By Dorit Sasson-
I am writing this note in May with a full and happy heart on the bus ride home from New York City where I did a two-minute pitch at the Jewish Book Conference. I’d practiced my pitch since February when I first registered for the conference almost everywhere – in the shower, with my kids, on the bus to work… everywhere.
But it’s a totally different experience when you pitch in front of a large crowd – in this case, 200 people who represented the various Jewish Community Centers among bookstores, festival organizers, bookclubs nationwide. The full-blown decision makers.
They are the ones who decide whether to fly me out to various venues around the country to talk about my book’s message of courage during their upcoming programming year. So this brings me to my main point.
If you want people to know about your book, the best way to get the word out is to speak about it. There’s something about taking a book off the “Amazon hinges” and connecting with an audience. Social media can only take you so far. People see and hear your voice. You feel excited. They sense your passion. And the word spreads.
I call this organically building a platform.
Back to basics.
I stood on that stage and gave that pitch every ounce of my being. There was that strong warrior woman of my Israel Defense Forces past I thought I’d parked in the memoir, but that day I brought her back. To New York City. Where the Story began.
“It was an accident I got inducted in the Israel Defense Forces. I had no idea what I was getting involved in. My mother, daughter of a Holocaust survivor, child prodigy, Julliard graduate who played alongside Leonard Bernstein, was terrified I’d get blown up by terrorists. She thought I was throwing my future away.
But I wanted to prove to my Israeli father that I could be my own person away from my mother’s fears and paranoias of Israel.
So I dropped out of college and found myself in the middle of the desert with a bunch of immigrants who ridiculed and bullied me. Aerogram after aerogram, my mother pleaded with me to come home.
I got my entire company punished because I arrived late for an inspection. I struggled to complete an eighteen kilometer march for our green beret in basic training. I held down an entire camp during one of Israel’s worst snowstorms in history with just one other Russian girl from my company. Mind you, that’s a great way to bond.
As a lone IDF soldier, it was hard to stay courageous, but I managed to earn the best soldier award from then president Chaim Herzog. And I heard my mother say, “Dorit, you’re a really good kid.”
Danny Ayalon, former ambassador to the US, says this about Accidental Soldier: “A touching and courageous journey of the female immigrant experience that many readers will sympathize with.”
But the magic didn’t stop with the pitch.
Groups came up to me afterwards to ask questions ranging from how did it feel to write my memoir to how did it feel to come back to the States. One woman eagerly asked if I had additional copies of the book. Her group already received their review copies, but she wanted the one copy I had to give it to four other groups in her area who wanted a speaker to talk about an Israel type experience. Wow! Talk about instant booking!
At a busy café in midtown Manhattan, I sat with my publicist, who called the experience “mind-blowing.”
I blew up that room. Faces lit up. People watched as I spoke instead of peering over their thick books of numerous author profiles and copious notes.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned as an author to do these three things:
Write a killer book.
Hire a killer editor.
Speak. Speak. Speak.
I know of no better way to spread the word. And it begins with having the courage and the faith to put yourself out there.
By the way, if you know of an organization or group that needs a motivational speaker to talk about issues relating to courage and faith, I’m your gal. Let’s talk.
To your book writing success, Dorit.
Dorit Sasson is the founder of Giving Voice to Your Courage podcast and website. She supports heart-centered business owners and authors build visibility and increase engagement as thought leaders. Her groundbreaking memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is a finalist for the next Generation Indie Book Awards and Santa Fe Literary Awards and is also a widely read handbook on how to become more courageous in life.