I write fiction and I love it. In the spring, when I began writing Come the Shadows, all that pounded in my head was “I want to write books and I want people to read them.”
The statement still rings true but only now am I really understanding what comes in the middle of two simple desires and there’s a LOT of middle.
Of a middle.
Writing a book and suddenly having thousands of people read it would be the literary equivalent of winning the lottery. It doesn’t never happen but it’s so close to never that it might as well be never.
The main problem is that my existing sphere of social influence does not a reader pool make, which is true for any new author. I have to grow that sphere to grow my reader and fan base and that’s where that Grand Canyon comes in. It must be filled.
There are lots of ways to do that. I could fork over money (which I don’t have) for PR and ads. I would probably get lots of short term sales and maybe even make my money back. But the reader to fan ratio may or may not pan out and fans are the ones who keep coming back.
I can do interviews, but how many times do people want to hear me answer questions about what my books is about, my writing process, or my upcoming work? They are good to do, but they cannot be all an author does to reach out to fans. It’s just gets boring for the reader too easily if that’s all you’re putting out there.
Self-published authors have to rely heavily on modern social media and one of the core staples of that is blogging. Blogging is like grown-up tweeting. You’re forced to have a real conversation about something. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard but it always helps the author and reader connect over an idea. I would call it a virtual “let’s get a cup of coffee and chat”. I’m not sure why I call it that, since I don’t even like coffee, but it has the same ideas of sharing knowledge and companionship. It’s less preachy than an essay (dinner speaker) but more formal than a tweet or Facebook thread which is often the equivalent of crashing on someone’s couch in your PJs.
Some blog on their own, and some blog for others. Authors frequently do guest blog posts, which is an area I’m just starting to explore. I’ve done a few interviews already and my guest posts will soon start appearing. I’m exited to reach readers in new ways but I also must admit that I’m struggling with it.
Why? It’s just writing, you say. I have written two full books and another one that’s a nearly complete first draft plus countless other articles, poems, songs, scripts, and so forth. This should be cake, right?
The difference is that all my fiction, articles, etc, are focused outward. I write about other people’s flaws, emotions, and lives. Now I’m delving into a whole new arena where all the attention is focused on me and that’s a bit strange for this Lone Writer Girl. If I could, I would write books and shove them out the door of my little writer’s closet. Then I would immediately start on the next one. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with people or (God forbid) think that anyone out there is less important than me – quite the opposite in fact – but putting the attention on me is so viscerally opposed to my nature that it is almost frightening at times.
What I lack in extraversion I make up for in spades with determination, however. If I can write fiction that is enjoyable, surely I can do this too. While these types of writing are agonizing in their differences to someone like me, they have one thing in common: the readers. Most readers want to know more about the person behind the words and guest posts give important insight into the mind behind work. So, while I groan and strain against my desire to return to my little cave I will remember that, and keep pushing myself forward on this incredible and rewarding journey and with each new guest post I intend to grow as a writer and author AND to further connect me with my readers.
In light of this I have started two new pages at the top:
Keep checking back in the next few weeks – both pages will grow!