America seems to have a communication problem – and authors are not immune to it.
How often do you:
- Ask a friend or family member to buy your book or post something on social media about your book – and get met with a yes that only leads you to keep bugging them months later?
- Make a joke and the other person doesn’t get it?
- Ask a question and seemingly get an answer to a question not asked?
- Convey what’s interesting or important about your book, only to have people ask you five minutes later what it is about?
- Give an explicit food order, emphasizing exactly what you want, only to be brought the wrong thing?
- Ask someone to do something by a deadline and it still doesn’t get done?
Any and all of the above happens pretty regularly, at least in the world I
operate in. I will bet it consistently happens to you, too. Maybe you are not only
the victim of it, but the perpetrator of such communication atrocities. It seems
no one truly listens to anyone anymore. I am not even sure therapists listen to
what their patients tell them.
Why, in 2021, where mass communication takes place on a frequent basis, do we still have people who don’t really listen, fail to act on what they hear, misunderstand what is being said, or make little effort to communicate clearly?
Everyone is distracted, in a hurry, and multi-tasking. Even worse, people are perhaps putting less priority on listening. It seems everyone likes to talk and be heard, but listening is somehow for others to do.
Just look at our look-at-me online behavior. Social media exists to show off photos, share videos, and post endless content that does not necessarily offer much substance or value. We are increasingly desensitized to everything. The bar is getting higher to get our attention. I am not even sure if we see a livestream of a murder that we would pay attention so carefully.
Being a good listener has always been a problem for society, way before the Internet launched three decades ago. Customer service failures, bosses being tone deaf to an employee’s needs, and husbands not paying attention to their wives have always been atop the complaint charts.
We now have books, courses, webinars, videos, and pop culture discussing how you can be better listeners and communicators. All of it is for naught. The truth is we just don’t want to hear certain things. There is no incentive or upside to it.
I don’t want to hear my wife bitch and moan about something. Managers don’t want to hear complaints from employees. And for minimum-wage, hustle and bustle workers, they really couldn’t care if your overpriced coffee received 1.5 pumps of mocha or not. It seems so many people have closed their minds and shut their hearing off.
We have become a tuned-out nation.
So, authors, now that you are more aware of how hard it is to make an impression on others about your book, what will you do differently?
First, do a communication audit of what you post or say. Are you articulating yourself as well as you think you are? Maybe you are confusing, boring, or understating things about yourself and book. Be sure to restate your most salient points, over and over.
Second, make sure you are a better listener. It will make you a better speaker – and by paying attention to the needs and desires of others, you can help fulfill them with what you say – and by how you say it.
Third, just assume people are not focused on you and don’t know or care that you exist or that you have a book. Make them care. Wake them up. Shout it to the hills. Be animated and loud. The quiet, conservative, reserves, polite get shit in return. Be a showman.
Lastly, assume that people will make wrongful assumptions about you and your book. Get in front of what they potentially could misperceive and make it a point to say what your book offers – and doesn’t offer – so that everyone is on the same page.
Pay attention. Be a part of the solution.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.
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