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Now let’s get to the episode:
As I already mentioned in the previous episode I was at the London Book fair 2 weeks ago. I was there last year too and made an episode about it but this one will be different. Although the fair itself was very similar to what they had last year, I had completely different experience and looked at things from different angles too…
Last year I had my writer/self-published author hat on and made observations from that perspective. This time it was not quite like that. Since my podcast has already evolved and now we have Brand Architect replacing the original Write to be Read podcast, I wanted to address the topics which are more relevant to this new venture. I looked at things more from the marketing perspective this time and looked for examples, stories and lessons related more to that.
Just briefly, for those who don’t know about the London Book Fair it is a global event
Staged annually, LBF sees more than 25,000 publishing professionals arrive in London for the week of the Fair to learn, network, and kick off their year of business. It celebrated its 46-year anniversary. It is a beautiful huge place and mainly focused on the traditional publishing role players. BUT there was a tiny place called Authors Headquater which was all about self-publishing and successful authors who made it on their own. There was Amazon’s stand, super vibrant atmosphere and many successful authors, who had chosen not to ask permission to publish their stories.
I was there recording interviews for the Self-Publishing Formula podcast. So this was the first time that I did interviews for a podcast that was not mine and it was sort of cool. Btw if you are a writer you should definitely check it out, subscribe and listen to it. If you liked the original Write to be Read podcast I am sure you’ll like this one too. Just check it out, ok?
So let’s get into the thoughts I had coming to my mind during the three days I was at the London Book Fair.
1. Don’t ask for permission – just get out there and do what you always wanted to do!
I met so many successful self published authors who had quit their day jobs and made full time income from doing what they love. All of them at some point had their self-doubts, met nay sayers who did not believe it was possible and literary agents who did not even want to represent them. So they went ahead and did it by themselves. And did not have any regrets ever since.
So if you think about doing something – be that launching a podcast, starting a community, writing a book – don’t overthink, don’t ask for permission, don’t pay attention to what others think. Just go ahead and give it a go. Make the first step and start. You never know what the journey will eventually bring.
2. Get out from behind the screen
We can do pretty much everything online these days. It’s very convenient connecting with people all over the world from the comfort of your home sipping coffee or beer in pj-s. For years I relied only on the online because I was living in Armenia and was very far from all the important events in my fields that were happening around the globe. And it worked… But when I visit events like the London Book Fair or conferences and/or meet ups I realize that the real life human interaction can’t be completely replaced.
Those places are ideal for reaching out and connecting with people you would not have a chance talking to otherwise. And guess what? The environment is tailored for that. People are ready to network. They are expecting to be approached. So if you go to events and don’t talk to people there you are missing out a lot.
I guess the main message I wanna share is – get out from behind the screen once in a while and when you go to events get most out of those and network with like minded people.
3. The one question you’ll be asked over and over again
When you go to events like that there will be one question that almost everyone you meet will start the conversation with. And that’s different variations of “So what do you do?” – and that’s where you have to come up with a comprehensive and concise answer. It’s not an opening question to your life story. It is not even a question about all the projects you are working on. And that’s the ideal question that gives you the opportunity to position yourself. By answering that question you show the person how he’s supposed to perceive who you are. The answer should be your main brand message. How do you position yourself… as an author? entrepreneur? podcaster? coach? Less options you pick and more specific you are – better will be the result. And if you are consistent enough – that’s what others will start telling about you eventually. When they introduce you to someone – they will most probably use the answer you gave them when you two met.
So be prepared for that question and make sure you pick the answer strategically, so it serves your brand.
4. Business cards
Yes I know, to some extend printing business cards sounds a bit old fashioned. But they work and people were exchanging their cards at the event. I had mine too and brought loads of business cards from others back home too. There were some good ones and there were many traditional ones which almost looked the same.
So let’s see which ones worked best, shall we?
When I was designing my business card, I don’t even remember who it was now, but someone advised me to have my photo on the card. And I remember that I was resistant at first. I thought it would look very egocentric and narcissistic… but eventually I went ahead and put a photo of me which my son, who was about 10 at that time had taken of me. In fact that’s the photo I am using on the Brand Architect podcast visual, so I am sure you have seen it.
So why having photo is a good move?
Well think about this. You get around 40-60 business cards and bring them home. You did not have extensive deep conversations with many of them. And now you have a bunch of cards with names on it. I am sure you don’t remember most of the names of those 40 people, right? But you would probably remember the face. So you won’t need to visit their website in order to figure out who the person was. You will figure it out just by looking at the photo on the card.
Apart from the photo I’d say make sure the business card you create reflects your brand and is in line with what you already have out there. Look at it as yet another element of your visual branding and keep consistency.
Most of the people who gave out business cards had their website addresses on them, so few days later when I got some time I decided to check those out. You would be surprised to know how many of them I did not see… and no I don’t mean that the sites were down. What I meant was they were too slow and I had no desire to wait till they loaded. And it’s a shame, because maybe those were nice websites that I missed.
In fact almost two years ago I had exactly the same issue and tried different things, but nothing helped much. Then I finally decided to change my website hosting service provider and just by doing that my site became at least twice faster. So needless to say I am super happy with my provider now… and the good news is that everyone who is listening to my podcast and would like to be as happy as I am with their – I have a really good deal for you. Siteground provides 60% off to all Brand Architect listeners – how cool is that? And if you worry about migrating your site from your current host, don’t worry about it either – Siteground will do it for you for free! So really – check it out and thank me later. It’s at www.siteground.com/ani
OK so let’s continue…
6. There is no such thing as overnight success
I am sure you have seen so many stories and messages online which leave the impression that success came fast and that it was easy. Many online marketers do that in order to sell their products and services – because let’s be fair if they told you that it was hard and it will take years, no one would be attracted, right?
Well, but the reality is – it does take lots of time, effort, dedication, persistence and hard work. None of the successful authors and entrepreneurs were lucky. None of them had an overnight success come and knock their doors in the morning. None of them just sit there and waited until luck comes their way.
So don’t look for a shortcut. Don’t try to find the magic button. Why? Because there is none!
7. Don’t fake it!
The advice given out these days that I dislike most is “fake it till you make it!”. And I think that too many people are doing it these day and that is exactly why we get the distorted version of the reality – the ideally photoshopped selfies, the exaggerated success stories, the unjustified bragging, etc.
Many take this strategy offline too and on events try to impress. Maybe some are impressed by the role they play… but believe me if you’re faking it, if you are wearing a mask, if you are playing a role you may get away with it for a while in the online space, but it will be extremely tough to keep the appearance in real life events.
So I’d say, just be yourself. Don’t strategize your every move. Don’t talk only to people you think are “important”. Don’t schedule your whole day at the event and tick off the things you planned to do.
Be yourself and have fun. Because events like this are great opportunity to finally meet so many like-minded people in one place.
8. Take your loyal audience with you
And the last but not least. It appears that if you have a loyal audience, they will be super excited to find out about your experiences and to get behind the scenes. And fortunately, there are so many ways to do that these days.
I did few lifestreams on Facebook and Instagram from the London Book Fair to show my people the place and spoke about some of the stuff I covered in this podcast. I posted several pictures and I recorded this episode.
Obviously it’s part of what you do and those events are related to your niche, so why not share it with your audience and give them your views on things from your own perspective.
Well… I’ll wrap this up now. Hope that you got something useful.
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