This week’s Open Book Blog Hop question is one I’ve asked so many authors—”What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer?”
**Side note – I will send the first Open Book Blog Hop blogger who tells me the GIF reference a My Way to You ribbon bookmark :)** UPDATE – Congrats, aurorawatcherak!
Okay, now. It is a staple question on my and many interviewers’ list because it’s very important.
Writers make writers.
Well-written creations offer examples and inspiration for those seeking to make a mark in the world with ink—hence the adage “read good writing to become a good writer. There is also so much to learn from talented writers’ blood, sweat, tears (real ones-’cause writing is no joke) and experiences.
Like most writers and someone who’s been at various layers of the writing process (teacher, writer, editor, author, mentor, etc.), I have a lot of advice, but I think one of the most important things I can tell aspiring writers and authors doesn’t involve the craft—not directly.
Just as important as creating a finished product that conveys the desired message is to build an audience that will want to hear it. There are tons of writers out there, which makes it critical to build a platform and following. This is a mostly non-writing process and will require a lot of time and energy to get one’s actual voice out there.
In our social media-driven world, potential readers often want to see and hear from their writers. A lot of successful writers developed a way of connecting to readers outside of their writing, presenting personalities and appeal. Some will use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) primarily not to sell books but themselves, acquiring hundreds, thousands and even millions of followers.
It’s not so much about numbers as it is creating a stage for your work. You, stand center stage, speaking to people. Then you offer your creation(s) to the eyes and ears focused on you. If they like what they see and hear, some will spread the word. It’s a slow process but an essential one.
It’s important to create an author brand. What is it about you that will attract followers and readers (they aren’t always one and the same)? Not your writing, YOU.
It may be as simple as showing that pretty face with some quippy anecdotes, but from what I’ve gleaned, authors do best getting their names out there using a mixed media approach as well as physical appearances. Photos, video clips and live posts draw people and potential readers, so think of ways to use them to your advantage.
Yeah, it can be pretty damn scary. I was terrified when I did my first video book review, but once over that hump, I learned I really liked it.
Honestly, this is not easy for a lot of writers and authors. It’s been my experience interviewing them that a lot are just about penning their words and shutting out the world. Well, that won’t cut it for a lot of us. So, download some content creation apps, grab that cellphone and start connecting to your audience.
Think about what you want to say, then say it. Build an author’s persona for readers to enjoy, hopefully creating a loyal relationship.