Make Contact

 

I rarely discuss what I do during the day in this blog. However, I think it is important for this example to understand how to build your author career. Here is what I did over the last two days.

Tuesday

  • My new book, Middle Room, was released. The target audience is tweens. (Fifth through eighth graders. Fourth graders are a possibility as well, because it is late in the school year.)
  • I had a speaking engagement at an elementary school. In attendance were 120 fifth graders and five teachers.
  • I spoke on the importance of reading, writing, marketing, and publishing. (Sound familiar?) I also promoted, Middle Room, using a terrific slide show to amaze the children. At the end of my speech, flyer’s and bookmarks were handed out. On the flyer, the student could order a book and poster for $10.00.
  • Afterwards, I was invited to a class to have some extra time with the kids. During that class, the teacher mentioned that his girlfriend worked at a middle school and could get me in for an event. He also invited me back next year to the elementary school to do another speaking engagement.
  • After leaving the classroom, I emailed the fourth grade staff, using the fifth grade teachers as a reference to schedule me for an event. I also left each teacher a pack of flyer’s and bookmarks.
  • Certainly, I will be in their school newspaper, which will give me a nice bonus for promotion.

Recap.

On the day my book was released, I had an event planned. Usually, an author can sell to 5% of the attendance. However, since I did a speaking engagement that increases the percentage to 25%. Also, I added a free poster for each purchase of a book. That will put me in the 50%-75% range in sales.

I was invited back next year and made another contact at both the elementary school and a middle school, where I can continue to have events, promote myself, and sell books.

Wednesday

  • My manager got me into a Public Relations Conference, where I could strengthen my PR skills, network, and build my contact list.
  • I attended three workshops, which gave me information that not only helped me, but I could share the information (To you!) in three different up coming blogs. However, it was difficult to meet the others in the group and network with them, because the classes were focused on the topic and stringed together, one after another.
  • At the end of the three classes, there was a twenty-minute break before lunch. I took a moment to speak with one of the organizers. For fun, he challenged me to exchange business cards with five people in twenty minutes.
  • This would be tougher than you think, because everyone was spread out in the large room, deep in a discussion. I would have to make my way into the conversation, introduce myself, pick someone in the small group to find out more of what they do, exchange business cards, excuse myself, and move on to another person, while averaging only four minutes per group.
  • I quickly approached two people that were in the same class as me. It was a good way to spark up the conversation. “So, did you get anything useful out of the classes?” I gave my thirty second-elevator pitch, (I am an author of fiction novels, thrillers, tween books, elementary books, etc…) listened as they quickly pitched their business, and exchanged business cards. One of them worked with a bookstore and gave me a referral. (Mental note to contact bookstore after the event.)
  • Someone just walked into the room late. She missed the classes, but certainly would not miss lunch. I went to her and quickly introduced myself, giving her my thirty-second elevator speech. I found out she sold insurance. (Ugg…Figures.) We exchanged business cards, and I excused myself.
  • I saw someone sitting at a table, listening to the others talk. I politely introduced myself to her, gave the thirty-second commercial, listened to her commercial, exchanged business cards, and then moved on.

One minute left. 

  • The guest speaker, author Joe Navarro, had been monopolized by another person for the last fifteen minutes. I think he would be relieved if someone interrupted their conversation. So I walked up to Joe and introduced myself. “Hey Joe, I’m Ron Knight. I was wondering if you had a second to exchange business cards.” The other person walked away and I had a few moments alone with Joe before he went on stage. We exchanged business cards and I left him to get ready.

Okay, not bad. My five contacts were a bestselling author, two public relations reps, a museum director, and an insurance sales person. Three out of five will benefit me. Also, I used one of the contacts to email a bookstore manager and set up a meeting.

  • After the conference, I followed up with the three contacts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • It was time to pick my oldest daughter up at the bus stop. I grabbed a handful of bookmarks and passed them out to the kids as they walked off the bus.
  • My daughter said that one of the teachers would like me to visit the school. I quickly emailed the teacher and set up a meeting.
  • Next, I updated my manager. Because I have a new book out, she has already begun changing my web site to promote Middle Room. She also added some other cool features for me to connect with others to build my audience.
  • I spent the rest of the night reading Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

You may have noticed that I did not get any writing done over the last two days. That is okay, because not everyday is so hectic. I’ll have plenty of time to get back to what authors do best…write.

Look back on your last five years. Can you imagine if you were spending two days a week solely on building your contacts, marketing, and meeting others to schedule future events. Maybe you only have time to do this one day a week, or even once every two weeks. Who cares, just as long as you are doing it!

Remember the four keys to being an author: Excel in reading, excel in writing, excel in marketing, and excel in publishing. Also, you need to master your thirty-second pitch. Those thirty-seconds can land you a powerful contact.

Well, enough about my last two days. What do you have planned?

Ron Knight 

www.authorronknight.com  

Photo of Joe Navarro www.jnforensics.com

Need to brand your name? Check out www.brand1111.com

Ron Knight

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Comments

  1. I love this. Thanks for the insight and tips. Marketing to middle graders is tricky. Love the idea about the poster giveaway. How much of that is the publisher vs out of your pocket?

    I’m about to click send on submitting my first partial to an agency. Fingers crossed.

  2. Congrats on the release. Love your post. Great insight and tips. Love the poster giveaway. How much of that is covered by your publisher vs out of your pocket?

    I’m submitting my first partial to an agency today. Fingers crossed.

  3. Ron Knight says:

    Deal with posters was done with Brand Eleven Eleven, the marketing company that does everything for me~ Ron Knight

  4. Ellen Allen says:

    Mr. Ron very good breakdown of an effective strategy, Talking. I want to build anticipation for my novel it has been difficult for me to get into support groups however I will try workshops and the poster idea was a draw. I will more about you and UPAuthors.