Today we have a guest blogger of whom I am very proud - my good friend Cyndi, who is responsible for my busy signing schedule and other promotional successes.
I had never written a blog, but Austin asked if I’d be willing to give it a shot. Me, being somewhat adventurous, agreed even though writing is not something I’ve ever considered as a personal strength. Maybe that will change. My name is Cyndi, and I’ve been working with Austin for a while now as his publicist / branding manager, calling bookstores to schedule signings, contacting blog managers to have him as a guest blogger, and doing some proofreading when he finishes a new book.
If you are new at working with an author, like I am, it can be very enlightening. During the past year and a half or so that I’ve been making calls, sending emails and scheduling book signings, I’ve learned a lot about the writing & publishing business. (I had no idea what an ISBN was, or that POD wasn’t a “nu metal” band) Even though it can be very interesting and intriguing, it can also be stressful. There are deadlines, uncooperative and inexperienced bookstore managers, and downright rude people to deal with occasionally. I admit there have been several times when the frustration level caused a few thin spots in my hair.
There are several things that I’ve learned are very important skills to have (and have surprised myself on many occasions). Number one is organization. If you’re not organized with the contacts and schedule, it is next to impossible to avoid confusion and double bookings. It also makes the writer seem disorganized as well, especially if a bookstore sees scheduling a signing as a big hassle.
The second thing is having an approachable and friendly attitude, and developing good professional relationships with the managers of the stores. It’s nice to know that I am remembered by various managers who are always willing and anxious to be included in the events when they get a call or email from me. It’s especially nice when a manager contacts me, out of the blue, to say they’d like to schedule an event. Remembering even small details about them, such as a recent birth, makes them feel special and not just like another name on the list. That’s where keeping good notes comes into play.
Finally, it is extremely important to follow through with the contacts you’ve made along the way. If you tell someone that you’ll call them back on a certain day, be sure to do that, or be ready to apologize that you weren’t able to touch base with them because something came up. In my experience, most of them will understand.
I’ve often teased Austin that he’ll never have a summer weekend away at the beach with his wife if he keeps wanting me to schedule signings for him. Sometimes I’m sure it seems that it is my personal challenge to see how busy I can keep him. So far so good.