Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Your Game Face

Today we're going to talk about your public persona.

Hmm? You don't have a public persona?

Why the hell not?

Public figures need public personas. Writers are public figures. You're a writer.

Even if you stay inside your house 24/7, you're still a public figure, still able to make an impression on the public via the Internet, mail, and phone calls.

You want the impression you leave to be favorable. Every human contact you make or potentially make has the power to recruit fans. Or it can sour people on you before they read a single word.

Your public persona is what you chose to show the world. It's your game face. You reveal what you want them to see. Even if it isn't the real you.

In fact, revealing the real you is probably a mistake.

Authors are insecure types. We seek validation, bristle at criticism, and tend to be demanding, volatile, egotistical, and prone to pessimism. We have a sense of entitlement, and often superiority, while at the same time complaining about everything.

This attitude, if shown in public, won't sell many books for you.

What does sell books?

1. Being nice. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or gesture.

2. Being positive. Remaining upbeat, and projecting an aura of success, helps to actually breed success. Never complain in public, no matter what happens. The only difference between a winner and a loser is the winner is smiling.

3. Being attractive. I'm not talking about physical beauty. I'm speaking of charisma. Be the person that other people want to be. Adjust your words, your clothes, your posture, your style, and invite the world to join your party.

4. Being available. Allowing people to have access to you can only help your cause. The bigger you get, the less time you have, and the more people will appreciate your generosity.

5. Being forgiving. Mistakes will be made. Publishing is made up of people, and people aren't perfect. Neither is the publishing industry. You want to be a duck's back, not a sponge.

6. Being confident. Neediness and desperation are guaranteed ways to scare people away.

7. Being aware. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. If you don't have anything positive about you, fake it. If you suck at public speaking, stay off the microphone. You need to know your strengths and your limitations, and adjust accordingly.

8. Being professional. This is a business. Be businesslike. That means staying on your toes, not relaxing. It means taking this seriously, not thinking it's a game.

As a writer, you're the first and biggest salesperson for your writing. Thousands of people will judge your books by your persona rather than your words.

Make sure your persona is just as good as your words.