Looking for Followers in All the Wrong Places

Book marketing is challenging. In order to get our words read by others, we have to not only make them aware of our works but convince them to read it. That is necessary from a sales perspective. Christian fiction authors also bear the responsibility of getting their words read as we write to promote God’s kingdom. Yet often authors shun marketing.sara-kurfess-1416213-unsplash

I get it. Marketing is hard and not exciting and just not fun, but we have to put at least as much effort into marketing our books as creating them. I know that from firsthand experience. I did zero promotion for my first two novels (beyond a few lame tweets and mention on a dusty website). And I was surprised and saddened at my anemic sales! So much I had to learn (and still have to learn).

An author’s platform is, in my view, their online presence and following. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blog, website, and so on make up the online presence. Constant activity in all channels is necessary, though it’s not necessary to choose all channels. Followers are also necessary, because who will care about or even read tweets to a dozen followers? Sure, hashtags ensure more visibility, but it’s a very large Twitter universe out there.

Currently in the #WritingCommunity there are numerous activities to promote increasing Twitter followers. I admit that I began to participate in these follies, essentially variations of the “I’ll follow you if you follow me.” Why am I negative about them? Because these do not result in quality followers. I could build up 14,000 followers easily but if they are all mainly authors struggling for recognition like myself, what good is that. No, we need to focus on quality not quantity with our social media engagements, else isn’t it a waste of time?

I’ve adopted a better strategy. Write well. Interact with communities I want to reach as an author, not echo chambers. I’d rather have 100 followers passionate about my works than 20,000 who don’t care about my content, just my follow back. Focusing on a quality platform is the only way I can fulfill God’s call for me as a Christian writer.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Workout

Ever have one of those mornings when the blog topic (or any writing task) just was not coming easily? I’m there today. I thought for several minutes about what to share this morning and saw nothing but a blank wall (literally – the wall in front of me is a blank pale yellow-white in the warm dim glow of the incandescent LED desk light.arthur-edelman-745266-unsplash

Writing is like any other exercise, we need to practice it daily in order to strengthen and perfect our skills. There are some days I just don’t feel like working out, no motivation, no energy, no spark. I try to work out daily, whether it be going to the gym, running, or cycling. Today was a cycling day, the first one of the year. I’m blessed to be able to cycle to my office. Undoubtedly a topic for another blog post; I’m already running with this one.

If I succumbed to every inkling when I “just didn’t feel like exercising” I would not be quite as fit as I am today (a perpetual work in progress). But i do, and so have gleaned the benefit of a low resting heart rate and the ability to run a marathon (been a few years), cycle a (metric) century, and bench press more than my weight (my most recent met physical goal. All required dedication on a daily basis to achieve.

The same applies to writing. Why do we think we can always be up to the task? Or at least I do. I’ve found though that if I just do it, eventually the flood of words comes. Whether they are quality words is another matter and one that you, dear reader, may judge.

Thus, I turned my stare from wall beyond laptop to the pale white glowing screen and began to dance my fingers over keys, not because I have something to say at the beginning of the post but that I was sure by the end a point will have been made. The infrequent days when I don’t exercise, usually due to odd schedule commits such as traveling on a business trip, I feel “off” because I am out of my routine. I want to get there with writing and have pledged to continue to daily attack my WIP and contribute to my blog.

Some say it takes 21 days to form a habit, some 28, some claim such quantifications are incorrect and therefore meaningless, but whatever. It’s true when you change your habits, you change your life. I am changing mine one letter at a time.

Change of Identity

I originally started this blog with the intention of creating a platform to share my journey as an indie author. My first post was over two years ago, a short hello to describe my hope that “my musings will provide my peers and others interested in the indie space information, comfort, and encouragement.”Capture

That goal has not changed, but I have. I have since released a third novel, which also is my first Christian novel. Leaving Darkness relates how one lost in depression finds a way to the light from the Christian faith. With its creation, I realized my calling is not just to create fiction, but Christian fiction with a purpose.

I don’t mean to imply that all Christian fiction doesn’t have a purpose, so perhaps that isn’t the correct way to state my calling. More accurately, I am drawn to write about heavy topics and show how following Christ leads to solutions. I’m not a preacher and never will be. However, what I think I am is a simple person with a somewhat modest gift for writing. That gift comes from God, and I need to follow His will for using it.

Hence the change of identity, or rebranding. I have changed the name of this blog from Second Chance Publishing (under which I self-published my first two novels) to Leaving Darkness, not just as a reference to my first Christian novel, but to describe what I hope to do with my future fiction writing. My next novel, in development stage, tackles abortion.

Another reason for the name change is that my next novel I plan to traditionally publish (at least that’s my thought at the moment). Therefore, the previous tagline “An indie author’s musings” becomes inaccurate. I’ve changed that to reflect where I’m at today: “A Christian Fiction Author’s Musings.”

This isn’t to say I won’t change again in the future. For that reason, I’m keeping the secondchancebook.wordpress.org domain. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll open a small Christian publishing house and name it Second Chance Publishing.