Monday, August 03, 2009

Triple Threat

By Ali Cross

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Candace E. Salima, founder of Valor Publishing Group, speak to a group of authors about professionalism. Ms. Salima counseled the writers to be professional now, even if their books won’t be out until later.

“You have to be able to speak about yourself and your books,” Mrs. Salima said.

She recommended that if any author feels insecure speaking about themselves or their books, that they enroll in a local Toastmasters chapter and perfect these skills before their books are published.

I’ve heard much said about the importance of building a following, of having a website, and even a blog. Nicole Giles wrote an excellent article about branding and finding your ‘look’ so that you can feel more confident when seen in the public forum.

However, until Ms. Salima spoke about Toastmasters, I hadn’t really considered the importance of the entire package.

As writers we know our checklist:
  • Come up with a great idea for a story.
  • Write said excellent story.
  • Find a publisher for your story.
But now I think there’s more to it than that:
  • Decide who you are as a writer, your schtik, as it were.
  • Begin to dress/act/live like a professional writer.
  • Become utterly comfortable with your ability to speak about yourself and your book in the public forum.
As writers, we naturally love the written word. All the steps that involve us building a following, developing our stories, and finding homes for them are perhaps easier for us to tackle because they involve writing.

I think it’s rather common for us to fear live interviews and presentations—all the more reason to work on those skills now so that when you do become a popular author, you are the total package.

You’ve probably heard the term Triple Threat—in sports it denotes a trio of excellent players who work together to provide the ultimate challenge for their opponents. In musical theater, it refers to the person who can not only sing, but act and dance as well.

We need to be Triple Threat writers.

We need to be able to Publish an excellent work of literature. Present ourselves in a professional and appealing manner. And Promote ourselves and our work.

If you’re serious about your writing career, considering becoming a Triple Threat. Use the checklist from above, and see if there are areas you could strengthen now, in preparation for your amazing success later.


Daron Fraley said...

Last week while staying at a hotel in Phoenix I did something a little bit out of my comfort zone. And it turned out OK!

I noticed the desk clerk had a CTR ring on. I took one of my business cards out, wrote my blog site and website addresses on it, and asked her if she was LDS. She smiled and said, "Yes! Are you?"

"Yes, I am!"

I then told her I had recently posted a short story on my blog which I thought she would enjoy, and mentioned I had just gotten a contract with a publisher for a book to be released in the spring.

I figure I had better start being able to promote myself, eh?

Cheri Chesley said...

Toastmasters is great, but nothing compares to just going out and doing it. This is way beyond my comfort zone, but lately I've done nothing but talk about my book to people and it's really helping me. Not that I charge them down, corner them and blab about myself for 10 min, but I don't hesitate to bring it up in conversation and mention my website, blog, Facebook, etc. I was recently contacted by someone through Goodreads and probably have a new fan waiting for my book because I took the time to be open, honest and interested in her too

ali said...

Daron ~ that's awesome! And like Cheri just said ... it can only be good for you, right? Congrats!

Cheri, you ROCK! I want to be able to do just what you're doing. Thanks for setting such a great example!

L.T. Elliot said...

Ali, you're always chock full of widom. Someday, I want to just sit down at your feet and learn, learn, learn. =]

Terresa said...

Thank you for this post. A graduate professor of mine years ago suggested to me to join Toastmasters. I was still in my 20's and I remember thinking, "Toast-what?"

All excellent ideas. Triple threat, I'm on it! ;)

Danyelle said...

Becoming a triple threat sounds promising. >:)

Cheri Chesley said...

Ali, Thanks much! I know we can all succeed if we're willing to grow :)