Had a job interview before a panel of men I assume could be my future supervisors should they pick me. It was my second interview for the position so I felt fairly confident. Wore my red jacket. (Did you know if you wear power colors when placed in an environment where you feel insecure, you will automatically come across as confident?) At the end of the interview they asked if there was anything they should know about me. A thousand things ran through my head, not all favorable, but the one thing -- the thing I want the world to know never even streaked through my peripheral vision. I'd driven about a mile before the thing slapped my brain. I wanted to turn around and speed back, race into the conference room and scream "I'm a writer!"
Imagine how impressed those gentlemen might have been if they knew I'd not only written two books, but also had been brave enough to self publish them...on my own? Instead, they're stuck with my 'ums & uhs' along with whatever unimpressive thing I did share. I missed my moment to shine.
So here's a few things successful authors won't admit to doing, but work.
1. They talk to everyone about their books. Everyone. Start a conversation in the grocery checkout lane with "do you read?" and find a way to insert that you are an author. Anytime you have a captive audience, take advantage of the moment.
2. Carry business cards and scatter them like seeds. One should slide right next to anything you sign. Leave them on restaurant tables, store shelves, even in dressing rooms.
When I ran a freebie sale on "Designer Genes" over Valentines, I handed cards to the girls at the deli where I got my sandwich; the pharmacist when I picked up my prescription; the girl behind the counter at Starbucks when I paid for my coffee, and on top of the tip at dinner. Granted, the cards may have been chucked the second I turned my back, but because I'd made eye contact - told them I was an author and offered them something free - placed a tangible token validating my declaration in their hands, I guaranteed that every time they'd see me in the future, they'd immediately attach "author" to my face.
Such proof came a week later when I returned to the sandwich shop and was greeted by the salesperson with "hey, you're that author." Two people standing nearby immediately chimed in "you're an author?" and the conversation opened up. Of course I handed out more cards and discovered four of the employees of the shop had downloaded my free book from that one business card.
4. Donate books wherever possible, especially to local libraries and schools. They love knowing you're a local resident and have done something so awesome. And if you've published a book, you have done something awesome!
Hospitals appreciate book donations, and if you're a YA author, you're golden. They love to be able to offer something besides a TV remote to a teen stuck in a bed. And don't forget homeless shelters, youth crisis centers, or women's shelters. Losing oneself inside a pretend world can sometimes be the best therapy in a stressful situation, even if only for a short time.
5. When you stay at a hotel, B&B, rent a beach house or condo, always leave an autographed book behind with a thank you note for services rendered, or hospitality shared.
6. A unique signature line identifying you as an author and links to where your books can be purchased should be on your outgoing personal emails. When I booked my cruise and sent some required information via email to my travel agent, I received an immediate response: "You're a writer?" Another opportunity presented itself for me to talk about my books. At our last face-to-face planning meeting, she wanted to discuss "Riley's Pond" more than my itinerary.
7. Tuck bookmarks into reading materials at doctors' and dentists' offices, or in the SkyMall magazine before you exit a plane.
In other words, leave your "author imprint" in all the places you pass through.
How and where have you left your author imprint? Someplace daring? Whacky? A favorite?