#BuildingALocalReadership – And Having Fun Doing So!

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again, my favorite part of marketing is getting out to spend time with folks face to face. I love making new friends and seeing old ones, and for me, that means doing several presentations a month on various topics, with a signing table set up for afterward.Β 

I’ve spoken on all sorts of things, from writing-related themes to anything at all to do with Florida’s wildlife and natural places, always a favorite subject of mine. The point is, find something you enjoy and maybe have a bit more knowledge about than the average person, then–SHARE it! Over the past year, my talks have been focused on Central Florida’s Fabulous Wildlife, and they’ve been very well-received, happily. I love doing them, especially if I can provide some laughs along with the information I pass along, and I hope to continue doing at least 2 a month for another year or two, at least.

What are you interested in that would appeal to local audiences? Don’t forget, you can research your favorite topics online for extra information and statistics, and putting together a PowerPoint presentation is pretty easy, too. Think about it, and I’ll bet you can come up with a topic that would draw an audience. Then check your local venues for speaking opportunities. I visit with private book clubs, too, but my main focus is on the really special Enterprise Museum, and a local historic site, DeBary Hall. Both venues have wonderful staff to work with and treat me like a honored guest every time I visit with them. I love all ofΒ  them, too!

Let me know if you’ve tried anything similar, or are thinking about doing so. It’s fun. It’s FREE (and in some cases, you can charge a speaker’s fee, though I don’t), and you’ll be surprised at the folks who come to hear about local birds and leave with a book in their hands–hopefully to become a regular reader of your work.

Today, I’m off to DeBary Hall to do Part 2 of my Backyard Birds program, offering tips on how to identify the birds who pass through our yards less frequently, for various reasons. (And we have some stunning ones!) I can’t wait to get there! It’s FUN, I tell ya!

Try it. You’ll LIKE it!

24 thoughts on “#BuildingALocalReadership – And Having Fun Doing So!

  1. Thinking of something interesting that I know a bit more about than most – there’s the rub! Joking aside, it does sound like a great idea and I’m definitely going to consider it. Thanks, Marcia. ❀

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    • It could be cooking, gardening, various hobbies–lots of stuff. It could be about elder care, or something you’ve experienced in your own life. There’s LOTS of stuff tucked in your brain, Trish, and some of it would be new or interesting to others. And you can always do readings from your books, and Questions and Answers, too. Dig around in your head! I’ll bet there’s SOMETHING worth sharing in there! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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    • I’ve always loved sharing nature with folks. Used to volunteer (full-time) at the Audubon Society & often led field trips and canoe trips for birders. My writing has opened the door for me to do some talks, and the nature talks have become part of it all. I’ve done talks on books and writing, too, and am planning to do some more, aimed at folks who want to write a book but have no idea where to start, or have a manuscript but don’t know what the next step is, or who want to understand more about self-publishing.

      If ind getting out and talking to folks to be truly inspiring, and a I always come home excited about writing all over again! πŸ™‚ And yep, we had fun today. I’ll do a short post on it later. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

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  2. A friend of mine who recently purchased one of my books asked what I do to promote. She suggested speaking. It’s something I’m considering. Hope you have fun today, and I love the picture of the Indigo Bunting. I see them on occasion here.

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    • I know it does’t come naturally to many, and I don’t know if forcing oneself to speak to an audience is a good plan or not. It might work for some, and it might send others home to hide in a closet. Thankfully, for me, as long as I THINK I have good info to share, I’m usually fine. And I like to engage the audience, which helps, too. But I honestly think it is one of the best things, both for me and my books, that I’ve done since I started writing. And I had 2 different requests to come speak to private groups today, too, so I hope to hear from those ladies later.

      I hope you’ll give it serious consideration. After all, if you try it and decide it’s not your thing, you don’t have to do any more of them. And it does need to be fun for YOU, too. Good luck, and if I can offer any suggestions at all, just let me know. πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • I have spoken at events before (used to be in Lions Club and I was the District Secretary/Treasurer). I’ve also spoken at new employee orientation for my job. So, I don’t have a problem standing in front of an audience if I’m confident in the subject. It is something I’m going to give some serious thought to doing. I’m going to need knee replacement surgery within the next few months. Until I get my knee fixed, public engagements are out. But after that… who knows?

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        • Well, when your knee has heeled and your are ready for Prime Time, I’ll bet you’ll have come up with some good ideas for things to talk to folks about. Good luck with that, and MUCH good luck with your surgery! ❀

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    • Forgot to comment on the bunting. Indigos are in Central Florida and East Texas at the same time of the year, during breeding season. But they can be tricky to spot in the backyard, depending on your location and what you are surrounded by. I’ve had them at my feeder several times over the years, but more often the green females than the blue males. This year, I had both, AND a painted bunting–a bird that takes my breath away! πŸ™‚

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        • When I said “green females” I was thinking of the painted buntings. The indigo females are actually brown. The painted buntings absolutely take your breath away, but the indigo buntings are very pretty, too. I’ve seen bluebirds now and then, but not often, and never in urban areas. Always in the country, near fields or open areas. That might be different in other places, but they are always a treat, anyway.

          FACTOID ALERT: Did you know that blue birds aren’t really blue? There is no true blue pigment in bird feathers. All blue-colored birds (Jays, buntings, bluebirds, etc) get their blue color from refracted light. I was talking about that today, since I featured some buntings, and it’s always interesting to see how surprised folks are. It’s kind of hard to get your mind around. πŸ˜€ But it’s true. SO many interesting things about birds and other wildlife! πŸ™‚ ❀

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            • I expect I know a fair amount about birds and wildlife in general, especially local critters and places,but this I know above all else: the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is you still don’t know. Researchers, ornithologists, and and other “ologists” find out new things about wildlife every day, it seems. Range maps change, as birds move into new territories or disappear from old ones. New behaviors are observed, and better understandings of old behaviors are recorded. In the years I’ve been involved with or interested in wildlife, I’ve had to “reset” my thinking and understanding more times than I can count. And I love that we are always finding out new stuff. πŸ™‚ Makes it more fun, and gives me new things to share with folks when I can. πŸ˜€

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome idea, Marcia! I hadn’t considered that (speaking to clubs and organization about one of my passions) before, but will put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with… Have a great time at all your events and thanks again for sharing… ❀

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  4. Ah! Not the reclusive, retiring, weird writer, but that funny bird lady who really knows her Florida and who writes those fantastic books!
    I think the main thing is that you are having fun and being genuinely generous with your interests and knowledge. That’s always well received.
    I can buy into this idea, Marcia. Not sure if I could pull it off, but baby steps here and there, most recently at an open mike night, reading some stories.
    Good luck.

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    • I have my reclusive moments, am definitely weird, make people laugh when I can, and love my birds, reptiles, and Florida rivers. But you’re right. The best part of all of it is sharing what I’ve learned over 75 years of camping, canoeing, working with Audubon, and hanging out with all sorts of experts. Okay, maybe second best. The best thing in my world right now is writing, solo endeavor or not. But the rest is great, too! At this time of my life when everything could be getting boring, it’s SO not! πŸ™‚

      And I’ll bet you can pull it off if you decide it’s what you’d like to do. If YOU enjoy it, your audiences will, too. Congratulations on joining in an open mike night. I do short readings now and then, with Q&A time, especially at private book clubs where they don’t have audio/visual set ups. It’s fun! I’m so glad you tried it out, and I hope you’ll think about other ways to get out there and meet your readers. Good luck!

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  5. I’ve done author talks and panels on writing, but never anything non-writing related. There is something electric about being in a room with a captive audience, though. I love that you find these talks so energizing.

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    • Thanks, Staci! It’s especially electrifying when they don’t actually have to be there, like for class credit or such. When I see them coming through the door, many coming straight up to hug me and either tell me how much they are looking forward to the day’s topic, or how much they’ve enjoyed my latest book, I’m on Cloud 9!! And I come home fired up and ready to write!

      I’ll be doing a post later on how things went Saturday, because it was an especially good talk with a great audience. (I’m determined to get more writers “out there” in front of their readers! πŸ˜€ )

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        • There’s something about doing things because you’re required to that takes a lot of the fun out of it, I think. It’s human nature to prefer doing what you want, when you want, I guess. I think many students do enjoy their classes, especially if they have an engaging teacher, but some are only there because they need that credit. They can be pretty tough to reach, where an audience that’s there because they are interested as opposed to being made to attend–they’re the very best! They make teaching or in my case, sharing, SO much fun!

          I love what I do. All of it. The long hours at the computer, the thrill of seeing my books in print, the new opportunities to go out and meet readers and/or nature lovers–all of it! *happy sigh*

          Life is good.

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