Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Be a Turkey - Stand Out From The Crowd by Morgan Mandel
I could have saved these vacation photos for around Thanksgiving, but couldn't resist posting them now. My good friend, Jeanne, in Wisconsin, has a backyard that's like a wildlife reserve. Not only do deer, rabbits, squirrels, birds, chipmunks, raccoons and sometimes a bear visit, but lately she's had a mother turkey and her nine offspring coming over for freebies.
Note the one turkey on the railing scooping up the best of the food, while the others stay below.
Authors also need to stand out from the crowd. Though many of us find it against our nature, we need to get out in the spotlight and be noticed. The more we do, the more we'll stand out.
Today I'll just cover how to improve on the basics to stand out. Some other time I'll give examples on more far-out things to do. (Maybe around Thanksgiving, so I can put up another turkey photo.)
You should at least:
1. Set up a website
2. Do blogs
3. Distribute bookmarks
4. Distribute business cards
5. Do book signings
6. Belong to a writing group and attend meetings
7. Go to conferences
8. Join listservs and other online groups
Turkeys do all the above, but better.
To go beyond the basics:
1. Website - Get a designer to do your website, such as Diane Whiddon-Brown at http://novelwebsitedesign.com
or, if you'd prefer to do your own, either vary the template's colors, fonts and structure, or make up your own design.
2. Blogs - Change the layout from the normal template, use a catchy title, add links, a blogroll, photos, a sitemeter, a bookmark, guest appearances, to your blog. Check out other blogs for appearance and content. There's always room for improvement. Leave comments on other people's blogs. They'll remember.
3. Business cards &
4. Bookmarks - Don't just distribute these at normal places, like book signings, book stores, goody tables at conferences. Give them to waitresses when you pay your bill, leave them at rest stops when you travel, leave them on bulletin boards, do a co-op with authors in other states.
5. Book signings - Don't sit at the table next to your books, waiting for browsers to notice you. Get up and approach people. Enter into conversation with them. If possible, put your book in their hands for them to look over.
6. Belong to a writing book and attend meetings - Contribute to your chapter by being an officer or being in charge of the Christmas party or some other event. Join in aloud in the critiques. Let chapter members know about your book signings and what else is happening in your writing life.
7. Go to conferences - Not only attend conferences, but participate in panels. Also, help in some other way, such as registration, timing editor appointments, setting up the goody table, etc.
8. Join listservs and other online groups - Be active online by contributing what you've learned. Respond to posts by others, congratulate them on their successes.
So, be a turkey. I dare you.