Fifteen fabulous authors (or fourteen, plus myself) were treated to a huge day of learning presented by Jaki Arthur, who is the Publicity Manager at Hachette Australia. By the end of the day my head was exploding from all the new knowledge and the reminders about how to market myself and my books, and how to focus my efforts on achieving my goals.
Take-aways for the day:
1. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you won’t achieve it – and you should make the goals big. Yes, I knew this, but it always helps to hear it again and again and again. At the start of the day we all wrote down two of our writer’s goals on stickynotes. Stuck on a white board, most of the goals could have belonged to me.
2. Have an answer ready for the questions: who are you, what do you write, what’s your book about and so on. And make sure the answer is consistent, so that you’re not confusing yourself or others. Have an answer ready, because you will be asked, but you’ll probably only be asked once by any one enquirer.
3. Be proactive. Don’t sell yourself short and know how and when to do it. Use platforms you are comfortable with but be prepared to try new things.
4. Be pleasant. Say yes whenever you can, and be grateful and gracious. Knowing the industry helps, so that you know who does what, how and when, and what your role is there.
5. Above all, the thing I think I needed the most to be reminded of is that as an author you need to really know what’s unique about you and about your work. Why should a festival programmer, media scheduler, librarian etc book you, and why should a buyer choose your book?
There was lots of thinking on the day, lots more on the drive home, and lots more to come, as I use what I learned.
Oh, and of course, the other wonderful thing was the chance to hang out with fellow authors, many of whom were old friends, but others who had I hadn’t met. A wonderful part of any such opportunity is the exchange of experiences during the breaks.