I’ve given a lot of advice on here for how to market your books, how to write your books, and basically, just how to cope with being an author. But there’s one piece of advice I haven’t yet touched on…one that might be the second most important piece of advice you’ll ever hear (the first, of course, being: “Just write it already!”).
You need friends.
No, I’m not talking about sycophantic friends who will prop you up whenever you’re down. I’m talking about people who are really there for you and want to help you do the best you possibly can. These friends, will, of course, help you promote your books, by being awesome cheerleaders who want to tell everyone about the awesome thing you’ve done. But they’ll also be the folks who will tell you when they think you’ve fallen back somehow, whether it be through your writing (hopefully as beta readers and not on a released book…but you’ve got to learn somehow, right), or through your inability to market yourself effectively.
I couldn’t tell you how often I get told by my friends and family about how I need to do [INSERT FAIRLY STANDARD MARKETING CONCEPT HERE], which I know I should, but still haven’t. It might be slightly annoying to hear these things over and over again, but it’s also the kick in the behind that I need to get myself moving forward…at the snail’s pace in which I am accustomed.
I’m terrible at self-promotion. I really want to insure that any activity I get involved in will be worth my time. So, for instance: all of you who have told me that I should get involved in book signings or Q&A sessions. Here’s where my head goes when you mention it: Me, alone, behind a table, with a sign saying, “Meet the author of these awesome books that you’ll love”, with absolutely no one coming around to pay me any heed. Now, that might be the reality of things, but at the same time, just having that table creates visibility…something I don’t have now, pretty much simply because of my own fears about the idea of sitting there all alone.
Meaning, each time you remind me that I should do it…I get a lot closer to doing it. And will…just not today.
But seriously, friends and family are the key to a successful author, in my opinion. You need these folks to keep you moving forward when you’re feeling at your lowest. I honestly don’t know how authors who keep their author-hood from their friends/family do it. If I didn’t have friends and family, I’m not sure I’d have any readers as a first result…secondly, they’re the ones who actually tell me about their experiences with my books, and keep talking to me about them. Every once in a while I get random folks who have done some reading and I get to enjoy conversing with them, but they’re not nearly as common as just having someone I haven’t talked to in ages say, “Hey, I read your book…it was alright, man.”
Use your friends, use your family. I’m not saying that you need to force them to read your books…but make it really easy for them to do so accidentally. Remind them often that you have written something as well, because even if they don’t read the books, you’ll find that they’ll want to tell everyone about them anyways.
Because…for some reason…telling people that your friend is an author is a cool thing to do.
I didn’t know that until I became one 🙂
My friends and family are the sole reason I continue writing…well…maybe not the sole reason, but they’ve definitely been a strong support system which has kept me from quitting. I suggest you invite yours into the folds as well, by any means necessary.
Thanks to my friends and family for supporting me these last couple years. I truly hope to make you proud as the next years come along.
Have fun out there!