Everybody loves watching their stats go up for ANY venue. We’ve all been told that social media can be a great tool for promoting ourselves…but it doesn’t always feel like it. People get swamped with so much information, so many stories in their newsfeed, etc….is it possible for us to stand out?
Facebook is smart by tempting us to buy their “boosts”. It seems like such a good idea. We see other companies and THEIR ads and think, “Gee, it all seems so professional!”
If only we could all be professionals at self-promotion.
I can’t say I have an answer to this question. All I know is that the struggle is real. As one of the Top 100 Self-Publishing blogs (according to Feedspot), you might be tempted to think “WOW, Dominic is great at promoting his brand.”
My response? “Hah. I’ll take any credit I can get. But the truth is, not really.”
What I’m good at is speaking the truth. For example, navigating the world of social media is REALLY hard. We could all use some help.
My answer to just about everything is relatively simple: work together.
Seriously. I think it’s that simple.
You want to get somewhere big in life? You’re gonna’ need help. We don’t become masters without having teachers…we can’t teach without having been taught. We can’t climb unless someone gives us a foothold. We can’t become successful without being given a chance.
Give each other that chance.
Here’s all I’m asking. Find FIVE fellow, aspiring authors, (or struggling self-published authors) and Like their Facebook page, sign-up to their email list, etc. Just five. You have no idea the good you’ll do and the happiness you’ll bring.
To be fair, please post links to YOUR Facebook page(s) or other social media outlets, and I will follow YOU.
There’s a lot of obstacles to self publishing and being successful as a self published author. Merely having enough perseverance to publish your book at all is an obstacle. Hiring an editor, finding a cover-artist, and building your audience all add varying levels of difficulty to the process too.
Oh, and did I mention that EVERYONE is self publishing? So yeah, you’ve also got LOTS of competition.
But what’s the #1 problem with self publishing?
I call it Amateuritis: the false sense of confidence you have going into the entire self publishing endeavor.
You size up the odds; you read about writing a novel, hiring an editor, and how to market your book, and you think, “Yeah, I can do this!” But then you publish your book, the excitement dwindles, and a few months later, you have this feeling of “…Now what?”
You suddenly realize that becoming a literary sensation isn’t so simple. You knew it wouldn’t be easy…but the truth is, you tricked yourself into believing that at least for YOU, the path to success was a straight line.
Yeah, I can talk about this because I know how it feels.
Of all the obstacles listed above, Amateuritis is by far the worst. It’s the curse of not knowing the way the world works. Guess what: you wanna’ rise to the top? Then you have to go through the same process as everyone else. Life isn’t easy, and it makes no exceptions.
Yes, this sucks, but to defeat Amateuritis, you must accept reality.
For starters, you need to rise above your feelings of feeling like a loser. You think you are a loser? Well, so is everyone else. Get over it.
If you want to defeat Amateuritis, don’t make the same mistakes twice. Understand that the journey ahead of you is long and hard, and if you want to be a successful author, you just have to keep working at it. Listen to the stories of other successful authors. Was it easy for them? No. They got rejected. They had to scrap and rewrite parts of their stories. They might’ve even gone hungry.
Do you think it will be any different for you?
Instead of lulling yourself into a false sense of confidence–Amateuritis–be proud. Be proud when you get rejected. Be proud when you make those all those corrections to your novel. Be proud when you go hungry. Why? Because you CAN be confident that you’re on the right path. The same path as all the other successful authors.
What will you give to be successful? It is a question only you can answer.
Beat Amateuritis. Be an author. Be successful.
What do you think?
Dominic Sceski is the self published author of The Golden Lands, which soon morphed into Elithius. He wouldn’t advise that you read any of his novels, as they are currently undergoing rigorous editing. But he would be happy to become the next J.K. Rowling once they are finished 🙂
He currently studies at Villanova University and enjoys keeping up with this blog, writing his stories, lifting weights, dating his amazing girlfriend, and making his friends laugh.
This week over break I was able to go to a coffee shop and write for three hours straight. It was my FIRST. TIME. EVER. doing such a writing-esque thing.
Writing. In a coffee shop. WITH. COFFEE.
It was honestly a proud moment 🙂
The truth is, we all need those moments where we can just sit down and do what we love best. Sometimes, this involves being surrounded by people we love; sometimes this means being alone. We bunker down in our favorite spot, pop in our ear-buds, and let what feels like our very nature do its thing.
For me, that’s writing. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not too different.
But if we are all being completely honest (uh-oh), we can’t fall in love TOO much with these moments of extended activity. We have to be accepting that we won’t always have as much free time as we want; the atmosphere won’t always be perfect; maybe we can’t even be alone. Or maybe we won’t even be able to get away at all.
The goal then becomes making the most of every moment.
Every day is unique. Despite whatever routines or schedules set before us, nothing is ever set in stone, and “nothing happens the same way twice” (thanks, Aslan). Thus, it’s pointless to try and recreate moments or atmospheres. We have to go with the flow.
As writers, time is equivalent to words. Or pages. Or maybe even words, pages, and money. So we have to use our time wisely. Don’t be upset if you don’t have as much time as you want; look for ways to make time and be more proactive. Believe me, it works.
Got some free time between classes? Write.
Instead of chilling on your phone during your lunch break? Write.
Is the baby napping? Write.
Is everyone in your house sleeping? Write.
We oftentimes say that we don’t have the time, but this is rarely actually the case. Take advantage of the time you have, and make sure you have what you need to make the most of that time. Keep a journal with you. Download Word to your phone. Carry a tablet with you.
This is possible.
The writer’s life is where it’s at. As always, keep up the struggle!
Isn’t that crazy? Big shout-out to Anuj Agarwal for giving me this award. I’ve worked very hard to make a name for myself among the self-publishing world. Feedspot is a website where all of your favorite blogs and websites can be found in one place in one stream of newsfeed. It’s an honor to be counted among their Top 100 Self Publishing Blogs.
You can see the badge I was awarded, proudly displayed in the sidebar of my blog 🙂
As always, I couldn’t have done this without your continued help and support. Give yourselves a firm pat on the back 🙂
I know I’ve been kind of distant, writing my songs. Sometimes, songs are all I can write! I’d like to keep up with my blog though, and come back strong.
My life is on the move in many ways…so are my stories. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow’s the big day. The day when I publish the second book of my series, Elithius. I know that recently I’ve done a pretty poor job of advertising my series, because life has been very crazy. That’s on me.
Either way, I hope at least some of you are excited about this!
Tomorrow only, both books in Elithius will be $0.99. After that, I’m gonna bump them up to $2.99.
Don’t miss out!!!
By the way, thanks to everyone who expressed concern after my last post. Your support means a lot…you have no idea!
So, since I’m publishing my second book tomorrow, you should know what it’s about! Here’s an overview 🙂
Name: Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within
Length: 385 pages
John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie. Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies. Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.
The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.
In college, we engineering students are forced to partake of a class that essentially FORCES us to get a job, and a good one. I know, I shouldn’t be complaining. But hey, I’m just a freshmen. Getting a stable job is something I’m supposed to worry about senior year…right?
Well, whatever the case, as always in the business world, there is a serious amount of stress placed on BUILDING YOUR BRAND.
And let’s face it. As writers, if we are truly aspiring to be famous authors, we naturally become a part of the “business world”. At times, it sucks. It would be so SIMPLE if we could just say to the people of the world, “I’ll write my books, and you buy them and turn my stories into movies.”
That would be the life.
But no. As writers, we are marketers. We must promote ourselves and go through the tedious process of establishing a business-savvy identity for ourselves.
As we do this, we encounter the usual suspects.
All right, so apparently LinkedIn is the “Facebook of the business world”. I really just thought it was for old people that were trying to connect with each other, but apparently it’s a very sophisticated website. I’m not sure if it works for writers, but I thought I might as well try, right? At my school, we were all forced to make LinkedIn pages, so I have one! Find me on LinkedIn if you’re interested, and I’ll follow you back.
For writers, I’d say that Goodreads is a great place to network your stories. Note that I said your STORIES. Maybe also your prowess as a book-reviewer/critic. Nothing wrong with that. I know that I need to be more involved in Goodreads, since so many people use it.
For building a PERSONAL network, I’m happy to announce that I think WordPress is great for that. All in all, I don’t think fellow WordPress bloggers respond well to the “business” side of being a writer. Simply put, WordPress bloggers are here to encounter other PEOPLE and fellow writers, not businessmen/women. If you’re too heavy on promoting yourself, people will start to ignore you. I’ve both learned this the hard way and watched as other bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by being all about “ME ME ME”.
The first step to building a brand is identifying what it is. You have to make sure people understand who you are and what you’re trying to promote. No, don’t say, “Being a writer is your brand”. Maybe that’s part of it, and that’s great. But you have to be more specific.
The more general you are, sure, you’ll reach a wider-range of audiences. But if you can’t hone your focus in on one particular audience, you’re going to turn some people off. If you say you write about mystery and romance, but are constantly posting things about horror and fantasy, you’re going to confuse your audience.
Simply put, your brand is who you are and what you’re actually trying to promote. All of your actions should flow from your brand-identity. It’s like a mission statement. This is who I am, this is what I want to do. And then you have to stick with it.
When institutions do something uncharacteristic of who they are, or they deviate from their mission statements, things will go wrong. People will not respond well. It’s a simple, cheesy Disney idea, but it’s true: Be true to who you are.
Rock the World, Love What You Do
It might go without saying…but I’m going to say it anyway. Love your brand. Love who you are. If you don’t, it’s going to be hard to draw OTHERS to yourself if you’re a conflicted, irrational mess. You must be invested in yourself before you can convince others to do the same.
Take some time. Think about what you want, how you’ll get it, and if it’s worth it to you. Believe me, this exercise will be worth it.
And, as always, persevere. Writing is hard. Business is competitive. You’ve gotta be strong to make it in this life.
So I’ve been noticing that, now more than ever, there is an influx of new bloggers. What’s more, many of my most recent followers seem to be bloggers that are just starting their journey here on WordPress.
Identity yourself to yourself. What does that mean? It means that, as you start writing, as you start reaching out, networking, meeting other bloggers, targeting specific audiences, you need to know first and foremost WHO YOU ARE as a blogger. You can only reach the audience you want once you decide what kind of blog you are going to run.
So identify yourself to yourself. What do you think you’ll write about? Do you review books or movies? Write about sports? Cooking? Are you trying to promote a book or a business?
You need to figure this out.
The truth is, it’s obnoxious as a reader to visit a blog about book reviews, only to find they decided to go off on a cooking tangent. Centralizing what you write about is important to maintaining and developing a community around yourself.
However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to blog about anything and everything, disregard this completely! 😀 😀 😀
Next: Identify Your Audience
I cannot stress this enough: once you discover and surround yourself with like-minded bloggers, blogging becomes so much more FUN!
The number one word that captures the essence of blogging is COMMUNITY. And to build and enter the community that you want, you have to find the right people.
So identify your target audience.
A while back, I wanted to target an audience of anime-watchers. Why? I’m writing a book that is very anime-esque (among other things). So I tried to write about anime, to reach out to other people that liked anime…but it just wasn’t working. Why? Because I don’t watch enough anime to connect with other people.
Although I thought anime fans were my target audience, it took me a while to understand that I was wrong.
So I took a different approach: I started targeting fellow writers. And let me tell you, that made a big difference!! I discovered my community in them, aspiring and self-published authors like me. And suddenly, my blogging world truly became alive.
Identifying your audience is important, especially if you’re trying to promote something. But, in the end, it’s even more important for the sake of creating a community…which, once again, is what blogging is all about!
Stick With It
We all struggle with this from time to time. We lack motivation because life gets busy, our blogging efforts seem fruitless, or other bloggers seem to be doing so much better. Believe me, I get it. I’ve been blogging for three years and I only have 420 followers. To some of you, that might seem like a lot, but it’s not.
The goal is to keep at it. Fight through the dull moments. Keep on writing.
Believe me, if you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing. I know that seems like an obvious statement, but it couldn’t be more true. If you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.
So you must continue to write.
I hope these tips were helpful! As always, Let me know what you think!
Note: this is a throwback post! I believe that this topic, however, is always relevant! Enjoy!
There are plenty of people in the blogosphere trying to get attention. Every now and then, I might run into a person who says “I don’t care how much attention I get; I’ll still blog and write.” And that’s a great mentality to have. You shouldn’t let everyone else’s opinions stop you.
But still, at times, it feels like everyone is trying to promote SOMETHING.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Some bloggers are trying to “promote” their emotions, the outcome of their relationship, how their weekend went, etc. Similarly, other people are “promoting” advice, or a message like religion or political philosophy.
Others are simply sharing their love of something by promoting that something. For instance, some people review books, TV shows, movies, etc., just for fun.
But all of this involves promoting yourself too. You won’t be able to promote anything unless you promote yourself.
And promoting yourself can be a big deal when you’re like the majority of bloggers out there…when you’re trying to promote what you write.
Take It From Me
Take it from me: there’s a lot of competition. I’m sure most of you have realized this. Everyone wants people to be interested in what they’re selling. If you’re an author and a blogger, then you’re a marketer. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, I can’t lay down a “road map to success” for any of you. In order to do that, I would need to find that road map first! But I can pass on some advice I got.
Allow me to tell you a story:
I’m a senior in high school. I’m sure most of you remember this time in your life where you had to start making adult decisions, particularly concerning your future. For me, this involved what I was going to do in college. I already have a free ride to an amazing college (thanks to my awesome, hard-working dad), so the question was, “What will I study in college?”
I’m not going to go into too much detail, but, basically, my parents were strongly pushing me to make a decision based on my financial future. As I’m sure most of you know, I would like to pursue a degree that has to do with writing and literature. But my parents were advising me to do something that could get me a nice job; a job that I could use to support a family.
I also happen to be pretty smart when it comes to things like math, physics, etc.
So I thought, “Well, I could be a math major. Or a physics major.”
In the end, I ended up texting my older brother who had graduated from the same college with multiple degrees. He’s a physicist, a mathematician, and an engineer (I know, smart guy!).
I asked for his advice, if he could see me as a mathematician or a physicist, and he replied with a simple question: “Why not an engineer?”
I didn’t really get the point: “Why?” Why would it matter? All three majors were basically the same, right?
Math majors and physicists have all the skills to do what an engineer does, as far as I could tell. In a lot of cases, they took similar classes, but for different reasons. All that was really different was the degree you got.
That was what I thought.
But then my brother told me something that I believe applies to waaaay more than just college and choosing a degree.
He told me that no industry/employer/company needs mathematicians or physicists anymore. They need engineers. Why?
Because engineers have something to OFFER.
You see, engineers are able to USE their knowledge of math and physics to create PRODUCTS. They don’t just have the knowledge, they can USE it. And this is what people want. My brother wasn’t saying that mathematicians and physicists are good for nothing.
But people want someone that can be useful to them. That’s the way the world works.
How does this apply to writing and promoting yourself?
You have to become something that people want. Or better yet, something that people NEED. Be useful to other people.
This is the best way to promote yourself; by offering something that people want. Sometimes this means not talking about yourself. Maybe this means sharing advice, writing a review for someone, or something else entirely.
Whether we like it or not though, this is the way the world works. People will want you if they need you. So develop the skillset and gather to yourself what people need. The best way to promote yourself is by promoting what people actually want.
It’s a frustrating truth: everyone wants to win, but no one wants to play.
What am I talking about?
Everyone is trying to sell something. There are plenty of bloggers out there who are trying to gain support and traffic for their brand, their product, their work of art. And I understand that; heck, I’m doing the same thing!
But you know what makes being a seller REALLLLLY hard?
Having nobody that wants to buy.
In today’s world, it’s so easy to be “double-sided”. It’s easy to “go through the motions”. I’ve had several people act excited about wanting to buy my book and read it…but then they never did. I even asked them about it.
Their response? “Uhh…I don’t have money to spend on your book. Sorry.”
“It’s 0.99 cents”.
See what I mean?
Look, I have no problem if you don’t want to buy my book. If you aren’t interested, I’m not going to blame you. But please…PLEASE don’t lie to me. That hurts way more.
As bloggers, we need to have a sense of community. And that community will never exist if we continue to form this false sense of security–this false sense of companionship. If everyone pats each other on the back, but without actually caring…there will be no community.
Please, let’s just all be honest with each other. I understand that, at times, it can be hard to tell someone the truth. I really do. But that doesn’t mean lying is the answer.
Everyone wants to win. Everyone is selling something. But in order to sell something, you need buyers.
And sometimes, to get buyers, you need to buy.
Be a part of a community. Take a chance with someone else’s work. Believe me, it’ll work wonders for you and your community.
Recently, a duo of blogging brothers published a new story on Amazon. What did I do? I bought it right away. Was it my kind of story? No. But did I at least give them a chance? Yes. And that’s what matters.
Have you ever been able to tell that to someone? “Yeah, I’m a writer.”
It feels awesome. Naturally, we don’t like to share things about ourselves with people we don’t know. That being said, telling people about our love of writing seems like something we all look forward to. I know I do. I’m proud of what I love, and, if you’re like me, you’re dying for someone to listen to you talk about your writing experiences.
So maybe we like telling people “I’m a writer”.
But do we even realize what we’re saying?
If you really are a writer, analyze what I’m about to say with a writer’s eye. By saying “I am a writer”, what verb are you using?
“Am”. It’s a verb of being.
Do you realize what you are saying?
Some would say that you are defining something deep about yourself…something so deep, it’s akin to your very nature. What is the definition of nature, as ascertained by philosophers that are way smarter than me?
“Nature-Essence at its center of activity: a thing’s fundamental function”
To say that you ARE a writer implies that it is your nature. It is your fundamental function.
I dare you. I DARE you. Ask yourself a simple question:
“Am I really a writer?”
(“Or do I just write from time to time?”)
Does writing define who you are? Do you need writing? Is writing your fundamental function?
I’ve read a lot of stories about the experiences of successful authors. What those stories had in common was how much those authors had to dive into a lifestyle of writing, whether it was easy or not. They made writing their fundamental function. It was write or die.
My dear followers, are you willing to do the same?
Are you a writer?
If the answer is “no”, then what are you willing to give?
If you want to be successful, if you want to be true to yourself, don’t just write.
Be a writer…
…so that you can say this and know it in your heart: “I. Am. A. Writer.”
Now go for it, and apply this to any part of your life that involves (or should involve) passion.
This post is dedicated to Cristian Mihai, the awesome author of The Writer. If you haven’t already, check out his blog and pick up one of his books. You won’t regret it.