I can barely believe as I sit down to write this post that we are wrapping up a full ten years in business—a decade that, for me, has been the biggest learning experience of my life, filled with equal measures of excitement and fear. I suspect that makes me average in the annals of entrepreneurs.
This month is a big one for me, so much so that I am departing from my usual blog format of serving up what I hope is useful information on any and all things book-related. Instead, I’m writing from what I now fondly call my author chair, the place where I did a 180-degree career flip and wrote a book rather than promoted them. As with so many of life’s experiences, it’s been a journey.
Most first encounters in the modern world happen virtually, via your online presence. From customers to coffee dates, everyone is vetting you before they buy from you, do business with you, or even before showing up for an initial meeting. Every tweet, status update, blog, photo, and emoji you post is a crucial part of your first impression. Welcome to the age of the personal brand. Be proactive about what can be found on the internet in a simple search for your name. Be proactive in this space and set up a checklist to guide your efforts.
We live in an era of noise where news and information is abundant, coming to us 24/7 in an unceasing stream. At the same time, our attention span is shrinking. A study conducted last year by Microsoft shows that our ability to focus dropped from 12 seconds in 2000, to a new record low of eight seconds in 2015. Together, the din and our diminishing ability to pay attention make it more difficult to be heard. How can you stand out? What does it take to become a world class communicator? And perhaps the biggest question of all – how do you not only get someone’s attention, but keep it? Before you begin crafting material and take to the public stage, consider cultivating at least some of the skills that seasoned reporters rely on.
The changing publishing world has left many confused about literary agents. Do you need one? How do you get one? What do they do? We sat down with Literary Agent Jud Laghi to learn more about why you need an agent in the DIY era of publishing and a better idea of what they really do.
The New Year provides a great chance to restart your PR plans. Some good ways to get started include refreshing your social media profiles, write a new blog post or column, find ten journalists to follow on Twitter, schedule a networking event and identify one stretch goals.