POYC or Project Own Your City should be your personal mission in your literary career. Like the clip from the movie above, King of New York; no book signings, no author meet and greets, no literary social events, no seminars on writing should be held in your city without you wanting in. If a local newspaper is looking to do a write up about aspiring authors they should already have your name and number. Every manager in every book store in your city should know who you are. Every library, librarian, and the person in charge of admitting books into those libraries should be able to set their watch by the exact time you call until YOUR books are on the shelves too.
No dog eared pages of any book should be turned in your city unless it’s the pages of your book. No Kindle or Nook screen should be swiped left or right unless it’s your book on their E-reader. If a book function is being held in your city and they have no more tables to rent to you then crash the event anyway and introduce yourself to each and every person there until you’re more known than the featured speaker of the event.
See, your favorite authors continue to get fat while you do what exactly? Conquer the world wide web (and please note, I do get the irony of you reading my blog right here, on the world wide web). How do you look to even gain a foot hold of real-estate on the web, when you aren’t even known locally? Let me repeat that for you…YOU’D GET LOST TRYING TO FIND THE LOCAL BOOK STORE THAT COULD BE UP THE BLOCK AND AROUND THE CORNER FROM YOU.
I’m not a mind reader, but I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking how does being known locally help you to further your career as an author NATIONALLY? Here’s how being the go to author in your city will not only help your brand grow Nationally, if not world wide, but also prepare you to have a lasting and successful career as an author.
Until you learn about the ABC’S of the SEO’S and such, your attempt at gaining any notoriety on the web will amount to nothing more than a post everyone will scroll by. It’s hard enough competing with the cute baby pics, adorable kitten pics, and of course the latest celebrity scandal. Your 3 likes has you feeling like Rocky with Adrian screaming at you that ‘you can’t win.’
But I know what stops you from walking out the door and introducing yourself as Author________________________ (fill in the blank), it’s nice to meet you and thanks for letting me have a moment of your time as I tell you about my latest novel. Well the 2 things that’s stopping you is paralyzing fear and the simple fact that you see the people that you should be getting to know as complete strangers. Now I’m really confused, because more than half the people you have on your friend’s list are strangers too.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t make the attempt to have a presence on the web, hell that’s everyone’s end game no matter what career they’re currently in. What I am saying is how being known as a author in your city will actually work wonders for you on the web. For every real life connection you would make in your city the chances are they are already plugged into the machine known as social media. Now before you say thanks for their time, make sure you asked them is it okay to send them a friend request. Of course they will say yes and there you have it one real connection made. Now don’t go and ruin it by trying to get them to buy every book you’ve written and read every blog you wrote. What you wanna do is to actually socialize and build a relationship where you selling them your books and them WANTING to give you their support is a by product of the meaningful relationship you’ve taken the time to establish.
Another way that being known in your city will help you immensely with your overall career as an author is that for every rejection you’ll get, for every flyer you pass out and find later in a trash can with at least 40 more, for every time a person doesn’t have time or doesn’t make time it will make you even better marketing your book on the web. As long as you DON’T take the rejection as personal and look at it as a learning experience, making sure to ask yourself not what you did wrong, but what you could’ve done better. Look at it this way, getting known in your city are the needed steps to ensure a long and lasting career as an author. Just think of it as batting practice in the minors and as long as you keep swinging for the fences you’ll be hitting homeruns in the majors in no time. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer to have home filed advantage wherever I go.