The Rain, Family and Friends

red umbrella
Standing Out in a Crowd

I’ve been sitting here looking at rain, instead of the usual south Florida sunshine, waiting for the clouds to pass … and thinking about heading to Miami later this week, to the Readers Favorite Awards ceremony, where I’m supposed to pick up the Silver Medal for my short-story collection ZEBULON.

It’s kind of fun to be here … with nothing much to do except enjoy the warm weather (it was in the teens up north at home last night) and my grandkids, when they’re home from school.

I’ve already seen dance rehearsals, a basketball game and a Tae Kwon Do practice. I’ve gone shopping with my bride, been the only adult around for an afternoon play-date of six-year-olds and will soon get to travel north to experience Legoland … the dream spot of every sixty-something … right?

In truth, I can do without it.

But it isn’t for me; it’s for my grandson, and watching his eyes will make it a treat … so in a way it is for me. What price can you put on a memory like that?

I’ve been trying to work on ONE WAY STREET, the sequel to my first novel, REICHOLD STREET, but it seems to be genuinely stalled right now at about 42,000 words. If anyone who read the first book has any suggestions to get me jump-started, I’d sure like to hear a few of them in the “Comments” section.

Journey
I also put together select blog postings to offer in book form on Amazon. It talks about some of the things I’ve discovered about indie publishing, and offers what I hope is some practical advice. It’s called “The Journey of an Indie Writer” and you can find it in paperback here.

Journey cover
Journey of an Indie Writer

In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out how to earn my audience. I’m like most indie writers who have a story to share with the world, but find nobody seems to care. And there’s no big publicity machine behind me to help spread the word.

If you’re like me, you keep writing and publishing anyway, hoping someone will come along and find out you have something readable to say. Perhaps something brilliant. Maybe even award-winning.

You Need to be Different
Unfortunately, sitting and waiting is probably the worst way to find an audience, and I should know better. The way to get the attention of an audience is to earn it, not demand it, because here’s the truth:

People don’t care at all what you have to say until they know who you are.

Earlier this year, J.K. Rowling (who wrote the Harry Potter series, in case there’s anyone on the planet who doesn’t know) published a new novel under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.

She wanted to test the market and find out if it was still her writing that sold so well, or her name. She found out in a hurry. The book got very good reviews, but readers didn’t care.

Then, people somehow discovered the book was actually written by Rowling and the book immediately became a bestseller.

Same book. Same story. Same writing. But a different name on the front caused the book to become an instant success.

Why? Because readers are busy.

They pay attention to names they recognize and don’t always take the time to explore new authors. Plus, audiences are notoriously fickle. They quite often don’t care what you have to say, or how you say it; they care who you are. It’s what makes a crappy book by someone like Snooki a best-seller.

snooki
Best-Selling Author?

And if they haven’t heard of you, you might as well be invisible. So how do you become visible? What do you have to do? (see my Earned Media post). You need to discover your unique writing voice and build a platform around it. Sounds tough, I know. But it’s actually simple.

Others have said it. I’m just repeating it … because it’s true. Talk to your friends. Make new ones with social media tools … but make sure they’re Friends, not just marketing targets.

You Need to Find Your Tribe
You want them to become people you actually talk to, share information with and help out when they need it … not just someone to whom you’re trying to sell something.

Then you leverage those relationships to get in front of the right people, the friends of your friends. Word-of-mouth information and recommendation is so powerful that before long readers will come to you, not the other way around.

Like I’ve said before … earned media.

Think of It This Way:
There once was a man who had ten good friends. These friends would do anything for him. But for some reason this wasn’t enough for him … he wanted more.

So he campaigned and lobbied trying become famous. Soon, he had a hundred followers. Then, there were a thousand. He campaigned and lobbied some more. Made lots of noise. Not all of it was very nice, and he spent a lot of money doing it. Pretty soon he felt like a rock star, with millions of followers.

At first, he thought the apparent attention was nice.

But he soon found that there were expectations associated with his new-found status. People constantly asked for favors and handouts, wanting special attention. They made demands he couldn’t meet. But they never helped him with a thing. He felt trapped, overwhelmed and confused.

Isn’t this what he wanted? Why was he so discontent?

Not knowing where to turn, the man went on a search. He weeded through the crowds of countless quasi-admirers and “yes men,” looking for a few, dedicated followers. People he could comfortably do things for … and who would do anything for him.

Finally, he found ten people.

They were his original true friends. Turns out that was really all he ever needed.

You don’t need fans. You need friends.

 

 

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4 Responses to “The Rain, Family and Friends”

  1. James Sloan Says:

    I consider you as a friend ….I hope I am one of your ten!!!

    Best regards…. Jes

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  2. Ron Herron Says:

    Thanks, Mickey. I’ll take friends any day.

    Like

  3. mickeyobe Says:

    Ron,

    Since I am a stubborn old coot who refuses to expose himself to the scrutiny of the world I wont join any social media nudist club. So my very unsatisfactory answer to your conundrum is,

    I wish I could offer some good advice but I am only and happily an undistinguished X Title Searcher. Fame is something I would, if necessary, pay not to have.

    It does seem that some successful authors became famous when they used a nom de plume. Perhaps that is the secret. Something catchy like Mark Twain or J.K. Rawlings or Lewis Carroll or Clark Kent.

    Rest assured though you do have friends.

    Mickey

    Like

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