Friday, August 3, 2018

Authors Should Promote Books Like Street Entertainers Sell Their Talents

While visiting Boston this past weekend to see a good friend, I came across a street entertainer. He gave a very nice performance that lasted at least 30 minutes.  He probably took in hundreds of dollars from just that performance.  I imagine he’ll do many more throughout the day or night.  He will easily clear a thousand bucks – cash -- by day’s end. Authors can learn from his showmanship.

Street entertainers, like authors, are a dime a dozen.  They’re all over the place.  Every city’s tourist traps have them.  In Times Square, people make money simply by wearing a Spider-Man costume and then shaking down people who pose for pictures with them.  In other cities you’ll see clowns, dancers, comics, jugglers, acrobats, and other talented, energized individuals hustling for a dollar.

Their windows to earn are limited by weather, daylight, age, and their physical capacity to relentlessly use their bodies to their limits.  What does an injured or retired street performer do later in life to make some money?

The guy that I saw was not only a very good dancer, but he was funny – a showman.  He used humor, particularly sarcasm and played on stereotypes. He would build up anticipation, show some good attitude, and sometimes merely use silent mimes to get a point across.  But what he did best was gyrate and contort his body in which every onlooker knew he or she could never do. 

He wisely spoke to the audience to build a relationship up.  He took some volunteers to his stage, humanizing the show.  One was a cute little boy.  Another was a guy who lacked rhythm and played a useful role to contrast the talented dancer’s moves.

The entertainer did many things right to lure you in and get you to open your wallet, including:

·         Having a real talent -- great dancer.
·         Using 80s music, knowing middle-aged people would be drawn in -- a long with their wallets.
·         He smiled and made you laugh.
·         He asked for money by explaining why he’s deserving of it.
·         He invited the audience to clap and participate.
·         He stated his credentials – been performing for 10 years and once got on TVs America’s Got Talent (made the cut to final 12).
·         He didn’t give it all away – he didn’t have to dance for 30 minutes.

In fact, he probably only danced during a fourth of the show, thus preserving himself to do more shows.

So how can authors follow his lead?

They can be more charismatic and interactive with the reading public.  They can use humor and props to excite people.  They need to get out there and perform (readings and speaking), and blatantly ask for the support of others by explaining what goes into writing a book. 

And if authors can move like he does, well, they’d have a best-seller on their hands.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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