Friday, January 11, 2019

Your Presence is Required



By Betty Thomason Owens


It’s like finding a parking spot on Black Friday. Sometimes, you have to circle the lot until someone leaves. Then, if you’re quick, you can snatch their slot before another driver takes it. Too many shoppers. Too few parking spots. Is it worth all the stress? If you find the perfect gifts for a great price—definitely.

I spend months writing and editing a book for publication. Release day comes. Will it find a spot? Are there too many books and too few spots? Is it worth all the stress? That depends.
Unlike the seasonal shopping rush, book sales never cease. Do you know that Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” has never been out of print? I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed by that. Is it possible to create such a timeless story today? I believe in the possibility.

In du Maurier’s day, the work of selling books was in someone else’s hands. Today, the author is the main seller. I don’t have a set of unique bullet-point items to help with sales, but I do have one suggestion to offer: Be present.

What does that mean? We’re all familiar with the need for a platform. If I have a sizable platform and good numbers of social media followers, a book release should be easier. Yes, that’s true. I’ve worked hard to build a network and a following. But the work didn’t cease when I reached a certain number. Now I need to stay present. I need to interact with those followers. I need to be approachable. 

Engaged.

One of my author heroes is a constant presence on my Facebook profile. She shares a daily journal and includes photos that engage and add warmth. She’s become a real friend to me, though I seldom see her in person. It’s her on-screen presence that creates that bond. I’m not surprised by the fact that she sells a lot of books.

I don’t have to copy her approach by creating a lookalike strategy. I’d be pretty lame. I don’t have her background and talent. So, I set out to find my own unique path—a minefield, as it turns out. I’ve tried a few things that blew up in my face or fizzled out. And I’ve returned to start several times. Gradually, a pattern emerged.

The pattern is this—stay present—engaged. Whether I create memes, post famous quotes, personal photography, or myriad other things, my presence and approachability generate friendship. In the end, friendship is key. Friends comment on my posts and share my updates. I reciprocate, share their updates, comment on their posts. Friendship begets friendship.

It’s become more about relationship than sales. This is pure gold and not only that, but I’ve scored a major goal. I’ve created a platform built of friendship, held together by mutual trust. As a living, breathing thing, this type of platform requires attention. Presence.
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Betty Thomason Owens considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. Besides her work on the KCWC planning committee, she also leads the Louisville Area ACFW group and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has seven novels in publication. You can learn more about her atBettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.



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