I plastered a smile on my face and set out to meet her any way. And you know? There wasn’t a positive thing that came out of her mouth. Oh, I could have lived with her less than ‘grand’ appearance and I could have ignored her rather ‘rough around the edges’ speaking voice, BUT her single minded focus on any and everything negative, totally turned me off! And even though I knew her books weren’t like that - I never enjoyed the ones she published, following my meeting her, as well, again...Um, I guess you could say that if I had a chance to experience the personality of the ‘writer’ before I purchased her book - I never would have bought it. In some cases, I think, the man behind the curtain should be allowed to stay there as the benefits of anonymity may out weigh the detriment of total exposure...hey,thanks for giving me something to think about.

  2. I understand what you are saying but you need to be out there. The publishing industry is simply not designed for the recluse writer anymore.

    I guess I would have to say if the person is this much of an annoying person in public, then maybe they would need to learn how to be out in public.

  3. Murphy, we know you don't have a problem putting yourself out there, so why worry about the issue?
    And Scott, great post. It just proves what I have been saying all along. Conferences and contests are the way to go.:)


  4. I have a difficult time in person. I know that your face needs to be out there its just tougher for some people than others. Therefore I appreciate the honesty in the first comment here.

  5. I think this post is right on point. You need to keep in touch and out there.

    Murph, did that really happen? How come all this funny stuff happens to you?

    Anon: You have to believe in yourself. The more you get out there the easier it gets.

  6. Em:
    Yes, it happened. As for 'all this funny stuff'? I choose to find the humor in things, that's why 'it' happens.

    And um, speaking of 'funny things' happening, are you guys stalking me?

  7. Yes, we are. Until you say yes:). Are you going to submit a pitch? I must say I enjoyed you squirming the last few days. Maybe you can sleep tonight.LOL

  8. Nice! Maybe they'll choose something you submit, and I can watch you squirm for a change.:D