When I dropped my oldest son off at college, I attended his orientation. The orientation leader told the freshman students that the first few weeks of school were critical to making friends and advised them to, “Practice the art of saying yes.” Students should say yes to social invitations from other students even if they didn’t feel an immediate connection with them. Every opportunity to make friends was important.
This advice left an imprint on me and when I began marketing my novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, I told myself I would say yes to every chance I got to talk about my book. A friend asked me to have a book reading at her shop. I had to provide a list of people to invite and be the entertainment, too. I faced my fears, did some research on book readings, and emailed her my invite list. The night of the event I was riddled with nerves but once I started reading, I knew that I had captured the audience. Whey they yelled, “Read more,” I was ecstatic. The feedback I received from the attendees helped me focus on improving parts of my book.
I didn’t stop there. When a small town book blogger in Ireland sent an email asking me to answer a few questions for her blog I said yes. I was delighted that she wanted to learn more about me and my novel. Recently, the host of a book podcast asked to interview me as the featured author. I said yes and then I panicked. Writing is one thing but a live podcast, well, that left me feeling vulnerable. We scheduled a time for the podcast and he sent me a list of questions. I practiced my answers in front of anyone who would listen: the dog, my kids, my partner. When the interview started I was a bundle of nerves, but the interviewer helped me feel at ease. After all, he wanted to know about my book, a subject I love to talk about! Well, when he went off the assigned questions and asked me what I would do if I was stranded on an island with only a laptop, I laughed. “I’d live in the moment,” I said, reminding him that wasn’t one of the questions he sent me. “That’s the point,” he said. “I want to ask you questions you aren’t prepared for.” Looking forward, the podcast was the perfect practice for when I’m interviewed on a major network television show. I also took full advantage of marketing the podcast before it posted and continue to promote it on all of my social media platforms. I’ve also recently been interviewed on two other podcasts both of which were very different types of programs. Again, more experience and marketing opportunities.
Here’s my advice to my author friends out there, and anyone trying to get the word out about something they are doing, say yes!