La Bloga friend, Thelma Reyna, publisher of the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology 2015, sent her panel of readers an important message about the etiquette of participating in a reading. The publisher advises the presenters at the February 8 celebration:
please note that I'd like for you all to mingle with guests after the readings, in case folks would like to take photos with you. I'll have the anthologies available for purchase by our audience, and if they'd like your autographs, I'm hoping you'll feel comfortable with this. I'll have plenty of pens on hand. Feel free to bring your own published books, either to sell or at least to show the audience so they can order some at their leisure. You can also have business cards, or other handouts you'd like to share. I'll have table space. If you can provide your own coverage for your items with volunteer helpers, that will be much appreciated. I welcome your feedback no later than tomorrow late morning or noon. Thanks, folks!
This is a lesson in Marketing 101 for writers. In today's book distribution system, creating and cataloging a book fulfills the publisher’s responsibility. Getting the book in front of readers is the author’s responsibility. For poets with nothing to sell today, building good-will toward the venue is a good payoff and gets you invited back. For gestating books and chapbooks, if the audience remembers your name and your work, the memory gives them a reason to buy when you come on the market.
In other words, a reading presents an opportunity to make an impression. It's impossible not to make an impression. Audiences, venue managers, event organizers, each comes away with expectations and attitudes. Here are some ways an individual can make a useful and likely favorable impression as a writer.
Key, of course, as a practiced reading performance. The occasion surrounding the reading, as Thelma Reyna’s note observes, brings the individual into one-on-one interactions that are key moments in marketing one’s work to its intended audience. For those times, and more, consider the following:
FU or FU
Follow-up or Foul-up. Every meeting deserves acknowledgment, especially if you’ve gotten a card or exchanged email addresses, and even more especially if one of you made a promise. Phatic communication—the kind of ritual conversation that occurs in receptions, lobbies, during breaks—often fills with promises. “I’ll send you copy,” or “I’ll send you that URL.” If you said it, do it. If someone promised, remind them.
A follow-up note is the ideal opportunity to create or reinforce a favorable impression; not doing so is a foul-up that doesn’t matter. Doing so will acknowledge the other’s importance and shows attention to detail and reliability. Who knows when your name will come up in the course of an editor or publisher’s workday?
After reading in public, send a thank-you note or email to the gallery owner or manager, and another to the people who organized the event. Making a memorable impression gets you invited to other events.
Have a card, get cards.
You think your name is memorable but after an evening’s meeting and greeting so many gente you become “some poet I talked to.” Following-up is a breeze when you have someone’s printed card, as opposed to hastily scribbled characters on a piece of paper. Keep your own cards where you can get one out without rummaging around for it. Cards don’t need to be fancy, they need to be legible and complete.
When an editor asks for a foto send one. A head shot is often preferred, one showing eyes and smile and face filling the frame. The “mug shot” offers an opportunity to define the writer’s ethos, or character, so choose a good one. Many author fotos run in thumbprint size, so a wide shot of a poet before a full house is less effective. Don’t send several fotos and tell the editor to choose the best one. Only you know what you want to look like. To the reader, that poem and that portrait define you. A mug shot file name should be your first and last name, not “me”.
Limit yourself to a tight one hundred words unless directed otherwise by the editor. Third person is often more effective than first. There are no rules, it’s your life and your art. Who do you want to be, to your reader?
A “submit by” date is a limit, not a target. The day you’re notified you'll be published, send the bio and mug shot. This means you should have a current bio and mug shot on file.
If afforded an opportunity to send an edited version, get it done now.
Call For Artists in Altadena
La Bloga friend John McDonald of the Altadena Library Board, and USC, sends along this important planning note for LA region artists and artisans:
CALL FOR ARTISTS! On Saturday May 14th the Altadena Library will be having a Latino Cultural Arts Festival with artists, musicians, authors, performers, food and drink! We are looking to showcase 30 or more Latino Artists and craftsmen who would like to display and sell their work at the Library from 1pm to Dark.
The booth fee is $25 and you must provide your own table/tent/display. There is no other fee or commission to participate.
We expect to have over 500 visitors on that day and will be advertising the event heavily. This is also Second Saturday and that means we will be having live music, drink and food starting at 6:30pm.
If you are interested and for more details, please contact Mindy Kittay
The Vendor Agreement can be downloaded here.
The Space Location Diagram can be downloaded here.
More Altadena Raza News
Retired Writer's Passion For Mud and Fire
There's life after a globe-trotting career in any manner of hair-raising extremes in the name of journalism. La Bloga friend Ron Arias finds relaxation and expression in la tierra and the wheel.
Happy Birthday Bryce Milligan 's Wings Press
La Bloga is happy to share birthday wishes on Wings Press' upcoming 21st year under Bryce Milligan's wings. Among US publishing's most interesting catalogs, Wings Press brings great titles one after another.
If two counts as a spate, there's a spate of articles on Milligan's association with Wings Press, both here:
The Rivard Report: http://therivardreport.com/142119/
"On the Town" -- flip to page 92. http://issuu.com/onthetownezine/docs/ott-0116?e=1120733/32376542