Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why "Fake It Till You Make It" Is Great Advice For Authors

Do you know who Hulk Hogan is? Chances are the name makes you think of a guy who used to be famous for terrible action movies and speedo-theatre (professional wrestling for the lay person), but who is now famous for being on reality TV and making you feel better about your own life decisions. However, did you ever ask how a tow-headed lunk from muscle beach managed to earn the moniker "Hollywood Hulk Hogan" in the first place?

Because he told everyone he was famous, and after a little while they believed him.

Would someone who isn't a superstar ever dress like this?
There's slightly more to the story than that (Hogan still had to go to the gym, work out, develop a persona, etc.), but a great deal of Terry Gene Bollea's success seems to have been derived from his tendency to walk into a place like he was the most important person there.

Authors could learn a lot from this muscle-bound lug's career approach.

Becoming A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

It takes a lot of swagger to walk into a room like you belong there. If you mix that self-confidence with charisma and a touch of professionalism, though, then you have a cocktail which will get you everywhere you want to be. Want to set up a book signing at a local store? Chances are good that a smile and a "I'm here to help you" attitude will make it happen. Do you want to become a panelist at a convention? Contacting the head of programming with a can-do attitude and a hearty handshake accomplishes wonders. Want a job working for a particular publication or website? Kick in the door, and ask for it. It's astonishing how often they say yes.

I'd like benefits, and a cut of the AdSense earnings, too!
This attitude sounds like something that won't work if you don't have a six-figure deal, talk show interviews, and a Big Name publisher at your back, but it's surprising how often you can get the things you want with moxie, flair, and by convincing other people that you are doing them a favor (and by that I mean actually giving someone the impression that you're helping, instead of saying those words to them in the tone of "you owe me for this"). In fact, sometimes all you have to do is speak clearly, logically, and with professionalism to make people think you're the next big thing.

Why does that work? Well...

Because Most People Have No Idea Who Is And Isn't Important

In my long-ago blog entry Things You Should Never Say To A Writer, I mentioned that one of the most irritating questions you can be asked is, "Have you written anything I may have seen?" The reason this is irritating is because it challenges you to prove that you are someone famous enough to be legitimate... but the flip side of it is that most people will hear the word "author" and be impressed instead of skeptical. You can use that to your advantage.

So you're like... published, and stuff?
It's all about presentation. If you show up confident, friendly, and with a few novels, collections, or anthology credits under your belt, it doesn't matter if you're not an international best-seller... you're an author. Maybe you can add additional angles by billing yourself as a sci-fi author, or a local author, to make you more appealing to the people you need to impress. And if you are sitting at a table with copies of your book(s) for sale, ready to sign them, then a lot of people are going to come over to see what all the fuss is about.

After all, you're an author, and since you're there in the flesh you can pitch to your future fans just why they should start reading your book(s) today.

Network, Hobnob, And Step Into Those Big Shoes

One book signing isn't going to make your career. One interview in the local paper isn't going to catapult you to fame and fortune. However, every time you show up to an event you meet new people (fans and event coordinators alike). You hand out more business cards, get people to at least look at your book (even if they don't buy one), and your reputation grows a little bit more. If you can keep up your Rolling Stone impression, then it's just a matter of time before you start running into people who see you as a regular. Those people will introduce you to their friends, and their friends will bring their friends, and pretty soon you're getting invites to appear at more events, you have people asking you back, and suddenly you're not faking it anymore; you've become the person you told everyone you were.

Just don't forget to keep writing books while you're doing all this.

Would you like a free book? I have a special event going on right now, and you can get all the details right here! If you want to catch all my updates then be sure to follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, and if you want to support The Literary Mercenary just drop in on my Patreon page!

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