Wait, Does RSVP Really Mean “Respond, Dammit?”

Remember learning that RSVP meant “répondez s’il vous plaît?” And, if you learned that as a kid, do you remember how cool and
sophisticated it made you feel? I sure do. Not only was it French — the most romantic of the romance languages — but it was like I had been given yet another key to open another secret grown-up door. And, in this case, I was picturing a very swanky, high-class door. How cool was that? All I had to do to become part of the club was to communicate. Usually in writing. Even better, am I right?

All I had to do to become part of the club was to communicate. In writing. Click To Tweet

Do You Care About Getting Your Stuff Read?

So what does RSVP have to do with writing? Not much — if you don’t care about having your stuff read. But if like many of us, your goals include getting your beautiful book babies in front of readers, then you are probably engaged in far more marketing, outreach and networking than you ever dreamed possible. You may still not be seeing the connection but, trust me, I’m getting there.

You post on Facebook and Instagram. Or Pinterest and Twitter. You interact with readers and other writers. You re-tweet and re-post in support of good people, products, or ideas but, when it comes to your own work? You’re frequently committing professional malpractice.

I’m going to break one of the cardinal rules of online communication. I’m going to (virtually) shout at you. Ready? Click To Tweet

And, to make sure you don’t miss it, I’m going to break one of the cardinal rules of online communication. I’m going to (virtually) shout. Ready?

When someone offers you an opportunity for increased exposure? RESPOND, DAMMIT!

What forms of increased exposure, you ask?

  • You’re offered an interview? RESPOND.
  • Someone asks for your author photo? RESPOND.
  • A reviewer has requested a copy of your book? RESPOND
  • A Twitter chat leader invites you to co-host and needs a bio for the promos? RESPOND
  • And what do you do when one of your contacts asks for a high-resolution copy of your book cover? Let’s hear it from the tenors, now: RESPOND.

And, for the hundreds of other opportunities that might come your way? Let’s hear it in unison, loudly, for the people in the back… RESPOND DAMMIT!!!

And Here’s a ‘Respond Dammit’ Don’t

And here’s what you shouldn’t do: DO NOT WAIT.

Believe me, I am well-aware of how busy a solo practitioner (aka indie author) can get. And, I promise you that I’ve dropped the ball on more occasions than I can count. That’s probably why I get so agitated about it: I always hate to waste a good mistake.

What no longer works is an e-mail auto-responder — or slotting these things for “later, when I have time.” You’re not going to have more time later — and email is not where many of the requests will come from. (It is, however, useful for longer communications, such as the Q&A for an online interview, but more about that in another post.)

Believe me, I am well-aware of how busy an indie author can get. And I've dropped the ball too many times. Click To Tweet

But… HOW to Give a Fast Response?

So how does a busy, perhaps traveling, author make sure she’s able to respond? The answer, my friend, is in the cloud. Not only do I keep author photos, bios, and book covers on my desktop, I’ve got them stashed in various locations in the cloud: on a private page of my website, in a documents folder in my iCloud, and in the DropBox folder that comes with my Amelia Indie Authors membership! (shameless plug).

Why does a fast response matter so much? As stated before, you’re busy. We know that. But so are the people making the request. And the longer it takes for them to assemble the pieces they need to reference (or feature) you, the less of a priority you — and your beautiful book — become. And, if you sit in virtual limbo for long enough, the initial idea becomes untimely. Or irrelevant. And it takes more work to figure out how and what to do with you. You’ve gone from being an interesting addition to a mildly annoying loose end. And that’s surely not your intention. Or your wish.

So how about looking at those requests as invitations? Invitations to a more grown-up, professional place in the writers’ community; invitations that come with an RSVP.

How about you just RESPOND, DAMMIT?

Merci beaucoup. 

 

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Not only does Andrea Patten speak French, she is our Director of Operations, currently tasked with keeping all of the plates spinning. In her “spare time,” she does her level best to keep up with her dogs — and her own writing.

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Want a FREE Marketing Assistant? Here’s How

Almost every author we encounter claims to dislike marketing — yet most of us spend far more time on it than is necessary. And, unfortunately, the fault lies with each one of us who is not already taking advantage of the free marketing assistant at our fingertips.

man at breakfast table, working on laptop. Coffee cup. Bowl of sliced apples. Planner and pens on table.I’ll make this short and sweet. Over the past few weeks, we have been soliciting the writing community for authors who’d like to gain greater exposure by way of guest blog posts, online interviews, podcasts, and a variety of other featured content. That means there have been email exchanges, texts, direct messages, and… yes, more email.

How would something as simple as exchanging emails with other writers get me on (another) rant? Hey, have we met? By now you should be used to me — it’s almost always the simple things that get me going.

So, first, a question. I know a lot of you are introverts, but why do you make it so darned hard to find you? Especially when, with about ten minutes of work, your email is 100% willing and able to stand in for you as your very own, personalized, free marketing assistant.

You may or may not be aware that most (if not all) email programs come with a feature called a “signature.” And that’s what you’re going to use to create your personal marketing assistant.

Before taking the time to set up the signature feature on your email, take a brief inventory. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Where are you online?
  • Do you have a website?
  • Are you on GoodReads?
  • Is your book on Amazon?
  • Do you have social media profiles such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or a Facebook author page?

How about including those links under your name — or at least some of them — as part of the signature that automatically appends to each and every email you send? Some authors include pictures of their book covers or even a small version of the author photo they use on social media. But please do not use the stationery feature offered by some platforms — it rarely looks the same when it lands in an inbox — and has the added downside of eating up little bits of additional memory. (Those tiny bits add up over time.)

Now get going and put that lazy email program to work for you. Today.

 

 

 

 

 

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orange citrus fruit with blue skin on blue background

Free Pictures for Your Posts

Blog and social media posts with inviting or intriguing pictures create more interactions than those without. But finding just the right photo can be time-consuming.

In addition, just because something has been posted on the internet does not mean it is there for us to use. It’s a mistake that authors new to platform-building often make, usually just from not thinking the situation all the way through. That’s right, author-friends, intellectual property rights and laws are not just to protect us — they apply to artwork, song lyrics, and photographs, too.

But, fortunately for those of us who need to use a large number of photographs every month, there are some sites that provide free photographs that can be used in whatever manner you choose — without even crediting the photographer. That’s right — attractive, high-quality photographs with no strings attached.

My three current favorites are:

orange slices in clear liquid with bubblesAnd, in the event that you can’t find just what you want each of these sites is connected to a “for pay” site. Just be sure to check that the terms of use match the way you intend to use it.

Chances are since our topics are all fairly different from one another, there won’t be too much overlap in photo preferences. However, if you have seen an image you like, try to be considerate and choose another. And, if you find another, similar site, please share it in the comments below.

P.S. UPDATE:  Guess who just found a blog post with a bunch of new sources? (The fine print: I haven’t used any of these so be sure to read their licensing/terms of use.

Burst

Epicantus  This one is very cool — a photographer who is offering her “free time” work for free.

Foodies Feed Take a wild guess.

Free Stocks

This post is getting a little long. Let’s move to More Free Pictures for You. See you there.