Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ten Lessons on Presentation & Performance You Can Learn by Watching Taylor Swift

Jeff Davidson, Guest Author

I almost titled this article, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Performance I Learned by Watching Taylor Swift,” except that I had learned most of what I needed to know long before she came along. Still, you can’t help but marvel at the young lady’s ascension. She is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, heading toward a level of super-stardom that is almost incalculable. Her tours sell out the largest concert venues around the world and, in some cases, soccer and football stadiums.

A&SNet-TaylorSwiftI am not a fan in particular, although I do admire several of her songs, including “Forever and Always,” “Sweeter Than Fiction,” “Safe and Sound,” “Style,” “Blank Space,” and “Welcome to New York.” What captures my interest is her unflagging determination to offer a superior performance every time.

When Taylor Swift was 14 and 15, apparently she and her parents made the rounds to many TV and recording studios in Hollywood and Nashville asking if she could offer a live demo. Most producers said no and summarily dismissed her. The takeaway is that at an early age she had already intended to be a star performer. Today, she’s simply living out her dream.

Forever and Always

I saw her for the first time on “Saturday Night Live,” about six years ago. I only caught her performance midway but was mesmerized. Here was a tall, slender, teenage girl, not with the world’s greatest vocals, wailing away on a song called “Forever and Always.” She had such conviction in her singing that I, and apparently millions of others, was captivated. Who was this young lady? How did “SNL” find about her so early? Where did she come from? What was the driving force behind her music?

In the years since, all these questions were abundantly answered as Taylor Swift rose in the world of country music and then straddled the line between country and pop music, finally settling on pop.

In observing her professionalism, one can’t help but marvel that she has mastered virtually all the techniques of effective performance. Among dozens of things she does exceedingly well, here are some worth contemplating for speakers:

Ten Tips for the Ages

1. Taylor Swift’s stage presence is extraordinary. She most definitely owns the stage. Wherever she is appearing, for whatever size audience, under whatever conditions, you feel as if she is totally comfortable.

2. Her energy level is extraordinarily high and focused. You could say this about many singers, but if you watch any Taylor Swift performance you’ll quickly notice that she uses all 5’10″ of her height and all 122 pounds of her weight in her performance.

3. Her movements are coordinated and appropriate to the song, the audience and the venue. Objectively, she does nothing out of the ordinary, but she prances and moves about on stage in a way that keeps the audience riveted. Obviously, she has worked out all of this well in advance, and the preparation pays off.

4. Her connection to the audience is amazing. Through gestures, eye contact and a variety of other stagecraft techniques, you get the sense that she is totally there, in every performance. Some singers and performers allow you to watch. Some induce you to watch. Taylor Swift performs in way that all you want to do is watch.

5. Unbeknownst to many, she is a virtuoso pianist and plays other instruments as well. This capability helps, even during songs when she is not playing any instrument. When she does employ her guitar she is totally comfortable with it.

6. She is a student of performance. Recently asked to be a coach on the hit television show “The Voice,” she astounded the four regulars coaches – Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton – by instantly assessing their team members’ practice sessions and, in a matter of seconds, offering insightful suggestions that immediately improved their performances.

If you haven’t seen “The Voice” episodes when Taylor Swift was coaching, go online to the many segments available on YouTube. Although she’s only 25 years old (born in December, 1989), she has stated that she makes mental notes of every performance she’s seen, whether at the American Music Awards, the Country Music Awards or the Grammys. She didn’t go to college, but she certainly is an excellent student and her unparalleled performance wisdom belies her tender age.

7. She is constantly evolving. Whether or not you like her music, if you take the word of top critics and music aficionados, it’s undeniable that each album has gotten better. She recently made the choice to forsake country music and focus on pop music, whereas she had been straddling the line for years. Her latest album, “1989,” the year of her birth, has won critical acclaim from the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Time magazine, among legions of other publications.

8. As far as one can tell, she is down-to-earth. During an interview on the “Jimmy Kimmel Show,” she stated that album reviews do matter and any artist who says they don’t is not being honest. How she maintains an air of humility and that common-person touch probably can be attributed to her parents. At some point, however, you have to concede that the young lady has what it takes in terms of looks, personality and sufficient talent to make herself a star.

9. As her fans – Swifties – know, and many critics have lamented, her songs are highly personal, representing her relations with men, with friends and her life’s events. Because she is self-disclosing, many fans gave her an immediate pass. Today, it is understood that Taylor Swift writes songs from her personal experiences that have meaning for her and, happily, also have meaning for her listeners.

10. Taylor Swift lives in the now and has a focus on the future. Her decision to abandon country for pop was done with the realization that she’ll be in the business for the long haul and that the popular music route will enable her to grow and expand in novel ways. In past decades, many performers who have attempted to leave one music genre for another have not always fared so well, among them, Bob Dylan, Jewel and LeAnn Rimes. Taylor Swift made the switch young enough to recover from any potential setback but with the success of “1989,” apparently has already leapfrogged over that hurdle.

BONUS Article: In A World Of Stuntvertising, Taylor Swift Schools Brands

JeffDavidson

Jeff Davidson

Copyright © 2014 – Jeff Davidson. Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, aka “the work life balance expert” works with busy people to increase their work-life balance, so that they can be more productive and competitive, and still have a happy home life. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, and Dial it Down, Live it Up. He is a columnist for Association News, Accounting Web, CPA Practice Digest, Insurance Business America, The Practical Lawyer, Physician’s Practice, Public Management, and Human Resources IQ. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Book a Book Signing And Other Important Stuff!

Filed under: Author Tips,Book Signing Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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If I am driving by a store where I’ve never had a book signing, I drop in. First I ask someone to check their computer to see if they are stocking my book. (They don’t know I am the author yet). If so, I ask where to find it and bring it back and tell them I am the author and ask if they would like for me to sign the books. They usually say yes and become very helpful knowing I am the author.

If they do not stock my books, I tell them that books by Larry James are great books and tell them that I should know… I am Larry James – as I hand them my card. This usually gets a smile. I then ask for the name of the CRC (Community Relations Coordinator or person in charge of buy books & booking signings) and request that they ask the CRC if they have two minutes to come out and meet Larry James, an author.

BOOKaBookSigningIf the CRC is not available, I ask when is the best time to call? They will often offer the CRC’s schedule. If not, I ask for it. Although it is better to present yourself and your books in person, calling for an appointment works too. However when they hear you ask for two minutes, if the CRC is there, they will almost always come out to meet an author.

Honor your word. Be sure to keep your conversation to two minutes. If they show an interest and the time goes past two minutes, I usually smile and say, “My two minutes are up. We are on your time now and I’m happy to continue the conversation or I can schedule an appointment to come back later.” I’ve never had a CRC ask me to come back later.

I begin the conversation by introducing myself and showing them my three relationship books. Asking to do a book signing comes after they have heard my audio bio or introduction to my books.

If they are not currently carrying my books, I give them a flyer that tells where they can order; Ingram, Baker & or my publisher, Robert Reed Publishing.

If they currently have books in their store, I show the CRC that I have signed the books, request that they keep a good supply on hand, and let them know that I am a local author and appear on numerous radio talk shows, present relationship seminars locally and nationwide and am a shameless self-promoter, with finesse, of course. I also mention that Barbara Walters interviewed me about my book, “How to Really Love the One You’re With” on ABC TVs “the View.” That usually gets their attention. I tell the CRC some of the unusual things I do when I do a signing (Read 40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an EVENT!!) and ask them how soon they would like to schedule a book signing and/or seminar with me.

Notice, I didn’t say, “Would you like to schedule a book signing with me?” I said, “How soon…”

It is important for the CRC to know your experience and to experience some of the excitement you have about appearing in their store. Bring any collateral material that demonstrates your ability to promote your book; book marks, flyers, large posters of your book covers, extra book covers, awards, special newspaper coverage, endorsements from celebrities (or others), etc.

If they are hesitant to invite you to do a signing or a seminar and you are a member of a local authors group, offer to be the coordinator to have several of your author friends participate with you to make it a group signing and a special event.

I let the CRC know that I will do my best to schedule a local talk show (Read Radio Station Checklist & How to Be a Great Radio Guest) to help promote the event. I never promise that this will happen, but I do promise I will do my best to make it happen.

I also ask them if they would share their media list with me so I can send a news release to the media. Often they will tell me that “they” do that. I respond by saying, “So do I. And I duplicate your efforts because it’s better to have two book signing notices appear on the editors desk than one.”

My experience has been that an editor will often print more of what the author says about the book and the signing than the store. The news release from the store is a confirmation that the signing is actually scheduled. I will often send one of the store’s news releases with my own.

If they don’t have a media list, that is a red flag. Some book store CRCs do not do much to advertise your signings. I ask them exactly how they intend to help me promote the event; posters, special book table featuring my books for at least a week before the event, new releases to the media, etc.

If the store begins to set up the autograph table after I arrive, has no poster or special book table for pre-publicity, that is a sure sign the store is not fully engaged in helping to promote the book signing or the author.

If they are not willing to fully participate in the promotion of the event, generally speaking, I will most likely back off from doing the book signing and let them know – in a kind and loving way – why I am no longer interested. I usually slip in the words “partners” and “working together” somewhere in the conversation.

Once a book signing is scheduled, I maintain “frequent contact” with the CRC to make sure everything is still on track; books ordered and received, book table and poster prepared, media informed, etc.

I showed up for a signing in San Diego and was surprised to learn that the “former” CRC had only send in a news release – I had a copy of the newspaper that mentioned the book signing – but soon discovered that the new CRC knew nothing about the book signing. No books had been ordered, but since I was doing a relationship seminar the next day and had already been on a radio talk show that morning where I mentioned the signing at the store, the CRC felt so bad about this that she allowed me to bring in books from my car, sell them and keep all the money for myself. Talk about incentive! I sold 37 books in two hours that afternoon.

It is important to understand that the purpose of book signings is not necessarily to sell books, but to make the book store customers and CRC AWARE of your books.

Another important point to understand is that books DO NOT sell themselves! People SELL books! It’s equally important to spend some of your time at your signing to smooze with the people who take the money from the customers who buy your books. Get to know the staff at the book store. THEY can help you continue to sell your books LONG AFTER you have gone!

Book signings are an opportunity to build relationships with the book sellers. I consider book signings as an opportunity to SELL the book sellers on recommending MY books when someone asks for a good relationship book!

BONUS Articles: Getting Into Bookstores? – 7 Tips to Help You!
Book Signing Strategies
Book Signing Tips From A Road Warrior
How to Book Radio Shows & Be a Great Guest! – FREE eBOOK Download
40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an EVENT!!
How to Schedule Book Signing Events

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Importance of Foreign Rights

Filed under: Foreign Rights — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Bob Erdmann, Guest Author

The most successful publishers and self-published authors I’ve worked with in my four+ decades in book publishing have been those who understood that (1) publishing is a business, not a hobby; (2) have been tireless promoters of their books; and (3) fully realized that a book should be considered as a financial “asset” and as such it should gain the largest return on investment as possible. Number 3 means fully maximizing multiple revenue streams from that asset and a very meaningful revenue stream, and one that is minimally cost intensive, is foreign rights. That’s right, minimally cost intensive! The foreign publisher bears all the costs involved and pays you for the right to translate and publish your book in their country. That’s a pretty good deal, a “no-brainer”, right?

ForeignRightsOK, you’re probably wondering “what’s this all about, how does it work?” It’s really pretty simple. Foreign publishers world wide are aggressively seeking books to publish. More often than not, work by quality authors is simply not readily available in their countries so they seek acquisition of licensing rights to books already published in other countries, especially America.

You, the American publisher (or self-published author) license the right to a foreign publisher to reprint, market and distribute your book in either English in English speaking countries, or translated into a foreign language in non-English speaking countries. The entire cost to do this is borne by the foreign publisher, who pays you an advance and royalty for this licensing right. This is found money for you and a very simple way to create a significant revenue stream from your financial asset—your book—thus helping to maximize the return on your investment.

Book publishing is now on a very fast track which makes the smaller, independent publisher vulnerable to the whims and fancies of a very fickle industry. Barnes & Noble and Borders will be the first to tell you that if your book doesn’t sell very, very quickly they won’t be carrying it much longer than a cup of coffee. The same is true with Ingram and Baker & Taylor, or your distributor if you use one. As a wise investor, you need to diversify your financial assets. Build a foreign rights revenue stream to protect your number one asset!

What is the market? Simply stated, there are tens of thousands of foreign publishers in nearly 400 countries. They are looking for books that will “travel”, meaning that the content will be applicable in their country as well as the United States. Too many references to American people, places, institutions, culture, etc. will not mean much to a reader in a foreign country. Books under 250 pages are perfect. A 250 page book in most European countries would swell to more than 330 pages, thus negatively affecting the production costs, retail price, and ultimately reducing potential sales. Conversely, a 250 page book in most Asian languages will shrink to under 175 pages because of the efficiency of the languages.

The hottest categories always seem to be business, psychology/self help and other nonfiction subjects. But the foreign publishers are looking for books with specificity in those subjects, not just another “ho-hum, me-too” book. And not books that are obviously purely for the author’s self-gratification. It’s not enough for a business book to say “managing your business is a good idea”, the book needs to say specifically how to do it, and preferably with a unique angle. The countries that seem to be the most active recently are, but not limited to: China, Russia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, India and most of the eastern European nations.

You must make a commitment to foreign rights as an integral part of your publishing program. It doesn’t work to simply put your toe in the water once and decide if you like the temperature or not. I like to say that “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” It’s not your one attempt, or your one deal, that creates a successful foreign rights program and consequently maximizing your investment. It’s the aggregate of frequent attempts and the many deals that will result from those attempts. I have clients in my annual Foreign Rights Programs who, after only two or three years participating, have contracts with 8 or 10 or 14 different foreign publishers for a single book. Any one deal is nice, but multiply that one book times 8 or 10 or 14 and the additional revenue from that asset is quite significant.

The Frankfurt International Book Fair is acknowledged as the world’s main and most important venue for foreign rights. It’s the granddaddy of them all! If you had to choose only one book fair for your book(s) for foreign rights sales, Frankfurt would be the well-informed, unanimous choice. Housed in ten buildings (many three stories tall) it’s thirty times larger than the London Book Fair and almost fifteen times larger than BookExpoAmerica. And most important, it’s one-stop shopping. The nearly 400,000 publishing people from every corner of the world who attend the Frankfurt Book Fair are there for one reason only….to buy or sell foreign rights.

How much revenue can you expect? That, of course, varies. It could be a little or a lot and you must be realistic in your expectations. The value will vary from country to country and from book to book. And the long-term value depends on how well it sells in a given country, just like in America. I have represented books in my Foreign Rights Program that have proven to be huge successes. An exceptional success I like to mention is the time one of my clients, a self-published author, received his first royalty check for $750,000 for the initial six month period from a Korean publisher.

The other extreme is that I have had books in my Program that earned no royalty beyond the advance. Again, just like in America, it depends on how well your book sells. The foreign publisher wants your book to be successful, perhaps even more than you do. He will make every effort to accomplish that goal since he will have a substantial financial investment in his edition of your book since he will have already paid you an advance and incurred production, printing and marketing costs.

So treat your book as a financial asset, diversify your investment to protect your interests, and search for those other potential revenue streams. Why not begin with a risk-free, minimal cost, foreign rights effort.

BONUS Articles: Foreign Rights
The Check’s in the Airmail: Foreign Publication Rights
Investigate Foreign Rights for Your Books

Copyright © 2014 – Bob Erdmann. For free information on “The Importance of Foreign Rights” and how to create a foreign rights revenue stream with no money down contact veteran publishing and foreign rights Guru Bob Erdmann. Bob gets 5 stars from Larry James. He has sucessfully sold the foreign rights to two of my books which put them in 9 other countries – India, Poland, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam. He currently represents more than 200 North American authors and publishers of non-fiction books. Send your request to: bob@bob-erdmann.com or call 925-274-1348. Visit Bob’s Website at: http://www.ColumbineCommunications.com/

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry on Pintrest at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Friday, December 5, 2014

65 Accomplished Writers and Marketers Reveal Their Secrets to Productivity

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

This is probably not the first productivity article that you have read. You probably have seen countless lists telling you tips like “Don’t go on facebook!” or “don’t check your email!”

productivityBut the real key to productivity is not about little tricks or one-day-stints. It’s about working consistently even if you don’t feel like it, or you’re too tired, or you have to take care of children. It’s difficult, but not impossible to create a system for works. You can do it, because these writers (who are human, just like you) have done it.

When you read their responses, you will find out that their motivations and schedules are as different as their line of work. But what connects them all is their cultivated system for accomplishing their goals.

Here’s what some accomplished writers say about how they stay productive and manage their time. Click here!

RobCopyright © 2014 – Rob. Rob hosts the Website http://www.focusalot.com/#howitworks

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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