Next for #BeWow Wednesday, a weekly blogshare of positive posts, I’m thinking about my best accomplishments since my first book was published. I’d love to say I’ve been on a best-seller’s list since the first edition in 2012, but reality demands I set my sights on smaller goals.
Really, though, I always tell people what a mistake it is to write solely for money. If that’s what you’re after, I’d suggest ghost-writing for a celebrity (as long as you’re okay with not getting any credit). When it comes down to it, what I’m most grateful for in my publishing journey are the relationships I’ve made along the way. If money was my only goal, I’d be sorely disappointed.
Through writing (and Twitter, blogging, Google-plusing) I’ve made friends here in Colorado and as far away as the UK and Australia. I don’t know if I’m ever going to meet half of these people in real life, but I did meet one Colorado writing friend after emailing and texting for several months. It was at a Halloween party, of all things, for which my husband and I were dressed as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. He kept asking me during the three-hour drive, “So you mean you’ve never met this person before? Are you sure she’s not a serial killer?”
Needless to say, she was not a serial killer, and we hit it off at the party like we’d been friends for years, which was so incredible (disclaimer: I wouldn’t advise meeting online friends for the first time in their homes – I only did so that time because we happened to have a mutual friend. I typically meet online friends for the first time in public places, like coffee shops, and I never get into strangers’ cars – just throwing that out there. The friend who officiated at my wedding is someone I met through blogging, so the internet really is a valuable source for meaningful relationships!).
Many newbie writers think the best way to sell books is to keep slamming people with buy links on every social media platform in existence, and I used to be one of those people. I only stopped when I realized how damn annoying it was when other writers did it to me. You get a direct message from somebody on Twitter and think, “Oooh! A message just for me!” only to find it’s a canned, generic “Thanks for following! Check out this link to all my books!” It’s impersonal, and makes me think of preachers going door-to-door with tracts, acting like they want to be your friend, but if you neglect to show an interest in their church, they don’t want anything to do with you.
It sounds like a Catch-22: relationships are the key to selling books, but you never want to form relationships just to sell more books. There is a Golden Rule of Networking that we’ve all heard before: give to others, and they will give back to you. Writers, I’ve found, are a genuinely caring group of people who want to see each other succeed. Thankfully, publishing is an industry in which many people can thrive at the top, so we’re not competing against each other; there’s no reason to. I still get those auto-DMs on Twitter, but annoying as they are, the senders will figure out eventually that that’s not the way to go. Numbers and sales figures aren’t everything, but they do talk. And mine are telling me that I owe the success I’ve achieved to my growing online community.
So that’s what I’m thankful for this week. And since this is a touchy-feely-warm-and-fuzzy post, here’s a picture of a sleeping kitten: