Perched 27 miles from Washington, where eye contact is hard because everyone’s peering into a Blackberry, sits historic, laid back Annapolis. Though Annapolis once served as the nation’s capital, the pace today seems deliberately unhurried. People come strolling up the street with dogs and kids in tow. They browse and chat.
There is time to listen to a self-published author explain his story.
I learned this recently outside Hard Bean, a quaint waterfront bookstore and coffee shop where I set up to plant a small flag for Bella in Maryland’s capital city. The day again reminded me that to have any chance of success, self-published authors must utilize a strategy that mixes high and low tech, in short, Tee Shirts and Twitter.
Yes, technology has radically altered the publishing landscape. Writers can reach millions of prospective readers without the aid of traditional agents and publishing houses. And there is a kind of frontier justice in the fact that real people – if you can connect with them – will decide if your book is worth reading.
But the connection is oh-so-fragile. Folks are busy; they’re dealing with jobs, bosses, a million entertainment choices, and of course the afore-mentioned kids and dogs. While some of your Tweets and posts will hit the mark, many will fall well short of the mark.
That’s why Facebook isn’t enough. Get out and add some face-to-face to the mix. Look that guy in the eye and slip your custom bookmark into his hand as you shake it. He stopped because something interested him. He wants to know more about you and your story. Tweet away, and I don’t mean on the computer.
Though it seems obvious, it will do you well to remember to be pleasant, enthusiastic and interesting. Above all, smile and remain optimistic. The serene Annapolis waterfront in view, I thought during my day at Hard Bean of Zig Ziglar, who said, “An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him.”