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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Doing It Right by Sharon Hamilton

I was listening to an excellent podcast yesterday while cleaning my desk. She was speaking about voice and how a writer has to find hers. (By the way, I love listening to podcasts or audio books when I do something like that. Keeps me on task!) And, as often happens, the subject matter made me think about the things that are unique to each of us, as writers.

Every writer loves the feel of finding their own voice. We love it when readers find it and get us. It feels like a home run when you get those heart-felt letters.

But finding the right way to market yourself as a writer is a more difficult path. Once we have our voice, our subject matter and our story arc down, we go with that until it no longer calls to us. When that happens, we change up, alter our genres, do things to stimulate the muse back into position. Sort of like training a wild horse, I guess.

There are hundreds of ways to set up your business and get your name, your book out there. We are pitched things every day. We join loops with authors who give good advice. Sometimes that works for us, sometimes it doesn't. The bottom line is, just like an author's voice, there is no One Size Fits All when it comes to marketing and promotion. What one person says is a must do, is a non-starter for others.

What does an author do? Well, interestingly, when I thought about how I found my author voice, I just wrote until I found it. I listened to myself, to things I'd written. Set them down and looked at them later. And then I began to find my footing by trusting my own instinct. I could go by what judges and reviewers and editors said. All that information is valuable. But it didn't get my voice. I had to find that on my own. And yes, all that feedback helped me to discover that, but the major lifting was done on my end, not theirs.

So, when it comes to doing the activities we need to do to be successful, we have to find our own way. Like Michael Gerber said in e-Myth. How We Do It Here. That means, we take the advice of others, search what's available, and then MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS. What a concept! Some of us don't think spending $5000 a month on ads to make $6000 in income is smart. Some of us don't think hiring expensive gurus who claim to have the secrets of success is smart. Some of us don't think we should listen to every author who has the magic pill. There are promotional sites, VAs and PAs - everyone has an opinion and a reason for those opinions. And sometimes they can be just dead wrong.

Notice I said we don't have to listen to everyone? We don't. Somehow we feel we have to try and listen and work our tails off or we're "doing it wrong" if our sales don't soar.

So who do we listen to? OURSELVES. We learn to trust ourselves, be our authentic selves, tell the truth, and give up worry. We just keep moving. We may not be the best-selling author out there, but we can be the hardest working author: hardest working for our fans, investing in our craft, understanding and being aware of trends and marketing, knowing who to reach out to and who to listen to.

AND WHEN TO SHUT IT ALL OUT. I'm telling you, the best thing I've done this year is TUNE OUT more than I've tuned in. Weeding and culling, triming down, and just writing and promoting. Those are my two jobs.

Success is a daily mindset, and only we control that one.


jean hart stewart said...

Promoting is still a puzzle to me, even after thirty some books. I still don't know what really works.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thanks, Jean. It can be muddlesome at times, right?

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