As an employment missionary, I've begun to notice the similarities between hopeful authors and job seekers. This post helps answer the questions "What do I say? What do I do?" for both.
The ANWA writers’ conference is nearing. It’s time to lay a plan to make this event work for you. To do that, you should think of it as a networking opportunity. The best, actually.
How often do you get the opportunity to speak with 100 or more writers/authors/editors/agents under one roof? Don’t be afraid of those ‘more published’ than you. Don’t shy away from the editors and agents. Take a deep breath and remind yourself, they are here to meet you.
It takes a bit of the pressure off to remind yourself that they are also human. So, don’t sit back in the shadows. Go out and make a few contacts. Meet some new friends. Enjoy the company of ‘old’ friends. And remember the rules of networking:
State your name clearly
If you shake hands, don’t be a limp fish.
AND, do not monopolize the time of others no matter how fascinating you find them.
Visit. Don’t be overlooked, but don’t be pushy or aggressive. In other words, treat them as you would wish to be treated if you were in their shoes.
ME IN 30 ... WHAT?
As many years as it’s been around, the Me in 30 second statement (a.k.a. summary statement) is still gaining ground. Most people we talk to have never heard of it.
All it is, is a few prepared sentences about yourself that are focused on your prime objective.
It’s a simple thing. Really. Then why does the mere mention of it elicit terror?
I’ve decided there are several reasons. One reason may be that we don’t really know our for-real-and-true prime objective. To get a job, sure, but doing what? Most people we talk to could be equally successful doing any number of things.
And, that’s the great thing about the Me in 30. We can have more than one! Yay! And then, depending on who we’re talking to, we can say something different. The Me in 30 is to keep us from babbling, and to help us sound intelligent. Heh.
NOW, IN THE WRITER’S WORLD:
We already have an idea about saying things in the least amount of time. We have several names for it. The Elevator Speech, a Tag Line/ Log Line/ blurb—they’re all a little different, yes. But, they are each meant to help us get right to the point.
Our goal is similar to that of the unemployed; we want our book published/ they want a job. Learning on how to focus on our facts is an important part of sounding publish/ job worthy.
SO, HERE IT IS IN A NUTSHELL:
1. Give a brief introduction. Include your objective/ genre
“Hi. I’m Tina Scott, and I write Historical Fiction with a romantic twist.
2. Share a few specific examples of your accomplishments in that regard/ or how you are qualified. Basically, let them know why they should care.
“Many of my ancestors are from Denmark, and I feel their life stories are interesting. According to the 2009 census, there are over 1,500,000 people with Danish ancestry living in America. I believe my books speak to this often overlooked part of our population.”
3. Share a few things that set you/your book apart from the others.
“Since there are many popular books on pioneers in America, my books are set mostly in Denmark or aboard their immigrant ship.”
These brief statements are meant to whet the appetite of your listener; to get them to ask more. So, be sure to have more prepared and ready to share if the opportunity arises.
Good luck, and happy networking!