opportunity came up to do a presentation at a local library (actually 45 minutes from me, but now we're splitting hairs), I thought this would be a great topic to discuss. The presentation was to be 2 hours with 1.5 allotted for me to talk and a half hour for Q&A.
When I started putting the presentation together, my first thought was, "How am I going to fill 2 hours?" By the time I was done, I was afraid of going over. Social media is such a dense subject that can often rely on the knowledge of the audience. In this case, I had prepared my presentation with no real idea of who my audience was going to be.
Being my first solo talk outside of a professional environment, I didn't quite know what to expect. Hosted at a library, the presentation was open to the public. I arrived early and set up the room, discovering that the open blinds made the screen impossible to see. Great, I thought, now my audience was going to be in the dark... trying to stay awake during my presentation. With about five minutes left before the start, my first guest arrived. Phew! Worst case scenario, I was prepared to sit and chat with one person. I was not prepared for there to be no one at all. That might have burst my bubble just a little. Then another showed and another until there were 8 people there, looking at me eagerly. Now the pressure was really on.
Two hours later, we wrapped up the last bit of Q&A and they gave me a round of applause. At that point, I actually felt a bit embarrassed for it. Over the course of the morning, I felt more like I was just up there having a conversation than speaking on a particular topic. It was a nice feeling though and the overall response was fantastic. I've been in touch with some of the attendees since and have been a bit overwhelmed by the gratification on their part. It was a great feeling to be able to pass along, what I considered, just a small amount of knowledge and perhaps get people thinking about things in ways they hadn't before.
I really enjoyed every aspect of giving the presentation. My wife just shakes her head and wonders how I can get up in front of people and talk. That's the easy part for me. Stick me on a stage any day. So long as I know my lines, I'm good. When I forget my lines, that's when the nerves kick in. And, while presenting isn't for everyone, I highly recommend adding it to your arsenal of promotional tools. I don't expect to sell many books by presenting, but I hope to create relationships with writers who will recognize that I'm just trying to help and someday might be able to return the good will if they have a chance.
If you would like the 52-page PDF version of the presentation I gave, just sign up for my newsletter and send me an email (andyraneauthor[at]gmail[dot]com) with "Social Media for the Independent Author" in the subject line. Or, if you already receive my newsletter, just send me an email. If you're in the NJ area and are interested in having me give this presentation (or another on the subject of writing or publishing) for your writers' group or library, please let me know.