Happy Tuesday! Here we are again, and today it’s all about the F words.
You’ve gotta have friends, as the song goes. And you really do. I’m not talking about the stash of DVDs that most people have somewhere, featuring those lovable New Yorkers, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe. I’m talking about real-life friends who are there for you. Who’ve got your back. Who cheer you up when things are bad and keep you going when you feel like giving up. I’m fortunate to have some amazing friends who are also writers, and who understand how tricky this life can get. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant life and I’m very grateful. But it does play to any insecurities you may have, and sometimes it can be tough to believe in yourself. That’s when other writers come into their own, and I have to say, I’ve found the writing community in general to be amazingly supportive and understanding. But “real life” non-writing friends are important, too. You need to be able to discuss more than writing sometimes. Although we often forget, there’s more to life than books. I know! It’s good if you have writing friends and non-writing friends. It’s even better if they’re both in one person! *Blessed*.
Yes, if you’re not feeling it, fake it. No, I’m not branching out into erotica. I’m talking about confidence. The hardest thing in the world, sometimes, is to say to yourself, yes, I’m a writer; yes, I’m pretty good at it; yes, people are reading and enjoying my books; yes I have every right to be at this party/conference/festival/awards ceremony because I’m just as much a writer as anyone else here. In fact, at times, it feels impossible. I was once at an author talk and a lady sitting next to me asked me what I did for a living. I panicked. I just couldn’t bring myself to say I was a writer. It felt like a lie – even though it had been my full-time job for over a year! So I told her I worked in a medical centre. Serves me right that I then had to listen to her complaining about doctors, receptionists, and the state of the NHS in general for over twenty minutes until the talk started. That’s why my advice is, if you don’t feel it, fake it. Act like you’re that person. You know, you’ve seen them. Those authors who own the show. Who are out and proud. Happy to tell anyone and everyone that they’re writers, and ready to claim their place in the profession. Those authors we watch in awe and wonder. Those authors who amaze us with their confidence. And those authors who, in all likelihood, have their own insecurities, their own meltdown moments, and their own inferiority complexes to deal with. The only difference? They’re better at faking it. Start practising!
I’ve talked a lot about paying for writing services, and how I understand that it can be hard to do when you’re not making any money from your writing. Even if you have another income, or your partner is bringing money into the house, it can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on something that’s giving you nothing back financially. A good place to try if you’re in that situation is Fiverr. The Fiverr community is full of artists and technical people who – for a small sum – will create covers, logos, format manuscripts, write blurbs and do all manner of things for you. I’ve used Fiverr myself to turn a simple ebook cover into a 3D box set image. It was simple to organise. I just had to upload the cover, tell him the titles of the books I wanted including, and that was it. It was ready to download the next day, for less than £7! Amazing. Check out Fiverr for yourself here – but when you find someone who’s offering to do what you want, do check out their reviews and ratings.
Yes, I know some people don’t like Facebook and don’t want anything to do with it, and that’s fine. However, a Facebook page is expected these days. You don’t have to use Facebook for anything else, honestly. You’ll have to set up a personal profile in order to start a page, but once that’s done you never have to post on there or add any friends. It’s the author page that counts. On there you can link to your website or Amazon books page. You can add a sign up button for your newsletter. You can post your latest news, put up pre-order links, add marketing promos. More than that, you can communicate with your readers. Try very hard not to make it all promotion. I try to do some content marketing – posting related items to my books, such as magical memes for my Castle Clair novels, or photos of the places that inspired my fictional locations.
I try to keep it true to my brand: there’s lots of stuff about Yorkshire, about tea-drinking, romance, pets. I post humorous things, too, because, after all, I do write romantic comedies. I might link to other books I’ve enjoyed that I think my readers might like. I share posts about films I’ve seen. You can really explore your brand on your page and, hopefully, readers will engage. You can link your Facebook page to your blog or website, and also to Instagram. You could even make videos of yourself and put them up there. There are lots of possibilities, especially if you don’t have a blog. You could do giveaways (although be careful to make it clear that they’re not endorsed by Facebook) and even host online launch parties for your new book via your page. Definitely worth having, so give it some thought if you’ve never considered it before.
That’s all for today. Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow. Stay safe!