Monday, August 23, 2010

Interview with KAT SMITH

 You are a woman of many talents: writer, model, radio show host, and entrepreneur…to name a few. Tell us how writing got included in the mix.

Believe it or not, although I have been public for most of my life, I was very shy growing up. Because I had difficulty expressing myself verbally, I found comfort in writing my feelings in journals. My first book was a collection of poetry from those journals titled Love the Vicious Cycle.

Words and writing helped me understand myself as well as others. Reading helped me in every phase of my life which has inspired me to help others. I gathered up all I learned about the industry and shared in two earlier books, Publishing Step by Step and The Bookseller’s List. Later I updated this information and published it all in The Naked Author-Exposing the Myths of Publishing.

Tell us about your book, THE NAKED AUTHOR.

The Naked Author informs authors and writers about who does what in the industry. I walk step by step through each part of the process and explain where help will come from and what kind of help they will receive at each step of the way. I explain the difference between a line editor and the editor at a publishing house and explore the world of independent/self publishing. I share the steps required when working with printers and the process of getting a book in print and much, much more.

I also give tips on the major task of marketing. As a morning radio show host, I was surprised at the number of authors who were not prepared to market/promote themselves on radio and television. In The Naked Author, I provide media coaching tips to help improve interviewing skills. Authors must understand that in this changing industry, the author is responsible for their success. It’s a job. A career. For as much time and effort one puts into a job working for someone else, they should be prepared to apply to marketing/promoting themselves and their book product.

Tell us about your book, I’M TALL YOU'ER NOT, SO THAT MAKES US EVEN.

I’m 6’2” tall and if I had a dollar for every time I’m asked “How tall are you?” or “Do you play basketball?” I would be a very wealthy woman. I’m Tall You’re Not is inspirational humor and something I had to get out of my system. I wanted to try to educate the public on the day-to-day life of a tall woman, aka Amazonian Goddess. We are warriors. All women fight their battles, but tall women have a different set of challenges. Can anyone make a broom with a longer handle and raise the ceilings and doorways for our sake!!!!!!

Our challenges are very different from those of a tall men. Although there are similarities, a TALL woman is viewed differently and can be even more intimidating, which does not help the Amazonian Goddess in the dating arena. I give a glimpse of what we deal with on a daily basis. Chapters focus on topics like “ScienTALLogy”, dating and shopping. The book is infused with lists of sites and sources for shopping and highlight successful women from all over the world and from various industries, because we don’t all play basketball.

You have a wealth of experience as a public speaker and performer. Tell us about the importance of a writer acquiring good people and public-speaking skills.

As writers/authors, we are considered experts. Authorities. Being capable of delivering information about our books/characters/topics with intrigue, knowledge and confidence is an art. The objective is to learn ways to connect with people emotionally through presentations. The goal is to motivate them to act, which is to buy the book or to schedule you as a speaker for their next event. Your enthusiasm and passion on the topic should be contagious, so much so that at a break or after your presentation, you sell out of the supply of books you brought to sell at the event.

Both my acting and broadcasting experience has helped me develop techniques which utilize my personality and expertise to draw the audience in and help me relate to them. I become someone who understand them. Someone who’s experienced some of the same things.

There are many ways to achieve a level of professionalism as a speaker/presenter. First develop a list of topics to which you are well versed in and write out your presentations on paper. If your topic is more technical or industry specific, Power Point may serve you better, but be careful do not read your slides to the audience. Use it as a visual support.

Practice your material until you know it so well that once on stage, you only need minimal notes. Practice in front of audiences. Start out small and get feedback from friends and associates. Then when you feel more confident, move to venues that will allow you to present your valuable information. When you feel that you have mastered the skill, move on to securing paid presentations and speaking engagements. At this point, you can join speakers bureaus and organizations to promote yourself as the expert you’ve become.

You’ve published books, magazine articles, and in newspaper in the U.S. and internationally. Do you mind sharing with us 2 or 3 tips other writers might find of interest?

1. Doubt often clouds our abilities and we let fear delay our successes. Whatever blessings are out there for us have our names on them. No one else can have your blessings. Some may have ones that look and feel like yours, but each blessing is personalized and waiting for us to open up to receive it. When we are jealous of another’s success or beat the drum of I’ll never get an agent/publisher, that negativity is what is keeps us from the thing we most want. Stay positive, keep working towards your goal and see your successes. A wise man once said, “If you don't keep walking you will never get where you’re going.”

2. There are a host of opportunities out there to write and sell articles. Success comes when you take what you know and love, develop articles and informative essays that connect with readers. Do your research. When targeting publications, submit to those to which you understand their readers and the types of material the publication buys.

3.Whether your submission offers value of an emotional connection or is informative offering tips on reducing stress, time savers for busy families or how to save money, it is your job to figure out how to best market your talent by knowing how it will help others. By honestly and generously providing something of use, you will develop followers in both readers and in paid article submissions.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about writing?

I decided to start a company to publish my books and market games that help us communicate better. I agree that “ignorance is not bliss.” In all my publications and products, I try to add fun and information to help anyone who may need a little guidance in getting messages across.

My challenges, however, come in the form of (1) the idea that I can do everything. I can’t. But I’ve learned that for talents I lack, I can hire a professional. For instance, I have an eye for concept and design, but web site development is not my forte. I realize now that my time is more valuable when spent on things that I do well.

(2) My friends tease me about being anal retentive. I feel the need to make lists for things and I spend a good amount of time organizing. Yes, it helps keep me focused, but I have to make sure I don’t organize and re-organize myself and end up wasting an entire day. Setting time deadlines and blocking out time spent on work have saved me. Plugging in my calendar alerts to remind me of what I am supposed to be doing at any given time keeps me on track.

Share with us your website and blog addresses, Facebook page, and other online presences.

Web address:
Friend me at Facebook: Kat Smith
Follow me on Twitter: GoddessKat

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