Do not set out to write a poem. Strip yourself of all the education you think will make you a good writer, and undress all the fluff you believe constitutes a good poem. Write only what is in your heart at this exact moment—every thread of thought and every emotion you have not the courage to feel out loud. Write this. That thing you are afraid to say. Write that. Approach the page vulnerable. Come open. Come raw. Come wounded or come healed, but come bared of what you think poetry is and become the poem instead. Write accurately and precisely every sentiment you have bottled up inside. In writing what is in the most sacred part of your being, and the most intense sections of your soul, you may unintentionally stumble on something beautifully authentic.
In, building connections as a writer on social media, it’s important that you are authentic in those interactions. What does this mean? It means to be genuine and true, to be real but what does this mean? To be genuine and true is to be yourself in a way that does not force others to accept you, but brings together those who share the same passion as you do. People can tell if you are sharing something just to sell your books or sharing something because you deeply love it and you care about sharing that love with others for their benefit. You genuinely want to educate people, inspire people, empower people, or you want to make them laugh, or help them to heal or evolve. What people get out of getting to know more about you? What value do you offer that helps to make their lives better? This is what building relationships are about. It’s not so much about the book itself, it’s more who you are, who we all are and how your book seeks to make us better. It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction, in what way are we better from reading your book? This answer is revealed in your genuine interactions with others. People can tell if the information you are sharing is not authentic. We can tell if you’re sharing something just to sell your book versus sharing something because you want us to be better.
The problem is not that “artistry” doesn’t sell. There is no debate to be had about writing as an art and as a business. It is both. Integrity is everything and I personally believe no one should ever compromise that. Even more so, I believe it is this very integrity that makes us interested in an artist in the first place whether that artist is an author or musician or painter. There’s this debate about wanting to make real money from writing or treating it as an art I do not understand. There is no competition to be had. It is possible to be a serious businessperson and artist at the same time. The problem is too many new Indie authors aren’t authentic about the art enough to build trust among readers to the extent that we care about supporting that author’s work.
This isn’t about trying to find anyone to read our books. You are in search of people who share your passions, goals, and belief system. You aren’t here to force people to share those passions and beliefs but to connect with those who do. This isn’t about trying to make people like you. This is about genuinely connecting with those who do. These are authentic connections. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk about your book if I know nothing about you or share your vision or if I don’t care about what you are bringing to the table, I am not buying the book and I am not the reader you want. You don’t want me. You want the reader interested in the value you are bringing. To get here is to start with offering value where being yourself is not a gimmick.
If you would like to take the step toward helping your potential readers to get to know more about you and your passions and how you can help to make us better through your writing, be sure to take part in my Author Introduce Yourself Feature, specifically designed to help us to get to know you better. Learn how to do so HERE and stay tuned for tomorrow’s featured author.
Also, don’t forget that FOUR of my books are on sale for the month of February. If you are into Black Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction or poetry, choose your favorite book by clicking HERE and pay just 99cents from now through 2/28.
I’ve learned that caring about what other people think of me is an unnecessary burden that I do not have to carry. People will see you how they want to see you. If they think you are a bad person they will only see bad. If they think you are a good person, they will only see good (no matter how deep they have to search for the light.) You can let people walk all over you and there are still some who will say that you are not flat enough. So, you may as well be authentically and unapologetically you because, in the words of Najawa Zebian, “those mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”
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I am sitting here getting some work done before the sun sets and a thought came to me. It’s a thought I’ve thought on many times before and that I voice with my husband many times over, though I’ve never said much of it publicly. The thought is in keeping it real. I don’t like the term and frankly, the fact it has become a catchphrase annoys me. I understand what is meant by it. I know how important it is to be real and to “tell it how it is.” I understand no one should ever water themselves down and more, no one should ever sacrifice their integrity for the sake of being “Liked.” That’s not the part that annoys me. What annoys me is when we use this term to assume things about people that are not true, we perceive wrongly and our discernment is off. Why is this? Because “Real” is different for each individual but we act as if it means the same for everyone.
Just because I limit my profanity, read the Bible, encourage people and don’t say the first thing that comes to my mind doesn’t make me fake, for instance. This is who I am and these are things I do even when no one is looking. I am not perfect just a little boring. I like to read all day, spend time with my family, write, laugh and drink wine. That’s literally it as anyone who knows me and has been around me more than 5 minutes could testify to. No one is worth me getting out of character for so I don’t try to “fit in” by being unfiltered. That would be fake of me.
Another example is on telling the truth. I do understand the realness that deals with being open and frank about things. I encourage it because it’s needed. For example, women, don’t get with a man just because the sex is good.
That’s a form of keeping it real or telling it like it is because you are telling the truth. But, this doesn’t always mean the person is being real either. I’ve spent years around people who were direct, forthcoming, and to the point but were still phony. Not because I think they should tell all their business or because the things they said weren’t true but because they were not being a real reflection of who they truly are.
My point is what’s real for you isn’t necessarily real for someone else. You may be funny, loud, quiet, outspoken, reserved, or direct. My blog has a serious feel to it because that’s my persona. I’m a serious person. I expect your blog to reflect your persona. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re truthful like in our example, if you tell people how it is, no filter, be that. The point is, people don’t have to act like you or do what you do to be authentic. They may post a lot or post a little but that doesn’t mean they are trying to get something out of you. They may tweet a lot or post on Facebook or IG a lot, that doesn’t mean they are seeking attention. Maybe they are just “doing them.” Maybe they actually enjoy blogging. Maybe they enjoy posting. Perhaps it’s fun to them. Maybe the standards and limitations you apply to your own space don’t apply to them. Maybe, just maybe, this is who they are. Remember this the next time you judge.
I really dislike this day and age where everyone wants to be seen and praised and prized. Purposely present to spew pillars of knowledge pulled and preserved for a time. No one wants to be silent but everyone wants to be wise. So we selfie our way into stardom on the ground. No one wants to stand behind the curtain or risk being forgotten, or admit that integrity is doing what’s right …even when no one’s looking.
Social Media has become a glossed over, cloudy place. It is filled with fake persona’s and instant celebrities. People post pictures of their cash and checks on Instagram for instance (something you’ll never see Bill Gates do. Let’s be real, people who make real money are quite about it. Big boys hit hard but move silent) and weigh their worth against the backdrop of numbers and likes. Instead of focusing on the message we have focused instead on the computer screen and have invested instead, not in the voice, but in the marketing and promotional schemes of so called professionals who get rich off the backs of those of us too lazy to be ourselves. Research is all fine and good but what it boils down to is a nice balance between research, advice, and your overall message and the people who care about what you have to say. If you rely too much on research and professional input then you just may miss the message.
A message doesn’t have to mean a religious message. If you have a voice, which we all do, then you have a message. We can define a message as:
When someone writes a book they are sending a message out into the world. It doesn’t really matter what the book is about, every book has a message because every book has a voice. And just like every person with a voice, we all have different sounds and calls to action. Sometimes, we get so into the online aspect of writing that we forget about how important the message is. It is not the marketing plans that will bring readers to you. Though they surely help, ultimately its your message. It’s your voice. Do you have one? That is what will determine your readership.
“Focus on what makes you different, what makes you unique. Being true to yourself is a cliche for a reason — it works. People don’t want to connect with something fake. They want to feel understood and heard, and the only way you do that is honestly and authentically. The last thing you want is to showcase to the world a shadow of your true self.” – Curiouser Editor
What do you want to say to the world? Why does it mater? Why is it different than what the previous person has already said? The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue? Why is it important for us to know that the sky is blue? Is the sky blue?
People who agree with you will flock to you because you sing in a key similar to their own. They are the people who actually want to read your books and who will in turn support your work. The only way to do this, as Curiouser Editing has stated, is to showcase your real self in your writing but not just in your writing, in your overall social media presence.
Book reviews are, in my opinion, a double edged sword. It does not guarantee that people will buy your books but what it does is add value. When I go to purchase a book, if I had a desire to buy the book I’m going to purchase it anyway. I may scan the reviews yes, but whether or not I decide to buy depends on my initial thought processes before I even got to the authors page. If I’m still leery about purchasing I may depend more heavily on the review as opposed to if I already had my mind made up to buy.
Book reviews are interesting in that they validate that people are actually reading and discussing the book and I think this is what gives them their leverage. There are real life men and women who are interested in your work as an author and that adds a worth to them that becomes more important in the end than book sales. It’s a funny thing because book reviews do increase book sales to an extent (naturally) but they also turn out to serve a greater purpose. Book Reviews authenticate the author in many ways. One of these ways being that he or she have reached someone with their artistry. Its interesting because not everyone who reads a book will review it and that is why they are so special. Good reviews are like little compliments that help to encourage the author. Even if its just one person, the reviews help people to recognize the author as someone who is officially capable of using their skill set and talent to change lives.