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How to Make the Most of VIP Encounters (Hint: Social Media)

Your Book Writing and Book Proposal Coach

One of my Bring Your Book to Life students e-mailed me to say that she would be meeting a VIP in the medical world in a few short weeks at a networking luncheon through her husband’s business.

She asked how to best approach him. A foreword or even a blurb from him would be a real coup. And perhaps he might offer advice on the book publishing and promotion front.

In the old days, she’d probably have to wait until the event to introduce herself, but nowadays we can connect easily and become part of someone’s community at the click of a mouse through social media.

I suggested she read his books, then check out his blog and subscribe, asking relevant questions or making comments of substance on his posts that add value to the discussion. I also suggested she see if he has a facebook fan page, twitter id, etc. and connect in these social media arenas, as well. Here’s a place she can add value for him by retweeting his tweets or sharing his updates.

Whether he remembers her or not, she’ll now be part of his online community and can introduce herself accordingly. She’s no longer a random stranger, but part of his tribe.

And most bloggers are particularly grateful for those who add to the discourse on their blogs, so he’s likely to remember her unless his blog gets hundreds of comments. Authors appreciate their fans.

Is this disingenuous? I think not. It’s easier to meet people and become part of their circle through social media. To take advantages of the technology just makes sense–and it’s part of what successful authors do. If you can contribute to someone before you ever meet them, why wouldn’t you?

So, if you’re planning to attend an event or book signing with one of your “paper mentors” and you want to connect more deeply, become part of their online circle before you physically meet. And think about what you can do for them, too.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. lisatener says

    Okay, some of you took me very seriously and contacted your favorite writers–which is great. But when I saw some of the responses, I realized I need to clarify.

    When you write to an author, be specific about something specific you read from them that had a very specific effect on you. Don’t be general about it–“Your books have inspired me for the past eight years.” I know you’re being genuine but that author does not.

    If you say something like, “Your book, Make Pizza with Your Kids, had our whole family getting creative in the kitchen. We loved the Hawaiian Pizza and my son came up with a new twist on it–adding orange slices. Yum. I even got my kids to eat greens with your nutty pesto pizza recipe.”

    See the difference? Engage them with specifics–hey isn’t this what we talk about in book writing class–specific details make it real for your reader? Yes, it’s true for every audience.

    Take the time to think about what to say that will make it real for the person you contact and compliment. You’ll find they’re more engaged and you may even strike up a friendship or mentorship over time.

    Want to engage them even more? Ask a pertinent question. “My son wanted to know how you came up with all those recipes. Did you do it all yourself or did you have a bunch of kids testing the recipes and making suggestions?”

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