Children learn to read at young ages, and this starts a cycle of reading and writing in every year of school they attend. Then they’re hooked and want to write text and communicate their thoughts and ideas. So yes, writing is obviously essential for ever-day life.
Most writers will tell you to not write, but why wouldn’t you? And also, how could you not? You shouldn’t assume that it will be a good career choice for you. But it is so rewarding to get a book published. Publishing is a growing career path, and enjoys a modest growth from year to year. Since Gutenberg invented the printing press, it has been a has been a career choice. The first question to the route is: Do I have a finished book?
Is it non-fiction?
If you do and it’s non-fiction it’s okay, but you’ll still need to write a proposal. This document is simple and has a bio attached. It’s used to market the book and sell it to a publisher, and you should get an agent if you want a large publisher that will give you an advance. There are several genres that do pretty well, but you can just check the recent best sellers on The Time’s website.
There’s many like these, overseas and in Los Angeles.If you’re doing a fiction novel then write the whole thing first. Make sure to edit it, or have someone else do it before your submission.
Traditional vs. Self Publishing
Most agents take a percentage of what you make in royalties, there are associations for the profession and they pledge to never charge up front for anything. The percentage they take is around 15% of what you made. If you can’t get an agent or simply don’t want to, there are companies that support peoples rights to choose and accept work not represented by an agent. These companies accept unsolicited submissions that aren’t represented.
The largest companies usually don’t accept unsolicited work, but there are some that do. There are always Outliers in any equation, and Outliers was a best seller. Being a bestseller is one in a million. These are the best sellers, and the figures come out bi-monthly. Being on the list will boost sales tremendously for new authors, but many don’t see that sort of success when publishing a book, especially their first one.
Touring the country…
Some people don’t do any of this, and if you self publish you won’t have a contract stating you have to. If you like people it will be fine, but sometimes there will be appearances that don’t go as planned. If you have an aversion to large crowds you might not like this activity, which brings you to the next point. You might not have to see any more people, because you could work from home. So the cliche of writers being reclusive is spawned from the fact that you’re basically just an independent contractor selling a product — you have no office full of co-workers to travel to everyday.
You shouldn’t let tours deter you from following your dreams. The median income for writers in 2014 in the U.S. was 58,000 dollars. This is better than most job opportunities and the numbers include authors.
If you want to write but don’t want to tour the country, or have to introduce yourself to a bunch of people at a book store, then you might want to try a cubicle or office. These sort of work environments aren’t the best for creativity, but you can imagine all of the support you would get with the development of your skills. These jobs are included in the median income statistics as well.
The ending of your Book
This is the part you will love. The ending, or the completion of your manuscript will be something you should cherish and celebrate. Some like the paycheck, and this will happen later, also the editing takes time so you shouldn’t rush the process. You are only expected to write a novel a year, some can write even faster than that. This is not as time consuming as it sounds unless you’re writing something like War and Peace or Atlas Shrugged. And your first one shouldn’t be that long, it will be harder to get a large one published especially if it’s fiction.
After you get a contract and hopefully a nice advance, you aren’t through yet. You have to market your work and sign books. Some people say that you have to sell one book at a time, and others don’t have to sell in person at all. Some books are sold long after the author has died.
Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.
You have to work hard to develop the right skills
If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.
1. Make your presentation short and sweet
With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.
JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.
2. Open up with a good ice breaker
At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:
Tugging on their heart strings
Dropping a bombastic statement
Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons
You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.
3. Keep things simple and to the point
Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.
4. Use a healthy dose of humor
Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.
It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.
5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting
Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.
6. Practice your delivery
Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.
7. Move around and use your hands
Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.
8. Engage the audience by making them relate
Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.
9. Use funny images in your slides
Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.
10. End on a more serious note
When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.