I’ve been blogging for little over a month, I’ve read a lot of how-to guides written by successful self-publishers, I follow a couple of blogs, and I genuinely believe myself to be a fast learner.
And a lot of self-publishers put emphasis on this elusive term, “author platform.” You should build that, and write too. And I think that it’s somehow contradictory to what most writers would like their lives to be — there’s no big secret that most writers are reclusive beings. But the modern writer, as I wrote in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, has to connect with his readers, to tweet, to blog, to make a Facebook account to show people he’s a real person. And he has to build all that from scratch.
But I think it’s not that easy, and it can be counter-productive sometimes too. If you don’t feel like it, if you genuinely hate blogging or tweeting, you’ll end up doing a poor job, possibly even waste a lot of time, time you could have spent writing more books.
Most writers use social media as a way to shamelessly promote their works — others have said it as well, better than I could possibly do it, but I think one more voice shouting the same thing won’t do any harm. It’s a bad technique… because all you’re doing, if you keep blogging and tweeting about your books, is to put readers off, and it doesn’t show you to be human. It’s like you’re deliberately trying to act like a spam bot.
And it’s funny, because it’s so damn easy to see that why that is wrong. Just look at your own book buying habits. For instance, I chose to buy a book, when I like the idea behind it, or have read about it, some rave review, stuff like that. Of course, on rare occasions, I’ve bought books because of the author shamelessly promoting it on twitter. Rare occasions.
But for the most part, I buy books from those self-publishers whose blogs I follow, whose interviews or guest posts have intrigued me. There’s no shortage of books, but I do have a limited budget when it comes to buying books — as the rest of the world.
And now about blogging.
I’ve been blogging for little over a month now. This was the part of platform building I was most afraid of. Not because I feared I had nothing to say, but because I feared no one will hear me. But I decided to be relentless in this, as relentless as I planned to be with my writing. I guess that sometime this year I found this amazing driving force.
Anyway, I have set up this blog to promote myself as a writer — and there’s a plethora of blogs with this goal, plenty of blogs on writing, plenty of blogs where authors are showcasing their stories. So why start? What can I bring different? Well, simply because I felt I had something to say. That’s the most important part.
Shameless self-promoting doesn’t work very well. Just like in real life. But writing blog posts that entertain or inform people sells really well. And that’s what I set up to do with this blog, in the hope of bringing people to me, in the hope of someone taking a chance with my stories. At least some of my blog readers.
But most of all, I treat this blog not as much as a promotional tool — which it is — but more as a way of offering information. I want to write a great blog post, and I want it to go viral, or at least get read by as many people as possible. I want to give people something meaningful to read, something that they can smile to or laugh to, something interesting maybe.
Basically, I’ve set up to write the blog that I’d like to read. This is the trickiest part of all. Because there’s no one to help you. It’s like venturing into the unknown. I wanted to write about the stuff that I like — books, movies, writing, all that, because this is who I am as a person, and this is what I spend my time on.
So why not blog about it?
And while I’m at it, I might find out some interesting stuff about myself as well.
Blogging, as part of the author’s platform, is a way to connect with readers, not flood the internet with shameless self-promoting. I let those nifty covers to do that job, or the one or two rare occasions in which I mention my work.
In a way, I’m trying to be useful, because if some people might find me useful, they might actually want to buy my books.
Most writers never get this part — that readers are living, breathing people, not just some shining credit cards. And people want to interact with other people — the same process that’s behind storytelling works behind blogging as well — people want to see other people’s ideas and beliefs, they want to see how another human brain functions.
This is the most interconnected era of all — people from all over the world are one click away, and the term globalization has an entirely different significance than it had three decades ago. And it would be a shame to miss out on it, just by tweeting about your book being just $1.99 on Amazon and having 56 five star reviews.