This morning is truly the first time I’ve sat still since September 13. Today’s the 26th — that makes 13 days. While I’m not truly “home” until sometime around October 8, this morning I have a lazy start (full of work, mind you) in Queens outside NYC where my friend Colleen is putting me up during part of my East Coast stint.
Since I left on the 13th, I’ve been in Minneapolis, Boston, Brattleboro, Groton, Boston, Boulder, and New York City. On Monday, I’ll be adding Santa Clara followed by Moab to that list. And it’s scary to think this morning about how long I’ve been running around barefoot.
This week, I spoke at the Digital Book World Discoverability & Marketing conference about how publishers and authors can build better relationships (and sell more books). I guessed I touched more than a few nerves with publishers in the audience (including one of my own), but there were takeaways for me even beyond meeting new people and starting these conversations.
It’s common that our own businesses are the last ones we take care of, and every now and then, I need outside input on just how much my feet hurt and why I should invest in some treads. It never takes much time (ever) but we always seem to ignore this stuff. Here’s what I learned and I’ll share it with you.
Do You Know About the Rel= Author Tag?
Ever Google your name and you can’t find your blog anywhere (just your social profiles)? Yeah. Hello. It’s because you probably need to set up something simple yet missing from most blogs: your rel = author tag.
I work in SEO regularly and this functionality wasn’t built into either RedheadWriting or The Power of Unpopular. Shit on toast (my first thought). My second? Let’s get this taken care of. So immediately following Marshall Simmond’s presentation on Monday morning (he formerly headed up SEO for the New York Times), I went to my RedheadWriting Facebook fan page and launched a call for an hour of a WordPress developer’s time. Mark Marshall answered the call (as my gal is on vacation), and inside of an hour, he had both blogs taken care of for me. Net cost? $80. Done and done.
First, here’s the article that Marshall Simmonds shared that prompted me to get my digital shit together.
Here’s the gist: Google needs to be able to look at your blog and know that YOU are the author of the posts appearing on that site so they can incorporate those into your overall ranking for your name in search results. Once you have the rel = “author” tage established, here’s your next step: create a Google+ profile (stop grimacing) and link your blogs/contributor sites to your G+ profile. This link will allow you to do this quickly and easily: How to Establish Google Authorship.
Want to get this done? Use your own developer, try to hack it together yourself (I will fuck UP some code if you let me, so I don’t touch this stuff), or contact Mark Marshall (who did the work on my blogs).
Still Barefoot — More Shoes: A Better Tool for Authors/Speakers to Build Travel Schedules
When you get to a point in your career where your audience is asking when you’ll be coming to their neck of the woods, here’s the stark honest truth: it’s rare to find a publisher who will pay to make that happen. Why? Because they’re overburdened with a gazillion titles to market and your title is but one of them.
So how do you get out there? Audiences are the only reason we get to do what we do, and let’s face it: no one wants to buy a plane ticket to Peoria, IL for a book tour date only to find that everyone on the Peoria end fell asleep at the wheel and you’ve shelled out $300 for airfare, another $100 for hotel and a rental car, and time away from your clients for 11 people to show up at an event where you end up selling 4 books.
It has to be better than this. This week, I met a company that wants to make this better. Introducing Togather.
Founded by a fellow author who got a shitload of publicity but found that sales plateaued and traditional book tour dates weren’t doing dilly-o, Togather puts the power of your book tours and other speaking engagements where it belongs: with your audience.
People want you to come to Milwaukee? Philly? Paris, TX? Fantastic. Your fans in those areas can go to Togather and build an event to bring you to town. You can ensure there are a minimum number of people in the room so that your travel is worthwhile for everyone. Have a look — and you’ll be seeing The Power of Unpopular’s upcoming events powered by Togather shortly. And it’s not just for authors. This is incredible for speakers and anyone else who teaches courses or events. Use it YOUR way and give your audience the power to bring you to their backyards.
And a few anecdotes from The Big Apple
If you’re interested in seeing pictures from TEDx Boulder last week, you can have a look at the Flickr set here. This is a collection from my talk exclusively, including a hearty holyfuckballs that I wasn’t the event’s first wardrobe malfunction and joy that they caught a pic of me in front of Palin and the polar bear.
Next, I had the privilege of joining a NYC native on Monday evening for a trip to see the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in the West Village. It was an evening filled with a full 13-piece orchestra and multiple guest musicians who joined throughout the night on various instruments. At one point in the evening, a genteel, tweed-coated man seated in the front row’s woodwind section made me think, “Goddamn — grandpa just blew a hole in the ceiling” when he whipped out an alto sax and laid into a tune like he was playing for St. Peter to let him have one more go at life’s merry-go-round. If you’re a jazz fan, check them out the next time you’re in NYC at The Village Vanguard on Monday nights.
And I do love coming to New York. There’s a certain magic that happens when you see three subway cars all pass one another in opposing directions at the same time your train is headed to your next destination. Windows passing windows passing windows…it reminds you that the man who gets on at Roosevelt Island announcing he’s homeless and grateful for anyone assistance is worth the trouble of every piece of change you have in your wallet — and that you could be him had those windows and doors opened, closed, or passed one another in a different sequence. I’m reminded of how homogenized a city I live in back in Colorado after walking through entire countries in a few city blocks (and I highly recommend Pongal Indian restaurant on 27th & Lexington). New York City humbles me, let me breathe, and always makes me think of what life would be like if I were a bit more of a city girl in love with the pulse of small spaces, tall buildings, and walking my dogs on pavement as opposed to trails weaving through mountains.
So, there will be more soon — I promise. And until then, I’ll leave you with a bit of a wish list: May you never forget that…
there are those without shoes.
a dollar to you is a million to another.
you have time while others have none.
boats left unrocked will never have been used for their true purpose.
what’s normal to you is a dream to another.
no memory is made without the gift of another person’s perspective.
and than a man wrapped in a tweed coat holding a saxaphone could be the next person to remind you that books and covers are often quite different things.