I attended an informal meeting of the Glasgow Indie Authors yesterday. A very interesting group of people, some established authors and others mere beginners – my category. (Lots of coffee/tea and biscuits)
We were encouraged to pitch our books in twenty seconds, (even those still at the embryo stage). Basically: title, genre and establish a hook into the story.
Most people found it difficult to find the best key words and not to become distracted by trying to tell the story or going off on a tangent about their characters. This is not the same as the blurb on the back of the book cover, instead it is a twenty second-attention grab, where we are advised the object is to leave the listener wanting more. Essentially it gets the pertinent information out in 124 characters, the length of a tweet. This exercise illustrates the importance of a book title, for instance one book pitched was titled; ‘The Secret Mums Club.’
You will never guess the genre, and may have you wanting to know more.
Another exercise I found interesting, being slightly introvert I found this difficult. Since, we all naturally put our protective shields up when we feel our private space is being exposed.
The task was to list and then tell the group five important things about you that people would be surprised to learn.
Most people were rather defensive as it was almost like an intrusion into one’s private life.
One person told us he had once been arrested, full stop. Of course this raised a flurry of excited questions, when and why and what happened?
Yes, this was the main point of the exercise to find something interesting about you that people will be attracted to. Fulfilling that human curiosity and the nosey syndrome with the purpose of leading them to your book.
Again people found this awkward and listed some mundane things like where they once lived or went on holiday, all interesting stuff but not overly exciting.
I suspect many people had some deep secrets that would be interesting but may have found the situation embarrassing.
Author Bios were discussed as being fixated on their qualifications and a CV of their writing background rather than on some extraordinary exciting fact or issue in their life.
We were asked to consider what would attract us to that person?
(Off course a publisher would only be interested in the sale-ability of the work).
The summary of the afternoon was simply that as an Independent Author you need to understand the full gambit of marketing or else pay someone to do it for you.
We all know there is lots of advice out there, but for me it was a fun afternoon with real people.