When I first started my writing adventure, it was a lonely one. I have a few friends who are avid readers, but none of them write. They didn’t understand the pressure to find the perfect word or turn of phrase and the strange self-doubt that plague a writer.
One of them encouraged me to join Goodreads as an author to help get exposure. She also told me I needed to website, a facebook page and a twitter account. My first thought was, “That’s a lot of work! I just want to write.”
It was slow going, let me tell you. I didn’t know what to write about, or what to share. I didn’t want to bore people, and I certainly didn’t want to spam just my book(s). I joined Goodreads, hoping to meet a few like-minded people could give me some tips. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised at how helpful many have been.
They shared resources on how to build a Twitter presence, such as retweeting others, having a genuine conversation with your followers and the importance of hashtags. A valuable tip when retweeting is to change the hashtags to other relevant ones so you don’t post to the same channels. This just clogs it up and irritates others.
I learned early on how important reviews are for indie writers. We don’t have a lot of money to put towards marketing, and word of mouth helps build a readership. At first I did a few like-for-like review swaps, but felt guilty if I didn’t like the book. Thankfully it didn’t happen often, but enough to be uncomfortable. I decided to seek out books that appealed to me the same way I normally did, only focus on it coming from an indie writer instead of traditionally published. To help increase exposure for those writers, I post a review on my personal author’s blog, a review blog that has two other reviewers and a personal thread within a large group on Goodreads. Part of it is for good karma, the other part because I enjoy it. I know how excited I am to read reviews and I want to pass that along.
Soon after joining Goodreads, one of my favourite groups needed two more moderators. I agonized over volunteering. I love this group and the people. Would it change the dynamics? After a few days, one spot was still empty. I waited, wondering if anyone else wanted to be a mod. Nope. With great hesitation, I threw my hat in and hoped for the best. So very glad I did. While it didn’t change how I interacted with the other members, it did allow me to feel comfortable voicing my opinions. I hate being pushy, a personality trait, so this gave me the avenue to suggest some changes.
I’ve met a few authors that I now consider friends. We discuss our writing and encourage each other to better ourselves. I’ve learned that many of the highs and lows that I experience is normal. Before I thought I was mental. *laughs* I am, but that’s another story. We’ve held each other’s hands metaphorically through edits, re-writes, blurb writing and publishing dates.
Soon I realized that writing isn’t the lonely profession as I once thought. It’s full of great friends, confidants and fans. Even better, they’ve help make me a better writer, one willing to take criticism when needed and accept compliments with grace.