Monday, April 6, 2009

Mt. Hermon Conference: Day 4

Have I mentioned how big the redwoods are out here? Radio towers with branches.

A few of us broke away yesterday to go redwooding at the state park near Mt. Hermon. The towers graciously posed with us as I filled my digitial camera with pictures (which don't do the trees justice).

Very cool stuff. If you're in California and can breakaway to see these thousand-year old trees, you'd be smart to do so.

Today is day four of the Mt. Hermon writers conference and we're having a blast. This morning was the moment of truth for my publicity track attendees. We practiced television interviews--each author brought a list of ten sample media questions and we ran through as many as we could before the three minute buzzer went off. For many of these authors it was their first interview and I was impressed with the quality of their answers.

We worked on several tips for TV interviews, including:

- Use narratives and examples to illustrate points. Show not tell is a virtue as a writer and the same principle applies to TV interviews.

- Credential yourself early in the interview. Lead into your first answer with a statement like "In my twenty years of experience as a counselor, I've learned..."

- Have tips and resources available for viewers on your website to save you time during an answer and add viewers to your site. Use a statement like this "I list the top ten tips for avoiding spring break travel stress on my website."

- Lead into answers with a list--it not only keeps you on topic, but it also lets the host know when you're done answering. For example, "My research has shown that these three things are the biggest threats to married couples, first..."

All of the authors did well and I'm excited to watch as they build their platforms beyond the conference.

Twitter is a hot topic at Mt. Hermon this year. The younger authors are busy trying to explain to the older authors why it makes sense for them to dive into another social networking platform. After all, many of them recently gave in and made the jump to Facebook.

Last night my new buddy Andy Merrick gave a late night presentation to a room packed with authors on why Twitter matters to them. He had an uphill battle from the start because many of the authors in the room were against another drain on their time and if you've ever tried to explain Twitter to someone who has never seen it, you know that it's not an easy thing to do.

After some discussion and a few good examples from Andy, many of those in the crowd began to be swayed. As I sit in the coffee lounge right now there are authors fanned out around the room trying to figure out how to begin their new Twlifes.

Although many of them are still skeptical, in a few days they will be writing blog posts telling their friends how useful it has become for them. Remarkable thing--this Twitter.

If you are interested in following some of the Mt. Hermon early adopters, Thomas Umstattd has posted a helpful link here. Those of you interested in searching for Mt. Hermon 'tweets' can search the hash tag #mthermon

Mt. Hermon Quick Hits

  • I've been communicating back and forth with the office and we've got a tremendous amount of buzz building for the launch of The Noticer Project tomorrow. Who will you notice? Learn more about the grassroots movement here.

  • One of the authors in my morning track, BJ Hamrick, has a great blog for teens here.

  • I know I mentioned this but it's really remarkable to hear the chatter around this coffee shop--60-70 year old authors saying things like "follow me" and "did you just 'tweet me'?" Good stuff.

  • Have I mentioned that Bill Butterworth is funny? Another great performance from him last night.

  • I'm ready to see my family--my man Luke (18 months old) is going to be twice as tall when I get home. Can't wait to see him.

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