Saturday, March 12, 2016
dipping a toe in the water
As an introvert, it's been great being a writer. I would guess a lot of writers are introverts. They are the ones who enjoy time alone, can take the months or even years of working on a project before they come up for air. Extroverts, who need more time with people, may be better as publicists.
The thing is though, writers eventually want their books to be seen by... yep, people, which means they either have to be publicists or hire one. Since I began bringing my books out as an indie writer, the issue of how to get the books seen has been an ongoing one requiring people contact.
Gradually I've added some online groups to my internet time. Those are great for introverts as they don't demand much and can be gone into or out of without pressure. In the groups, I've learned a lot about groups, events and conferences, some where writers and readers can come together.
From what I can tell, the conferences are pretty much year round, and if a writer wanted to do it, they could be going to one somewhere every month or so. Some writers seem to be on a plane constantly and enjoying themselves. Which means they are either extroverts or introverts who have found a way to go and still find quiet times to restore their energy between planned events.
I see the appeal of going to seminars at these events where you might learn new ideas. I also see the value of networking with other writers. I often wish I had more friends who wrote, where we could share a cup of coffee or a lunch and discuss our frustrations and successes. I've never met a writer, in my daily life, who writes what I do. I have though met some online, with whom I can imagine spending time and getting to know each other better.
In the online groups, when I hear writers talk of the events, share their photos, I think about whether any would be good for me. I am definitely not the sort to dress up in pioneer garb or put on an evening gown for a party. I also wouldn't enjoy the ones where the hot models come to mingle-- unless the models were there to discuss their own problems with getting seen and how they create their brand.
At conferences, authors bring along books, swag (the stuff they give away with their names on it) and banners or posters. The question was asked recently in one of the online groups as to whether it's better to create banners for the books or the brand.
Brand is another of those things anyone wanting to sell something does need to consider. What the heck is my brand? Do I have one where I can get it across in a banner that is maybe five feet long (I'm guessing, as all I've seen are photos of them) and printed on vinyl so it can be rolled up to bring to an event. Some go in front of a table, others have stands behind the table. Possibly this is determined by the venue's rules. The posters here wouldn't work for a banner and I am still not sure of my brand. Does a brand encompass me or just what I write???
Well, I am taking baby steps where it comes to this and not planning a conference... yet. Since the '90s, I have belonged to Romance Writers of America, a group for authors seriously pursuing being a writer. It has a big conference every year to which I have never gone. To be honest, I have done nothing more with it than pay my yearly dues, fill out a profile, and read the magazines-- when I have time (lots of interesting articles in that monthly magazine).
Now I am expanding that and to join one of their local chapters-- Saguaro Romance Writers which is in Tucson. That will make it easy to go to monthly meetings when I am there. They have interesting speakers and a lunch each time.
I also sent in a application to join Women Writing the West. I wasn't sure if they would accept me since I write romance and a lot of their writers are either nonfiction or historic novelists. But I was accepted. They have a yearly contest for books (you don't have to be a member to enter that) and a yearly conference. Their next one will be in New Mexico and has tours out to Georgia O'Keeffe country. The problem is we weren't planning on being in the Southwest at that time. This year we hoped to have Thanksgiving with our kids; so this one won't work but maybe I'll be more emotionally ready by 2017.
Finally I will be joining Central Oregon Writer's Guild, another monthly meeting with speakers. The advantage of it is to connect with Oregon writers and my own Oregon series has three of the books set in Eastern Oregon.
So I am dipping my introvert toe in the water. As to how far I'll go in, that's still up for debate.