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Get the program! | Writing

It did not last long Coupon Crazy: The science, the savings, and the stories behind America's extreme obsession It was released that I realized how much I hated to sit behind a table and try to draw the attention of a hurried passers-by on me. When I confided my dilemma to an established author of more than 100 books, he replied that for the same reason he had never signed more books and instead always offered a reading or workshop.

I have already conducted couponing workshops at community colleges to establish myself as an expert on couponing and build my platform. So I was tempted by the idea of ​​doing the same thing instead of conventional signatures. Since then, I have developed presentations on each of my six following books, including a presentation on "Legacy of the Magic Pencil" for a creative book that will be released next year.

Based on nine years of experience in running programs, my previous work as a librarian, and my current position as Program Coordinator in a Spirituality Center, I now encourage all authors to develop presentations on the main theme or theme of their writing. Some advice to get started:

Address your potential audience.

This is possible in libraries with a built-in audience. As a librarian, I was a strong proponent of local writers and brought in several each year. Heather Gudenkauf thrilled the audience with the fascinating story of her journey to the New York Times bestseller list, which existed before the publication of her first book. When she first talked about writing, she brought with her a pile of paper checks the size of her. This is an effective way to demonstrate how much editing flows into the craft and the revision of a book. A friend who writes Christian historical fiction has developed PowerPoint presentations on all the historical eras she has written about. Iowa nonfiction writer Linda McCann not only gives presentations on each of her carefully researched topics related to the Iowa story, she also invariably collects stories for her next book from the seniors attending the programs. Her publisher appreciates all the hand sales she makes in the more than 150 libraries and senior centers she visits each year. This fall, she will expand her venue to include a Prisoner of War camp program at the Spirituality Center where I work.

Make sure your presentation is of value to the audience.

Never let your presentation become a selling point. Remember the three E: Make, entertain and engage. If you write Western, you should wear a cowboy hat when presenting about the Wild West. If you're a novelist, dress like your heroine and do a short monologue sketch based on your latest book. Engage the audience by starting with a fun icebreaker activity. If your program is pedagogical, include audience participation with trivial questions, writing exercises, or splitting into small discussion groups. Design a presentation so entertaining that people flock to the sales floor to talk to you and then buy your books. Never underestimate oral referrals. Librarians and program directors constantly share the names of good speakers.

Set a reasonable fee for your programs.

Because you should charge. The majority of the libraries and centers in which I work have a budget for speakers and programs. Even the small town library where I worked as a director was programmed to pay $ 100 to a yoga instructor for a two-hour workshop, or a sorcerer for a one-hour magic show $ 150. Why not pay an author for his program? Authors must value themselves and their time as well as all other professions. Trust me, everyone wants a free speaker, but you do not want to devalue yourself or your work.

Write a program proposal.

A quick suggestion describes exactly what your program includes, the length, the requirements for equipment such as projector and screen, the biography of your author with your qualifications, and the cost. You want to make it as easy as possible for the programmer to say yes. Good speakers with interesting programs are hard to come by, and you want to be one of them.

BIO – Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and is a certified mourning consultant. She works as a Program Coordinator at the Shalom Spirituality Center in Dubuque, Iowa. It is widely used in magazines, newspapers and anthologies, including eight chicken soup books. Mary is the author of seven books, including the award-winning Refined by Fire: A journey of sorrow and graceAnd a book on creativity to be published in 2020 by Familius Publishing. For more information about Mary, see

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