Sunday, May 27, 2018

Don't Be an Unreachable Author

Last night I came home from another terrific writers' conference. In addition to teaching three hour-long workshops, I met one-on-one with over 35 writers.  Each of my workshops had a good attendance and after each one, numerous people came forward to get my business cards and give me their information. Besides these moments of interaction. we ate three meals together during this event.

During one of the meals, I spoke for a while with an author who works with other authors in editing and copywriting. I enjoyed this conversation and wanted to reach out to this author. The conference had a bookstore and while I didn't get a lot of time to look at these books, I noticed this author had copies of a how-to-write book on a topic I had not seen. I searched Amazon and saw this author had only three reviews for her book. Since I have written many reviews for books, I did not purchase this how-to book. Instead I wanted to reach out to this author. I intend to ask for a “review” copy of her book and offer to review this book. It is a book that I'm interested in reading. This exchange of books for my review is a common one in the publishing community.

This author told me that she had given me her business card. I dug into my business cards and located her information. It was an attractive card which included her name, a title or two of her book and her website. The card was missing an email address or a phone number or an address. One of the hardest elements to proofread and think about is something not on the page (or card). Your email address is one of the critical elements which should be on every business card.

I continued my process to try and reach this author. I looked at her website.  It was a clean and crisp site but included no contact page and no contact information. Some sites have a form you can fill out and it goes to the author's email. I've filled out these forms in the past to reach authors but this one didn't have such a page or form. I searched for her on Facebook and noticed we are Facebook friends. I have over 4,900 Facebook friends (almost the maximum of 5,000). I wrote her a little Facebook message.

Finally I thought about LinkedIN where I have a lot of publishing connections (over 5,200). I signed on to LinkedIN and searched for her name. Turns out we were connected there so I downloaded her profile and finally located her email address. I will reach out to her in a bit with my request to review her book.

I'm writing about this experience because I want you to look at your own situation as an author. How easy are you to reach? Is your contact information on your website? If not, are you using a contact form which goes to your personal email address?

I understand how you may be a private person and don't want everyone to have your contact information—but you do want people to be able to reach you when they have a legitimate need or request. This situation of the unreachable is not unusual and you'd be surprised how often it happens working with authors and going to conferences. After the editor or agent returns home, you want them to be able to reach you and follow-up. It can't happen if your contact information is not easily available. Don't be an unreachable author.

Are others able to easily reach you? What techniques are you using? Let me know in the comments below.


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