When I invited Joan C. Curtis to stop by on her book tour I asked if she had any guidance for authors. This post is not only original, but also much needed for an introvert writer, such as myself – Thank you.
Schmoozing Tips for Writers
Most writers prefer to work at their computer in their home offices and never step out the door. In today’s digital world that dream can happen. Most of us rarely leave our computer safe environments. Unfortunately if we do not learn the art of schmoozing, either through our social networks or face-to-face, our hermit-style world will not lead to success.
On the flipside there is nothing worse than the author who is constantly hawking his or her book. You meet them and the first thing they do is tell you about this wonderful book they wrote.
So, what’s a person to do? We must get out of our caves and start to schmooze, but we shouldn’t overly sell our books?
In today’s environment schmoozing has become an art. Whether you are a newly published author or building a freelance writing business to be successful, you must learn how to communicate in a way that builds rapport. Ask your most successful salesmen if people buy from strangers. They’ll tell you that people buy from people they know and trust. They don’t have to know you very long, but they must feel they can trust you enough to buy your book or purchase your writing service.
According to Susan Roane, in How to Work the Room, the word schmoozing comes from a Yiddish word that means to make prolonged, friendly conversation. It does not mean trying to sell your product. It does not mean hard sell (hawking your book to every Tom, Dick and Harry you see). In building relationships, you take that first step toward trust. The schmooze isn’t sleazy. It’s a comfortable, sensitive interaction.
Let’s look at some tips for face-to-face schmoozing, say at a conference:
· Break the ice. Introduce yourself in a way that is light. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t try and sell yourself or your book in the first five seconds. Be open and honest about who you are and what connects you to the event you may be attending. Give the person you’re meeting something which will engage them. “I’m here because I’m a writer and I’ve just published my first mystery. So what brings you to this event?”
· Listen. Pay attention to what the other person says. How do they introduce themselves? How are they connected to this event? Ask open, non-threatening questions. Use humor when you can. “I’ve been her for ten minutes and I can’t wait to leave. What about you? Are you comfortable at these things?”
· Look for a connection between you and the person. Do you like the same sports? Do you live in the same town? Do you both like to travel?
· Talk about up-to-date current events that are non-political. Try and find common ground through pop culture or things that are happening in the world or relevant to your community. Steer away from controversial subjects even those that are only controversial within that company or environment. If push comes to shove, talk about the conference. “Which workshops are you going to?”
· Don’t always be the one to “tell” the story. Instead, be the one to encourage the other person to tell his/her story and listen attentively. It’s always more fun to be the one telling the story. Laugh even if you’ve heard the joke before. You could even ask the person, “So what do you write?”
· Watch practiced schmoozers. Pay attention to what works for you. What kinds of things engage you with someone else? Who are the people you’re drawn to and what do they do? How do they connect with you and with others?
Schmoozing is a practiced art. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. When you start out, do not expect to win friends each time. There will be some people you won't connect with. That's fine. Move on. There is always someone else, standing alone, just waiting for your gracious handshake and hello.
• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
MuseItUp Publishing Author’s page
The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.
If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.
Hiding behind the façade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.
Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.
“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.
The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.
“Mama, tell Janie to—”
“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.
“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.
Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.
Then, everything went black.
When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.
“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.
Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.
Marlene stood on the side of the road.
“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.
Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.
“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.
Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.
Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.
“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.
They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.
It was too late for all of them.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:
• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994
Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.
Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.
The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA
Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.
Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.
“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”
Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.
Links: website: http://www.joancurtis.com
My Latest News
I’m currently working on Fire Storm, Book 2 in the Gathering Storm Series