Thursday, August 18, 2011

Get Visible Off the Internet

The internet is a fantastic and powerful tool for promoting our work and books, but it's not the only tool available. Get out there and get involved in the real world. Join the local writers group, organize a critique group, go to local book signings and author events. Get out and be seen.

I joined my local writers group and got involved, becoming their blog director. Being new to this community, it was a great way to meet people and let them get to know me. They root for me because they know me. People can't root for you or support you if they don't know you exist.

Another thing I do is attend monthly gatherings at my local library to hear a featured writer / poet read their work. Afterward, there's an open mic. I often get up and read something I wrote. One, it's good practice, to get up in front of an audience and read my work. Two, it's gotten me notice. Three, it led to publishing some of those stories as free reads on the internet because of the great response I received for them. Fourth, applause now and again is a nice change of pace. I got my very first fan (not related to me or a friend, but just liked my work that much) this way.

I'll be reading later this month at an event sponsored by my local writers guild to promote my free reads. I used to dread reading in public, but practice has made me much more comfortable with it and much better at it.

I also volunteer. Every summer (I'm in the middle of my 4th summer), I docent at Pine Mountain Observatory as a star guide. I had a set of business cards printed with my website address, blog address and email, and I hand them out. Not to everyone, but to people I get into conversations with who then get curious about me and what I do.

So, yes, definitely leave the computer once in awhile and get out there and let people around you get to know you. It can be another very powerful tool in your arsenal.


~M. Pax
The stars are the beginning ...
website / blog

19 comments:

  1. Mary, I agree getting out in the real world is very important. We writers are so attached to our computers that I think we sometimes forget that our audience IS NOT. None of my non-writer friends have a twitter or a blog or a linked in account, for example, and they don't read mine. They're out having a social life. We authors need to remember to have our own social life - and carry business cards like you do! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exactly. Most people I know in person aren't on Twitter or blogging or any of those other things.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a valid point! It being summer, I spent less time online, but I still feel I'm spending too much time. Ultimately, I hope to find a way to do what I need to do while minimizing the time spent online. I figure it's important to see what works for you and only dedicate time to that. Now to live it. ;-p

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are great suggestions. I need to work on my interpersonal skills. I'm more comfortable speaking with people on the internet than in person and I'm trying to overcome that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As usual, I agree. I found my first fan through a writing group. That group also improved my writing greatly. I also have a few meetup groups I attend for various interests and a few book clubs. Being social has many benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whaaaaaaat? Did you say leave the computer? My, my precious?

    Okay, you're right. That's why I am a member of two writing groups and attend both their conferences every year. I stay in touch with a few of the people online, but nothing beats seeing them in person and catching up. They are always the first ones to help celebrate a success with me (and me with them).

    Also, being involved with interest groups that your book relates to is important. Good post. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. 'I used to dread reading in public, but practice has made me much more comfortable with it and much better at it.'

    That sounds wonderful, my dear. I wish I could go hear you read a selection of your work.

    I like this post, a lot. I often imagine what it would be like to have a conference where we all attend and meet in person. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. So important to do... we get so caught up in the virtual world that the real world often gets ignored.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, we do tend to ignore the real world. lol It is scary Alex. Most of us writerly types have less than stellar interpersonal skills off the computer. I'm fine with the observatory and my writers group. For other events, I bring a wingman. My husband is an extrovert and often facilitates conversation between me and others. So there's another suggestion. Get an extrovert in your life to help you out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree with you there. I'd love to join up with the local writing community, but I don't know how to join... :-(

    ReplyDelete
  11. A friend who does the con thing put out some flyers for me on a table there, and I've since had more than one person mention that they first tried my ebooks because of those flyers. :)

    I've never done the cons myself, but I may have to change that. Not sure about reading anything of mine anywhere, but I could at least hang out and hand out a card here and there, laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm going to the Oregon con this November. I was supposed to go last year, but stuff happened. They were kind enough to roll over my membership to this year. Cons and conventions are another great vehicle to connect with our potential readers.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great tip. Sometimes we need to do good old-fashioned legwork...just like they used to. There's only so much that we can get done behind a computer.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Definitely great advice. There *is* life out there, :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post. It's good to occasionally get away from the computer, that's for sure. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great suggestions, Mary. I am guilty of forgetting about the world outside of the internet at times, at least when it comes to anything concerning writing. I need to try some of your tips. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks to you all for popping in :D It's easy to forget about the outside world, Julie. As Alex said, it's scary. lol

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm a bit late on the comments, but I wanted to give a shout out to say thanks for providing these suggestions; I hadn't thought of them before.

    ReplyDelete