Tuesday, April 22, 2014

10 Steps to Preparing for a Speaking Event

Author Paul Betit
You've received a call from a local organization. They would love for you to come and speak at their next meeting. Congratulations! But wait! You are a writer not a speaker. If the thought of getting up and talking to a group of people gives you pause, here are ten points to make the process easier.
1. Introductions should be brief. Thirty seconds is a long time. Most commercials are 30 seconds. Try it. If you are introduced, skip the introduction completely. Don’t bore your audience.
2. Use the lectern or podium. If there is a podium, lectern or table—use it to hold your materials. Put the papers down. They are a distraction from your talk. You do not want your audience to notice how you crumble, fold or mutilate the papers in your hands.

3. Use the microphone. If there's a microphone, use it. Check it out before the event. People in the back of the room will appreciate it. 
4. Encourage audience interaction. When reading material, allow space in your delivery for applause if they choose to do so. Offer a question & answer period. I’ve found the people like the Q & A portion of every event more than the rest of the event.
5. Be organized. When giving a presentation have your notes ready to go before the presentation. If you're reading poems, excerpts from your book, have your selections planned out before you hit the stage. Photocopy your selections onto 8½ x 11 pages. There is nothing worse than watching a presenter find their places in a book. “Oh, not that one. Oh, here it is.”
6. Slow down. Remember to breathe and pause to look at your audience. Remember that what you feel is slow is still a comfortable listening pace for your audience.
Author Barbara Kent Lawrence
7. Make personal connections. With small groups less than thirty, I like to have everyone introduce themselves with a little bit of information about their connection to the subject of my talk.
8. Leave them wanting more. Keep to the time allotted. Ask an audience member to be a timer and give you five, three and one minute warnings with predetermined signals.
9. Don’t forget a conclusion or a call to action. Ask them to buy your book, thank the hosts or support the sponsoring organization. Remind them to do something that you explained in your talk. An alternative it to give the audience a quick three point summary of your talk.
10. Give them something free to take away. Anything you hand out—flyer, bookmark, business card should include your name and contact information with website and blog address. Don’t forget to tell them about your presence on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.
Now you should be ready to plan your first speaking event. If you're an experienced speaker, what are some of your hints and tips?


Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, publishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project—building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: nerandolph@jstwrite.com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

10 Things to Know about QR Codes

Event poster with a QR code directing scanners to the website
where they can register for the run.
If you see little black and white pixilated squares around, you may wonder what they are. They are QR codes. Useful in business to covey a lot of information in a small space.
1. QR stands for Quick Response. They come from Japan where they have been used for twenty years. They can be read quickly by many cell phones.
2. They are like bar codes, but instead of determining the price of your purchase, you can encode other pieces of data in them, such as text and URLs to websites, documents or YouTube videos. The QR code can send a person to the “buy it now” page of your website.

3. Your entire business card information can be encoded into a QR code. Place the code onto your business card. This saves the recipient data entry time and they'll be more likely to keep your information.
Just Write Books' Facebook Fan Page
4. To read a QR code, you need to download an app for your phone…not time consuming, may be a minute. I use Savvy Shopper for Droid.
5. My favorite website to create QR codes is: http://www.qrstuff.com/
6. If you are creating a QR code for a URL, first make it into a small URL. My favorite website for that is: http://bitly.com/ Creating a small URL makes the QR code less complex and faster to load and less prone to smudging errors.
7. QR codes will be useful to a cell phone user, if you print them on your business cards, printed advertising and publicity pieces. A viewer can scan the information on their phone and take it with them without displacing a poster or some other printed media.
8. A mobile optimized website will make the user experience more worthwhile.

Save Our Swinging Bridge
9. New ways to use QR that I think are neat: 
a. For instructions, the QR code could contain the URL to a YouTube video providing step-by-step instructional video.
b. QR codes in real estate print ads lead to a mobile optimized virtual tour of property and, of course, the contact information of the listing broker.

c. Museum or conference daily schedules and more info. This gives opportunity for less printing and provides adequate information.
d. Links to websites providing information for historical walking tours.

10. There will be QR codes uses of which we have not yet dreamed.

Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, publishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project—building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: nerandolph@jstwrite.com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

10 Things I Learned at the Independent Publishers of New England Conference

"The Website in the Stream" with Jeremy Allmendinger, 
Alison Atondo and Sarah Frazier, of Champlain College
Publishing Initiative.
I attended the Independent Publishers of New England Conference in Southbridge, Massachusetts this weekend. IPNE is a nonprofit with members in the publishing field: publishers, authors and others that support the publishing trade. One part of IPNE's mission is provide opportunities for education and networking for those engaged in independent book publishing and related activities in the six New England states. This event was particularly successful in that goal. I decided last week to use this week's blog to describe ten things I learned at the IPNE annual conference.
They were:
Islands of Time by Barbara Lawrence
  Literary Fiction Book Award
1. That Islands of Time by Barbara Kent Lawrence was a finalist in the category of Literary Fiction in IPNE's first annual book award contest. With great reviews and outstanding reader comments, the book deserved to be in the final round.
2. That no book should be without a website. Many of my authors have websites but a few do not and I'm going to work on remedying that this year. Of note would be Robert Chute's series of mysteries that deserves more readers and notice. A couple of my older titles, histories of towns, Lovewell's Town: From Howling Wilderness to Vacationland in Trust and Frontier to Industrial City: Lewiston Town Politics 1768-1863 deserve their own websites. I'll work on each of these. If an author has a website and we have a book page, that might be enough, but the workshop leaders really thought each book needed its own website.
3. A new definition for publishing: the act of making public.
4. The purpose of websites and blogs are to begin and sustain a conversation with the public.
5. Wordpress helps people find larger audiences for blogs. This was something new for me. I've seen so many ugly Wordpress sites that I thought Wordpress was something to avoid. 
6. Using an email form is better than having a link because everyone doesn't have the click on the link opening up an email compose page. Creating a "Contact Us" form makes it easier for people to connect. This helps with beginning and creating the conversation.
Maung Nyeu
7. Maung Nyeu who spoke at the conference about the importance of education. I listened to his presentation and afterwards talked with him, learning much about his childhood hiding from the military while he grew to adulthood, striving to go to college and surviving to leave his homeland to attain an education. He now lives in Harvard where he continues his education. He is working to help the children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts attain an education. Read more here: http://ourgoldenhour.wordpress.com/
8. Six word memoirs. I wrote mine. Poverty enlists Navy becomes Maine publisher.
9. Burlington Book Festival is according to its website: The Queen City’s annual celebration of the written word offers readings, book signings, panels, workshops, demos, family activities, and special events
featuring literary luminaries from around the world and just around the corner. I'm hoping to participate with my books and authors September 19-21, 2014. FMI: http://burlingtonbookfestival.com/
New friends from the conference
10. This last learning was a reminder that I love people. I met colleagues in the publishing business with whom I hope to stay in contact. I can learn from them and they from me. The students from Champlain College Publishing Initiative taught me a lot about my business. It was rapid fire learning at its best. Sara Frazier, Alison Atonda, Jeremy Allmendinger talked about the next generation websites. Websites must be more than interactive they must form community. Tim Brookes and another student (I did write down his name and he was the videographer of the event) talked more about the future of websites and how to produce the next generation for publishing. I loved talking with the students. I loved their energy, their sharpness and their willingness to answer questions.

Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, publishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project—building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: nerandolph@jstwrite.com.