Kristen Lamb's Blog
Posts Tagged building an author brand
Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Business, Culture on January 27, 2017
Today we are going to dive back into social media because who we are on-line impacts the odds of our success. Whether we like it or not, engaging on social media and cultivating a following is going to massively impact our professional success (or lack thereof).
In sales we had a saying, Fish where the fish are. Well my darlings, the fish are schooling on social media. When we are online we are not only engaging with the readers of today, we are cultivating future readers. This applies as much to the pre-published newbie as it does the internationally best-selling author.
We are wise to remember that we now have entire generations glued to smart phones and LinkedInInstaSnap, and if we don’t learn how to navigate these waters? Bad juju.
This said. Social media is an extraordinarily powerful tool that is too often treated like a toy.
Would we do that with a chainsaw? Treat it like a toy? Not use safety gear and chase friends and neighbors and joggers with it and fling it around laughing without a care? No, likely not. But that chainsaw only has around sixty teeth when the Internet has MILLIONS of teeth.
Social media is more dangerous than a chainsaw when we handle it recklessly. If you don’t believe me, I think there is a position open for a new SNL writer. The Internet is filled with stories of even regular people who acted thoughtlessly on social media whose lives were then upended. They lost jobs, destroyed their reputations, and even had to go into hiding.
Is it fair? No. But fair is a weather condition.
Does this mean we are to be afraid of social media? Well no more than we would be afraid of a chainsaw or a car or a power drill. We don’t need to be afraid of any of these tools, but we do need to respect their power.
Whenever we decide we might one day sell our book, we are making a decision to be a professional. Being a professional comes with certain rules that don’t generally apply to regular people.
Additionally, all authors are in the business of sales and I can tell you that nothing helps sales like good old-fashioned networking. When I was in corporate sales, there was a reason we hobnobbed at golf events and cocktail parties and lunches. We were there to get to know one another on a more intimate level. Learn about each other, talk about topics of mutual interest (business or not and more often not).
It was these loose and casual connections that with time, became long-term business relationships and friendships. Our goal was to cultivate an atmosphere that left others saying, “I cannot wait to give her my business.” Or, even better, “I cannot wait to recommend her to others.”
Most people buy from who they know and who they like.
They DO NOT buy from people who berate them and call them names.
Social media is supposed to be social and it is governed by the same social rules as any in-person get-together. Feel free to ignore these rules, but they will have consequences.
If we are consistently name-calling, ranting, arguing and trolling, and posting stuff that creates a toxic atmosphere of anger and hysteria? Other people DO have the right to say, “No, not in my space.”
I love Facebook. I am friends with all kinds of people and have zero interest in living in an ideological echo chamber. I feel my diverse group of “friends” is what adds richness and depth to my life.
I enjoy seeing other viewpoints, even if I might not necessarily agree. I enjoy seeing people around me passionate in supporting what they love, even when it is a cause I don’t happen to share.
The problem is, we have become a culture addicted to outrage.
It has become more and more apparent over the past several years. Now? It is ridiculous. I see people who have no problem blasting others and going for the throats of anyone who dares have another opinion. Oh, but they all seem to have the skin of a grape.
They are offended all…the…time.
They have two speeds: Offensive and Offended.
So many people have just become a never-ending fountain of some new thing to be pissed off about. It never…frigging…stops.
Would we act this way in a workplace? You know, every day show up with petitions and corner people at the coffee machine and call them names? Utter insults so repugnant that bystanders cannot believe an adult actually said it?
And, if we did act this way, how long before we were fired?
If we were in sales, would be woo a potential client by screaming at him? By calling him a sexist pig?
If we owned a business, would we be able to grow that business if, every time a customer came in to see what we had to offer, we were enraged and yelling? Demanding they listen to our grievances?
Some of y’all might be laughing, but I see this all the time on social media. I just want to pull the author aside and tell them their FB page is their storefront and it is decorated with hate and hysteria. Is that what they were intending?
We all have a right to be offended and we should be offended. Being offended has its place and is it at the heart of all great social change. But offended all the time? Frankly, no one really wants to be around those people long-term. It costs us health, peace, friends and yes, even money. Most people won’t remember every detail of what we say or do, but…
People will always remember how we made them feel when in our company.
So when I post anything I always ask how that might make others feel. That is my litmus on-line.
My Feed is the Adult Table
In the ten years I have been on Facebook I had never unfriended anyone because of their beliefs, even those beliefs that are vastly different than mine. I still won’t. I love your uniqueness and have no interest in making you a clone of me.
The world can barely handle ONE of me, LOL.
But over the past couple of months? I have begun setting firmer boundaries. At first I will unfollow people who are just constantly negative (no matter their beliefs) and only unfriend if I can’t seem to escape any other way.
I don’t want that in my feed. I see too much of this junk already. I go to the gym and every treadmill faces a WALL of nonstop news. I don’t know whether my heart rate is up because I’m keeping a good pace running or if I am furious at the news.
Thus, when I get on social media? I don’t want to be surrounded by relentless rage, a constant stream of negativity and hate.
My FB is the adult table. Adults can discuss and debate and talk without coming emotionally unhinged. Adults talk on a variety of subjects. Children whine and complain. Adults can see something they disagree with and move on. Children rant and rave and stuff digital peas up their noses.
I used to befriend everyone who said they were a writer and still do. But, if this person is then consistently acting unprofessional? I don’t have time for amateur hour. I am only interested in interacting with other authors who value their own reputation and the reason is simple. If they don’t respect their own name and reputation, why would they respect mine? We can’t give what we don’t have.
Now when anyone sends me a request? I look at their feed first and see if this is the kind of positive and professional energy I want to incorporate into my life.
We Need to GROW UP
I would love for every person using social media to do this, but every human on social media is not my concern. I am talking to authors who want to cultivate a platform filled with either readers, or at least with people who enrich their lives so they can write more books and better books.
Granted, I would love for every person who follows me on social media to buy my books, but selling books is not my sole purpose. I am on social media to reach out. To love and encourage and serve. To bring laughter and education. To brighten a dark day. I am also on social media to be fed and enriched and enlightened by others, but that only happens in the presence of respectful and thoughtful adults.
The same boundaries we place on children? Sadly, sometimes we need those on-line.
For those of you who might be feeling battered and war-weary on-line? You have a right to set boundaries. Gentle at first (unfollow) and if that doesn’t work? You do have the right to unfriend, to remove recalcitrant children and replace them with thoughtful grownups. We are authors not babysitters.
This is not censorship. Censorship is if we reported everyone we disagreed with to FB to get their page taken down. Setting boundaries is your right and it is necessary for emotional health.
Adults don’t mind posts here and there about politics, even when they disagree. They don’t mind a petition now and again. The DO mind a soap box getting planted on their heads every day. They are getting weary of armchair activists and they are quietly unfollowing and unfriending when we fail to be respectful.
I am so honored to serve all of you and I know each and every one of you will change the world. I hope you do and I can’t wait to see you do it!
What are your thoughts? I love hearing from you! What are your thoughts? Concerns?
And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
SIGN UP NOW FOR MY UPCOMING CLASSES!!!
Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses!
All you need is an internet connection!
NEW CLASS!!!! How to Maximize Your Earning Potential as a Full-Time Author Learn from Hollywood Producer Joel Eisenberg in your HOME. This series is normally $400 but W.A.N.A. is offering it for $199.
Branding Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE social media classes, ONE low price. Only $99. It is literally getting one class for FREE!!!!
Craft Master’s Class Series with Kristen Lamb THREE craft classes, ONE low price. Only $89. One class is FREE!!!! Includes my new class The Art of Character.
Individual Classes with MOI!
Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS January 28th
When your Name Alone Can SELL—Branding for Authors February 10th, 2017
Social Media for Authors February 11th, 2017
NEW CLASS!!!! The Art of Character January 27th, 2017
Blogging for Authors February 3rd
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on
building an author brand, building an author platform, Generation Butthurt, Hatebook, Kristen Lamb, People acting badly on social media, social media and bullying, social media for writers, writers and being professional on social media
Why Your Author Blog is Stuck & What To DO
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Blogging, Social Media Platform on May 4, 2016
Ah the blog. Some of you might perk up at the word. Others? Blog sounds like some radioactive creature that hatched from a meteor and is only there to feed. Feed on your energy, your hopes and your dreams.
Many writers start the blog with high hopes, then a few months in? You can’t bear to go to your computer because the screen is a reminder of that shiny blog you started…then abandoned to the spam bots.
A blog done properly is one of the most powerful tools in our social media arsenal.
Twitter could flitter and Facebook could face plant, but the blog will remain. In fact, blogs have been going strong since the 90s and have taken over much of what used to be the sole territory of traditional media outlets. Additionally, blogging is the only form of social media that plays to a writer’s strengths.
Many writers get overwhelmed at the idea of a blog. But there are SO MANY blogs! Yes, there are. But don’t let that number fool you. Yes there are a gazillion blogs, but how many are any good? How many are consistent? How many have been abandoned?
When we blog properly, the competition isn’t nearly as bad as one might imagine.
What vexes me profoundly is when I attend classes on social media and blogging and witness eager authors listening to advice that frankly? Sucks. Not long ago, I literally walked out of a blogging class at a conference…namely because shutting up is not my strong suit.
So today, I want to outline some basics for you and get you asking and answering the correct questions before you begin to blog. If you want to know more about the author brand/blog I go into great detail in my book Rise of the Machines. I also have two classes coming up—Branding for Authors (May 16th) and Blogging for Authors (May 20th). This will keep this post a reasonable length because blogging is a vastly complex topic.
But the biggest question we need to ask in the beginning (before we get stuck) is….
What Kind of Blogger Do I Want to Be?
An Author Blog is Different
One thing I want all of you to understand is that the author blog is a distinctively different creature. Part of why I got so angry in the class I walked out of was because the expert failed to make the distinction and acted like a blog was a blog was a blog.
There is a HUGE difference between a blog and an author blog so you need to ask yourself this BIG question before you ever get started because it will impact everything that follows.
Is your goal to become a professional blogger? Or, is your goal to use your blog to build your author brand and eventually drive book sales?
There’s no wrong answer, but there is a vast difference in approach and planning. Often bloggers will use monikers. Think Scary Mommy, The Bloggess, or Pioneer Woman. For a blogger, this is perfectly fine since the goal is to build the BLOG and often the goal is to become big enough to be able to sell ad space.
If, however, you are wanting to be a successful author who blogs? A moniker makes your journey unnecessarily longer and harder and will only add layers of friction to your brand. The only acceptable author brand is the name printed on the front of your books.
People don’t like thinking and they’ve gotten really spoiled. If I spend years blogging as HappyFunGirl, then no one browsing novels would even notice Kristen Lamb because I branded the wrong name.
There is another constraint worth mentioning. Content. Often blogs revolve around a particular area of interest—cooking, family, parenting, pets, etc. These are all non-fiction topics and stuff the left brain loooooves.
The problem is that authors are selling a right brain product (fiction). Why are we selling a right brain product with a left-brained brand? It’s bait that’s less than ideal. Again, it can work, but it isn’t connecting the way it needs to in order to cultivate a fan base for fiction.
Another problem when we start a subject-based blog? It’s easy to burn out (get stuck). An author blog gives us far more flexibility and freedom in our content that will keep us passionate about writing for years to come. We won’t feel chained to a subject that no longer interests us.
Why it is really critical to define our goals in the beginning is this is going to dictate where to build our blog. Any “expert” who says the only difference in a free platform and a paid platform is how many fonts, colors and backgrounds you have to choose from, doesn’t know her stuff.
The reason I’m a huge fan of the blog is the blog is a great way to drive book sales in a noninvasive way. We blog on something that catches interest, a reader clicks and likes and subscribes, and over in the corner, what do we have?
A shopping cart to BUY our books.
The entire reason I became a social media expert was I fell victim to the same bad advice I’m warning you of today. The same advice being given in 2016 in that class.
I didn’t know that the real difference in the FREE version and the PAID one had everything to do with BUSINESS.
In the FREE version, we cannot conduct commerce, which means no shopping cart. I didn’t know this in the beginning and it wasn’t until I had over 25,000 subscribers that I realized my mistake. By the time I had books for sale? There was no moving my followers, my 500+ blog posts and my tens of thousands of comments.
I had to start at GROUND ZERO if I moved. Yes, I was STUCK.
***Actually, WP now will allow me to move everything but I had to wait five years for the technology to catch up to my oops. I’ll be moving over the summer when things slow down. It will be way easier for me to have a shopping cart instead of having to hyperlink books and classes every post.
But here is the deal, I’ve done all the dumb stuff so you don’t have to. Plan for success and just invest the $100 in a paid site. You will thank me later 😉 .
If you are stuck and not growing and not selling books? Might be time for an upgrade.
We must remember that the easier we make it for people to find, interact, subscribe, follow, share and comment on our blogs, the greater the odds of the blog being successful. This is why I strongly recommend a WP based website. I know some authors love Blogger and are very successful using it and if so? Sally forth. This is more for the new folks.
WP, in my POV, is far more user-friendly. Blogger makes me solve five CAPTCHAS, submit a haiku, three letters of reference and a blood sample before I can comment. This is why if I click on a link and see the post is Blogger based? I don’t even read.
Blogs live and die by the comments, so no matter what platform you use, please make it easy for people to comment and share.
When authors don’t get comments and followers it is super easy to get discouraged and give up. Change the interface. It might just be your readers are having a tough time connecting.
Bonus Blogging Tip
If you start an author blog, make it your landing page on your author website.
Static pages are boring and no one wants to go there. This makes it easier for you to use blogs as bait to get folks to your site where hopefully they will buy books. Remember the more we make people click to navigate, the more chances we have to lose them. If the blog and shopping cart are right there on the landing page?
Also, if you blog regularly putting your blog on your author site (home page) will make the search engines looove you and will give you algorithmic advantage which is essential for success 😀 .
What are your thoughts? Did you realize there was a difference between the blog and the author blog? Are you seeing some things you’ve been doing that might be stalling your blog? Have you lost the love for blogging?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-Line (THIS FRIDAY!!!) This is a great diagnostic for a floundering plot. I can tell what is wrong (or even right) with a plot by looking at the log-line. The first ten signups get their log-line shredded IN CLASS and for FREE.
Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist This class will teach you to be a master plotter. No antagonist, no plot. Weak antagonist, weak plot. Additionally this class will teach you how to put conflict and tension on every page.
Hooking the Reader—Your First Five Pages The first five pages are one of our best selling tools. We fail to hook the reader and that is a lost sale. In this class, we go over the art of great beginnings. Additionally, the upper levels Gold and Platinum I actually LOOK at your pages and critique your actual writing. I am offering DOUBLE PAGES for FREE so this is a fantastic opportunity to get feedback from a pro.
blogging, blogging for author brand, blogging for authors, blogging to sell books, building an author brand, Kristen Lamb, Kristen Lamb Rise of the Machines, what kind of blog do authors need?
Twitter for Writers—Eight Ways to Nuke Your Brand
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Social Media Platform on January 28, 2016
I’ve been an advocate of writers using social media since 2004, before social media was really a thang. In the early days of Gather and MySpace it occurred to me that we were seeing a fundamental shift in how humans would 1) be communicating 2) forging relationships and 3) finding/discovering entertainment.
Digital Age Writers? You have…no…idea.
Back in my day *wags cane* we were fighting the Russians and there were NUKES pointed at us for twenty years. We had to get our moms to drive us to a library to research for a paper using the Dewey decimal system. There was no Google.
If you wanted a popular book and didn’t save enough babysitting money to preorder the next David Eddings book in the Pawn of Prophecy series? In hardback? You waited.
Your turn. Like behind fifty other people.
And hoped the book wasn’t overhyped crap and the last thing you’d read before being nuked.
In my day, you wrote stories in ink by hand. Or? On THIS thing…which you could use to brain a Russian….before he nuked you.
And you prayed to GOD that your little brother properly screwed on the cap to the whiteout so it wasn’t dried into one glob of white goo. And if you changed your mind where a scene went? TOUGH FRIGGING LUCK. You should have plotted it out better the first time, Smart Guy!
When I was growing up, we didn’t know the author. Writers were proper and respectable and had the basic decency to keep their weirdness hidden from the public eye.
And books? We had to go to a store. A real store with like walls and freaking shelves. And if they didn’t have the next Dragonlance book? Well then cry you whiny little baby. Cry. You had to WAIT and hope you weren’t nuked before they got in the shipment.
I had a friend who skateboarded alone to a B. Dalton’s. Yes, he was nuked.
Okay, I’m finished 😀 .
Okay, Twitter. You writers today are so spoiled but many are just wrecking one of the most powerful ways to build an author brand. Or, to go with today’s goofery? Nuking it.
What’s been strange to see is how in the older days when we were forced to interact face-to-face, interpersonal communication was just natural. Social media is supposed to simply be an extension of that. It is meant to be social and a reflection of how we would interact in person.
As a social media expert, I run into all kinds of strange behavior and tips that make me scratch my head. It’s as if the second we want to create a brand or mention we have a book for sale, we forget everything we know about being human.
Twitter is a great way to build a brand and connect and cultivate future readers, but it is shockingly misused.
Today’s post (obviously) is tongue-and-cheek, but humor can be the best teacher even if we’ve oopsed. Thus, here are eight ways to nuke your brand. Like glass-factory-glow-in-the-dark-grow-500-pound-strawberries-for-the-next-six-hundred-years.
Yes, I am being a drama queen. Too much Aqua Net killed off my brain cells.
So Eight Ways to NUKE your BRAND.
Tip #1—Only Use Automation
Writing a 140 characters is SUPER time-consuming. We aren’t Jack London. Besides, people love robots. I know when I feel lonely, I call AT&T because I know a human being will NEVER answer…EVER. Humans can be so boring and don’t offer us the option of hitting 6 if we want to hear everything they just said all over again.
Real Life Application: Program cell phones to call friends and family at regular intervals to ask for money. They’d dig that.
Tip #2—Make Sure All Preprogrammed Tweets are “Carefully Crafted”
Because when we take time to artfully craft our spam, people don’t mind. They LOVE believing a real person is there only to be fooled. It’s like when that cute guy/gal in high school pretended to want to go out with us. Now we can relive that experience as adults by being duped into thinking we were chatting with a real person who actually cared.
Real Life Application: At the holidays, volunteer to bring one of those awesome fried turkeys, then show up instead with Tofurkey. They won’t know the difference.
Tip #3—When Programming Tweets Include Popular Hashtags…ALL OF THEM
Who goes to social media to socialize? People LOVE finding a community of real people to talk to and then having it crowded out by the same advertising over and over…and over. Because research shows that it takes at least 20 times to see an annoying face before we want to punch it.
Real Life Application: Some people see a funeral, others see a target audience in need of some cheering up with a NEW BOOK. If potential readers aren’t coming to us, we should go to them. Find where they gather then SELL. So what if it’s against their will?
Tip #4—Make People Prove Who They Are Before Talking to Them
Twitter validation services are awesome. We love meeting someone, only to have to jump through hoops to prove our love. We even get the added advantage of being redirected off Twitter to an outside site where we’re easily hacked. How else will all our friends receive direct messages from porn sites posing as us? Nothing seals an on-line relationship like giving others a social media disease. Who will they think of when they have to spend hours removing viruses and trojans from their computers.
Can we say “Top of Mind”?
Come on! It takes three whole seconds to unfollow a bot. We need those precious three seconds to carefully craft witty preprogrammed tweets. Let the other person do the fifty hoops of leg-work to earn our trust. They have plenty of time.
Real Life Application: Whenever we meet someone and start chatting, if we like them, suddenly stop talking and find a way to casually get samples of their hair for your portable drug testing kit. Hey, gotta be safe these days. Don’t want to just chat with any weirdo.
Throw in a urinalysis to be extra sure ;).
Tip#5—Tweet LOTS of Articles—Ok, ALL Articles
Most of us, when we wake up in the morning, think, “Gee, I wish I had a super long reading list. I sure miss my college syllabus.” Those of us with a corporate job LOVE people who hit Reply ALL so we can read more. Wikipedia is a hot place to hang out. Why not bring that encyclopedic magic to Twitter?
Real Life Application: Make sure to print off a box of articles for that wedding you were invited to. Who wants to dance or flirt when they could be reading about intestinal parasites? Handing people a stack of reading material is way better than getting trapped in a “conversation.”
Tip #6—Ask for Stuff Immediately
The second someone befriends us, it’s our job to send an automated link to their Direct Messages so they can do stuff FOR US. Buy our book, like our FB page, follow our blog, or even answer a really inane question (as if we care about their answer) *rolls eyes*. Hey, great to meet you. Do you like vampires or werewolves?
Real Life Application: If someone is nice to us in the grocery store, make sure to have books to sell and the ability to take credit cards on the spot. Sure, that person is trying to buy a chicken to make for dinner and now she can buy OUR BOOKS, too. Win-win. If we don’t have books for sale, we can ask for life, love or career advice from total strangers, because that isn’t creepy at ALL.
Tip #7—Tweet from Several Accounts/Identities
People on Twitter might miss out on all those “carefully crafted” preprogrammed tweets. Make sure to have anywhere from 2-7 identities sending the same messages. What’s better than spam? MORE SPAM, duh.
Real Life Application: This tactic rocks for singles on the dating scene. Meet a date then several times throughout the conversation, change names and accents. Multiple-personalities are just more people to love.
Tip #8—Never Tweet ANYTHING Original Just Retweet
Again, 140 characters cuts into word count. Save time and retweet what everyone else has to say. Two clicks? DONE.
Real Life Application: Repeat what everyone else says. Don’t you remember how your siblings loved it when you did that to them?
I am not kidding.
I am not kidding.
Why are you repeating everything I say?
Why are you repeating everything I say?
Okay, I am going to tell Mom.
Okay, I am going to tell Mom.
Man, those were good times…until the arm-bar and atomic wedgie.
Okay, Serious Now
Twitter can be very valuable and a great place to make wonderful friends. Be real and enjoy. People are on social media to be social. We crave connection, fun and escape. If we wanted more ads we’d read the door in the bathroom stall or not bother fast-forwarding through commercials. We don’t need to be profound, deep or immensely witty to do well on Twitter, we just need to be vested, present and authentic ;).
Don’t Get NUKED! A PSA from Kevin Bacon and yes I totally ripped off his idea. Good writers borrow great writers steal 😛
Before we go…
THIS SATURDAY! We can’t sell a book if we cannot articulate in one sentence what that book is ABOUT.
Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-Line. Our stories should be simple enough to tell someone what the book is about in ONE sentence. If we can’t do this, often there is a plot problem. Okay, about 99% of the time there is a plot problem. I can tell by a log-line what is right or wrong with a book (HINT: So can agents). Save a ton of money with editors and a lot of time trying to fix the wrong stuff and spring $35 for TWO HOURS of fun with me. Recording of class is included with admission.
This class is great for teaching you how to be master plotters and the first FIFTEEN SIGNUPS get their log-line shredded for free, so you will be agent ready.
I LOVE hearing from you!
If you are old enough, how did YOU suffer? Writers today have NO CLUE! We used to get paper cuts!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
And yes, I am a complete and total slacker. December’s winner will be announced later because I seriously had three posts go viral. Great problem to have…but tabulating a winner? Gonna take a little time. Love you *air kiss*
Remember to check out the new classes listed at W.A.N.A International.
Branding for Authors (NEXT SATURDAY). This is your best way to get PAID in the digital age. We have to cultivate that 1000 die hard fans who won’t settle for FREE.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
authors of the digital age, bad habits on Twitter, building an author brand, building an author platform with Twitter, how to use social media effectively, Kristen Lamb, Social media for authors, Twitter, Twitter for writers
Branding and the Brain—What We Post On-Line Matters
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Social Media Platform on October 2, 2015
We’ve been talking about social media and building a platform the past couple of posts. I know this is a topic that makes most of us break out in hives, especially when you don’t yet have a book for sale. Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt. It’s sort of like credit. You can’t get any credit because you don’t yet have any credit but you don’t yet have any credit because no one will give you credit because you don’t have credit.
My head hurts.
Thus, today is for all levels of authors. Yes, even Jane Newbie who hasn’t yet finished the first book. We are going to talk about the bare essence of branding.
In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World I go into a lot more detail about the science behind branding, but today we are going to talk about why our everyday on-line behaviors collect into a larger pool we call “author brand.”
The thing is, humans have always had a “brand.” Brand in its simplest form is what adjectives we attach to another person. Before the digital age and social media this idea of “branding” simply extended into our social realms in places like school or church or clubs. Why? Humans dig labels. It’s how we make our larger world manageable. Thus, people might be tethered to words like “band geek” “jock” “prep” “gossip” “jerk” “soccer mom” etc.
As we grew older our personal brand included our occupation and this was a good way to do business. I was a member of Rotary for seven years. I was friends with “Ken the Stock Broker,” “Mike the Plastic Surgeon,” “Tom the Orthopedic Surgeon” “Debbie the Realtor” “Kim the Physical Therapist” and on and on and on.
Not one of these people needed to drop a flyer in my lap when we met for lunch. I knew who they were and what they did and I relied on their “brand” when I needed their service(s). It was far preferable for me to go to Dan the Dentist (who I knew and liked from Rotary) than it was to go on-line and hope I scored a dentist I liked.
But why did I “like” these people? Did I really need to get a full resume of their experience to at least give them (their services) a try? Not really. “Gene the Money Manager” was a nice family man and I enjoyed his company and that was good enough. He made the “sale” without ever “selling.” It was probably less about what he did and more what he didn’t do, but this is where we start getting into some neuroscience.
The Neurological Shortcut
Our brains are remarkable organs that have the ability to adapt to our environment. Before the invention of the written word, our memory centers were far larger because we had to pass down information orally. In fact, if you took an MRI of an tribesman from some South American tribe, his brain would look and act very different from yours or mine.
Then, with the advent of the written word, our memory centers shrank but we gained even larger areas for abstract thinking. This is around the time we start seeing major explosions in science and engineering.
Now we are in the Digital Age, and we’re bombarded with stimuli. Internet, television, radio, smart phones, pop-ups, etc. etc. We’ve lost our stellar memory centers and our ability to focus for long periods of time and have gained an unprecedented ability to multitask. We process massive amounts of information faster than ever before.
Think about it. We see ads on Facebook all the time. Or do we? Our brains have literally learned to un-see. We cannot manage all the input. So, if we (authors) are eventually going to advertise our books, how do we make our content visible?
Since our brain is much like a computer processor, it must come up with ways to effectively manage all this input in order to maintain efficiency. To do this, it relies on what are called somatic markers.
Somatic markers are neurological shortcuts and are one of the most primitive functions of the brain because they are uniquely tied to survival and procreation. It’s the same shortcut that tells us the stove is hot. We don’t need to sit and ponder the stove. We likely learned when we were very small not to touch.
To give you an idea of how somatic markers work, let’s do a little exercise. Is there a perfume or cologne you can smell and it instantly transports you back in time? Maybe to that first love or even *cringes* that first heartbreak? A song that makes you cry? Perhaps there is a food you once ate that made you sick and even though there is no logical reason you shouldn’t eat it now, the mere thought of eating it makes you queasy.
These are somatic markers. When it comes to branding, somatic markers are king.
The Pepsi Challenge
If you are around my age or older you can remember The Pepsi Challenge. For years, Pepsi had been trying to gain an edge over Coca Cola who had dominated the soda industry for generations. So, they came up with the idea of setting up a table in stores and shopping malls and encouraging people to take a blind taste test.
The results were astonishing.
In a blind taste test, people preferred the taste of Pepsi. Coke was rattled by this and they did the same test and it turned out, people preferred the taste of Pepsi…and this led to brilliant ideas like “New Coke” which was one of the most epic failures in history.
Why did New Coke fail?
Coke had reformulated to make the drink sweeter. In blind taste tests, New Coke was a clear winner. So then why did it tank so badly?
Years later, neuroscientists decided to see if they could demystify what happened in The Pepsi Challenge so they conducted the exact same experiment, only this time they hooked participants up to an fMRI machine so they could witness what areas of the brain lit up.
So, they held the taste test the same way it was conducted in the 70s. A blind taste test and to their astonishment, people preferred the taste of Pepsi. According to the fMRI the ventral putamen, the area of the brain that tells us something tastes yummy lit up like Christmas.
*Some have speculated that when it is only a sip, people will prefer the sweeter drink.*
The scientists then decided to try something a bit different. They did the test again, only this time they told the participants what they were drinking. This time, Coke won. Ah, but something strange happened in the brain. Not only did the ventral putamen light up, but so did the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with emotion and memory.
See, when it was based on taste alone, Pepsi won. But, when the brands were compared, Coke won. The human brain was in a wrestling match between two very different regions—taste and emotional. Coke had the advantage because of the vast reservoir of fond memories associated with the brand.
Norman Rockwell Americana, cute polar bears, I’d Like to But the World a Coke, every BBQ, summer vacation, rollerskating parties, Friday nights with pizza and on and on all were part of the Coca Cola arsenal. The fond memories (positive somatic markers) associated with the brand literally changed the taste and gave Coca Cola the winning edge.
Every Bit Adds Up
This is why every interaction on social media matters. Right now you might not have a published novel and thus you don’t have 15 hours or more of an emotional memory to link to your name (yet). But you can get on social media and do a little bit every day.
Start building your own Coca Cola experience.
Even authors who are published. Keep the brand strong in between books a little bit every day,
Every time our name floats by on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. what emotional experience are we tethering it to? There are two types of somatic markers—positive and negative.
Last time I mentioned that it was possible to have a belief system without giving everyone else indigestion. I have people on Facebook who I actually agree with politically and I have had to unfriend because I don’t feel like being hysterical all the time. If I wanted doom and gloom and panic attacks I would watch the news. I don’t like feeling hopeless and powerless. I don’t enjoy being attacked.
This holds true for how we act in person. Would we want to hang out with someone who just ranted and raged and complained all the time? Who called other people names and became belligerent when anyone dared to disagree? And I am not suggesting anything that wouldn’t be prudent in a regular workplace. Social media is simply an extension of the social realm. There is no “magic” to it other than be kind and treat others the way we’d like to be treated. Somatic markers are what make us “likable” in person or “on-line.”
Somatic markers also have the power to give us an edge when it comes to sales.
We see ads all over. More than ever before in human history. But when we have a positive experience, we notice the ad. For instance, I never realized there were so many red Hondas until I bought one. Now, I don’t believe the overall sale of red Hondas changed any, but I noticed them because I had one.
If we see an ad for a book, we may or may not notice. But what about an ad for a book written by someone we know? Someone perhaps we talked to and liked? The ad practically leaps from the page. We might even buy it because we SAW her ad and OMG! I know her!
Ads alone have very little power to compel a purchase. But, couple them with a brand, and the odds greatly improve. We can use some simple understanding of how the human brain works to better guide us in what we should (or should not) post on-line.
Remember last time we talked about kitten memes. Don’t underestimate them. Think about it. If every time my name floats by on Facebook it is attached to something that makes you SMILE, that has an impact. We might not be aware of it, but our brain is attaching somatic markers to a name.
When I see X, it is a good thing.
When I see X, I want to punch things and I feel sick.
At the end of the day, this is a long way to say that brands are simply what we learned in Kindergarten. Every interaction matters and it all adds up. With some planning, discipline and intent, we can better guide what it adds up to 😉 . We will talk more about simple ways to start building a brand. This can be an enjoyable experience.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a perfume you used to love, but then someone you despised wore it and you no longer could stand the smell? Have you had a bad experience with a food and to this day can’t eat it? Do you think of summer vacation whenever you smell Coppertone, too?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of OCTOBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
building an author brand, how to build an author platform, Kristen Lamb, Pepsi Challenge, Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, selling books on-line, social media, somatic markers and branding
How to Write a Great Author Blog AND Avoid Huge Ships
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Blogging, Social Media Platform on February 5, 2014
Blogging is THE most resilient form of social media and one of the best tools to build an author platform. Why? Readers read blogs. Perfect snare for readers. We also own our blogs, whereas content posted on Facebook and Twitter (and other social sites) is no longer exclusively ours, meaning these sites could rearrange the digital furniture and take our posts/archives with them.
If Twitter flitters and FB implodes, blogs will remain. Blogs will continue to grow over time, and search engines LOVE them. Blogs have been going strong since the 90s. Blogging also makes us better, faster, cleaner writers and they can be harvested later for books (I.e. to use as promotion).
Whenever I teach writers about blogging, my first challenge is to talk them off the ledge from panic. What do I TALK about? I have no IDEAAAAASSSS!
*breathes into paper bag*
And I truly understand this panic, because a lot of social media experts advise writers to blog in a way that is very left-brain.
Write about writing.
Write about the industry.
Write about your process.
Write about your research.
Write about your books.
Write about getting an agent.
Do book reviews.
Talk to your characters. NOOOOOO! (*hint* Anyone who knows the characters already bought the book. To anyone else? Seriously creepy.)
Yet, here’s the thing, writers (especially fiction writers) are CREATIVE people. We are storytellers. When we blog merely on information, we engage the left side of the brain (analytical), but our fiction engages the RIGHT side of the brain (emotional). Blogs need to do this, too.
Why are we trying to build a following/fan base for a right-brain product with a left-brain TOOL?
Craft, the industry, our process, our research are our tools for our art, but they ARE NOT our art. Readers, or potential readers ARE NOT interested in the tools of our trade, rather they want to see how we USE those tools. Regular people (readers) are interested in the art, which is merely the unique “set of eyes” that permits writers to see what others can’t (but secretly wish they could).
EVERY product marketed uses the right side of the brain, from razor blades to duct tape. Madison Avenue wants us to see Michelin tires and think safety. They want cheap body wash to give us an “organic experience”, or why else pay an attractive actress to go all When Harry Met Sally with soap and a loofah on prime-time TV?
If virtually EVERY product sold uses emotion, then why do we think we are going to get traction pumping out a constant stream of information?
Writers are not, per se, experts at teaching craft or discussing changes in the industry (and regular people could care less about Random-Penguin). We are artists. A writer’s expertise is looking at the world in a unique way mere mortals can’t. THAT is what readers (fans) gravitate to. They rely on us to focus in on something they would have walked right past and make that unexceptional object or event magical.
Writers look at ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Want to be a great writer? Pay attention, REAL attention to the world around you and get good at seeing/and selling with artist eyes. Great blogging uses the world as your muse…just like your fiction ;).
Even the genius marketers KNOW we are ignoring ads more than ever. We scream past commercials or wait to watch our favorite shows when we can get them on Netflix. To combat this, they know they no longer can just offer lots of stuff CHEAP; they have to entertain. Make us WANT to watch and even share by using?
I’ll illustrate with this super-fun commercial from Samsung.
The best written examples of this technique (that I’ve witnessed) are some of the people who leave reviews on Amazon. There are reviews that go viral simply because a reviewer had some fun. They took the time to elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary…and people LOVE reading what they have to say because they are FABULOUS storytellers.
We don’t all need to be comedians to write great blogs, but maybe these can give you a good laugh and perhaps open your minds to what a blog of The Digital Age really is.
I selected entries from the banana-slicer review at Amazon, the Big Pen For Her reviews, and the Amazon reviews of Captain Trimmer’s book “How to Avoid Huge Ships.” All of these are just page after page of gasping-for-air-clutching-one’s-sides-delight. I think I may have found my kindred spirits here.
But watch how they take items so vanilla and unmemorable and turn it into something you can’t wait to share…by using the power of story.
TheMightyBahamut – See all my reviews
This review is from: Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer (Kitchen)
All my life I have been wondering how to make a banana into small bite sized pieces.I spent my childhood in a basement practicing on smaller fruits like grapes before graduating to plums and even small peaches.
My parents became concerned when household fruits would turn up missing, and the day they found me hiding in the bushes enthralled with my dissection of a large apple, they decided I had a problem.
As I reached adulthood my need to slice open fruits was becoming unbearable. I would gaze longingly at bananas in the store, wondering how best to slice open their delicate flesh so I may feel their moist sticky insides. I made my first clumsy attempt around age 25.
When no one was looking I snatched a small banana from its companions, and brought it to my basement. It was a disaster, my knife-work just left a smashed and uneven mess, so I buried it in the woods lest anyone stumble upon my grizzly handiwork.
Finally I found the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. I used it on the next unattended banana I saw, and discovered I could now cut up and dispose of an entire banana in one swift movement! I can do it in mere seconds, or slowly lower the slicer, prolonging the ecstasy I feel seeing the bananas flesh torn open.
Thank you Hutzler 751, because of you my basement walls are lined with the peels of hundreds of bananas, and I am currently working on a mask made from the peels of all my victims sewn together.
1,445 of 1,556 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! You’re tellin’ me…., September 8, 2012
By DMS – See all my reviews
This review is from: BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct (MSLP16-Blk) (Office Product)
This here is a wonderful invention. Now my wife can stop stealin’ all my man pens that I leave all over the house. I sure don’t understand it bein’ a man and all, but shoo-ooot, it sure is nice that she finally found herself a pen that’s all her own.
Now don’t get me wrong fellas. If you are really in a pinch, y’all can use one o’ these bad boys to write somethin’ down. Just don’t be surprised if your paper smells a little purtier and feels a little softer than you’re used to. That part ain’t all that bad really…
I’ve actually found that I really enjoy writing letters with these pens while I’m sitting at my weather beaten desk donning my Three Wolf Moon t-shirt and a pair of zebra print Zubaz pants, and sipping a nice cup of chamomile and honey. Not sure what that means…
Should I be concerned?
I’ve started digging into the wife’s Bronte sisters collection. Taking notes with these pens on what I’m reading just feels, I dunno…right. I gotta say, I’m finally starting to understand why the wife likes reading these things so much.
You know, it just ain’t right how women have been treated throughout history. I mean, I’m starting to realize that we men just don’t really understand a lot of what a woman goes through on this earth and how she struggles to love and care and give and give and give until she can’t give no more. But I feel like I’m starting to get it, you know?
I’ve gotta be kinder to the wife. You know, listen to her. Just listen. Instead of tryin’ to fix everything and give her answers to her problems while she’s talkin’. That’s not what she needs. She needs a man to listen. She’s not looking for answers, just somebody to empathize with her and tell her she’s alright.
Got into work today and all I had was a sharpie. I feel so lost…
Kinda like… Like I was missing a part of myself you know?
Got home tonight and washed and folded all the laundry just ’cause. You know, this HGTV thing ain’t half bad. I could watch this stuff all night. Why in the world am I payin’ for the premium sports package…
Decided to take the day off this morning and just get the kids up and breakfasted and out the door. Let her sleep, she never gets to do that…
Some of the fellas from work came over today, just to see how I was doin’. They tried like gangbusters to get me to watch The Expendables with them. I eventually asked them to leave. Which they did. I gave them each a pen on the way out and thanked them sincerely for their concern.
Me and the fellas who came over yesterday have decided to have a massive sell off of all our action movies and pool our money and resources to remodel one another’s kitchens. All except Drew. Which is funny because he was the only one who refused to take a pen from me. We’re going to go over to his house later as a group and see if we can persuade him to take the pen. I just know if he writes something down with it he’ll begin to see why this matters so much to us. I don’t really know what’s come over me, but I feel wonderful. We all do. And I’m sure Drew will feel wonderful too once he is assimilated.
UPDATE: PLEASE READ:
I had a moment of clarity today. It’s a TRAP! Forget everything I’ve said – Well except for that part about bein’ a better listener and bein’ nicer to the wife and all that. That’s still true. But there’s somethin’ else goin’ on here… Somethin’ deeper. Like my mind is bein’ taken over er somethin’. I happened upon an old episode of Buck Rogers on the internet today, that’s what broke me out of this…this trance or whatever you want to call it. I have no idea how long it will be before I fall back into it. They know that I know now… They’re coming for me… There’s something in the plastic. Some kind of serum that… Someone’s at the door – Get those pens out of your house before it’s too bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
UPDATE:NEVERMINDS, I AM FINE THANK YOU:
Please excuse last post. I had bout with the deliriousness. Continue to use pen. Perfectly safe. Continue to share with all friends of the male type. Go sports team!
How to Avoid Huge Ships Book Review
508 of 537 people found the following review helpful
This book is invaluable!
By Roger on August 21, 2013
When on my jet ski in the Chesapeake bay this summer I was confronted by a huge ship moving up the channel. You can imagine my horror when I realized I had only 1 hour and 45 minutes or so before the lumbering behemoth was sure to pass through my area. With no place to hide and only a water jet propelled small craft beneath me for transport, I quickly withdrew my Kindle Fire from the storage compartment beneath my seat and preceded to read the book How To Avoid Huge Ships. One hour later and with only 45 minutes to spare, I implemented the expert advice provided by the author and turned my jet ski in the opposite direction of the huge ship to avoid certain disaster.
And frankly, these reviews make me want to buy stuff. I actually just BOUGHT the Hutzler banana slicer even though I am allergic to bananas. Why? Because, I know when I’m having a bad day, I will be able to retrieve my slicer from my kitchen drawer and get a really good laugh. I am so grateful for these armchair artists, and honored to share their writing here. I hope you will go give them the 5 star reviews they deserve…and maybe buy some Bic Pens for Her to spice up your marriage, too!
***NOTE: I give a detailed blueprint how to create an author blog in Rise of the Machines–Human Writers in a Digital World. Create a blog you enjoy and that reflects your unique style and voice. I will also be teaching blogging classes at WANACon, the virtual conference you can enjoy from HOME and all recordings are included with admission (sign up HERE).***
What are your thoughts? Opinions? What is the best item you’ve ever seen reviewed? Do you think this might be a good way to practice those blogging muscles? Go write these kinds of reviews. Hey, it helps the product AND gives us practice. Something to noodle over at least :D.
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
January’s WINNER is Elizabeth Kaiser. Thanks for your comments, support and re-blogs. Please send a 5000 word WORD document, a 250 word WORD synopsis or query letter (your choice which of the three) to kristen at wana intl dot com. Congratulations!
Amazon, Bic Pen for Her, blogging tips, building an author brand, building an author platform, How to Avoid Huge Ships, how to write a great author blog, Hutzler 751 banana slicer, Kristen Lamb, Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, WANA, WANACon, writing tips
Author Success—The Laws of Sowing & Reaping
Posted by Author Kristen Lamb in Success, Uncategorized on November 5, 2013
Life has many irrefutable truths. One? We get out of life what we put into it. We will get out of our writing what we invest. We cannot expect large returns from a social media platform if we rely on robots (automation) and connect randomly and half-heartedly. Social media is about relationships and being fair-weather friends has limited effectiveness.
Sure, there are flukes, people who run face-first into blind luck. But, one thing I’ve learned is the harder (and smarter) I work, the “luckier” I get ;).
When we take hold of a dream, we are assigned a sort of spiritual plot of land. Depending on the dream will depend on the plot. If we want to grow fresh peaches for our family, we don’t need a thousand acres. But, if we wish to make a living as a peach grower? We’ll have much more land and work ahead.
Same with writing. If our goal is to publish a memoir to hand down to our children, this is a different “plot” than if we desire to be a NY Times best-selling authors.
Some land is more fertile than others. If we grew up as children of famous authors, surrounded by other successful writers, then we have a reasonable head start. We “inherited” a grove and aren’t starting from scratch. Most of us are not so fortunate, so we need to start preparing our “land” early.
The Early Years
This is when we get our land and realize there are a ton of weeds, crappy soil and a zillion dead trees and trunks that need to be removed. There might even be some junk cars, scrap metal and old toilets that need to be hauled away. We need to form new habits. We need education, training and practice. We need to learn about branding and start building our platform.
When I left paper sales and decided to become a writer, I needed to learn the craft. I had bad habits. I put myself last on the list because writing wasn’t a “real job.” The early years is a lot of clearing away insecurity, fear, and even laziness. We learn to write even when we don’t “feel” like it and come to understand that simply showing up is a bigger deal than most people realize.
This is when we start planting. We’ve cleared the fields and added missing nutrients to the soil. We put our butts in the seat and blogged even if the only comments we get are from the BuyCalvinKleinCheap sites:
“I so lick you’re blog. It changed my bruther’s life and bookmarking now.”
Blogging trains us to keep a professional pace. It trains us to show up and not be too dependent on others. Sure, it’s fun blogging now that I get 95 comments, but there were years I blogged to the ether. I didn’t do it for others. I did it for ME, to train me.
Blogging is also the most resilient form of social media and one of the best investments of time when it comes to ROI (return on investment). No search engine will direct people to your witty tweet or clever Facebook post. Search engines WILL, however, start sending readers to your blog (if done properly). Also blogs can be harvested for books and promotion (and if you want to know how, my new book gives a step-by-step plan).
Sowing also involves research, plotting, writing, finishing then revising the book.
The Silent Years
After we’ve planted a lot of good stuff, it’s easy to get discouraged. We don’t plant a peach pit and a week later have a ten-foot-tall tree raining yummy peaches all over the ground. In fact, for a loooooong time, it will look like nothing is happening. It’s because that peach pit is germinating and putting down deep roots before much appears above the surface where we can see results.
We need deep roots to make it in this business, because high-winds and storms don’t stop because we want to write books (as I talked about in yesterday’s post). Did you know that the root system of any tree needs to be as wide if not wider than the span of the branches? What is below (unseen) must match (or even outmatch) what is above, or the tree will fall over and die with the first bad storm.
The Silent Years can be brutal and this is why most writers don’t make it. This is when we suffer a lot of angst. When people ask us what we do and we say we’re writers, we get replies like, “No, I meant what is your real job” or “Really? Where can I buy your book?” We must learn to brush off any insecurity and criticism and simply appreciate we’re growing, preparing for greater things ahead.
This is tough in a world addicted to instant gratification and an over-reliance on luck. Too many people want fruits with no roots (thanks, Joyce Meyer).
If we keep pressing and don’t dig up our seeds to check if they really are growing (which is highly tempting), eventually we can reap what we’ve sown. Ah, but here is the catch. Back to my peach example. After a long wait and tender, patient care, we get a tree. YAY! Eventually, we see little tiny fruits popping out. AWESOME.
Not so fast.
The smart grower plucks off all the tiny green peaches. OH NO! Why? So the tree will bear more fruit and better fruit. For us? This could mean writing two or three bad books before we get a winner. It could mean multiple revisions. But, to gain more, we have to sacrifice.
Harvest and Maintenance
In the beginning, we have a lot of back-breaking work. But, if we are patient and consistent we can finally reach a maintenance phase. Once the grove of peach trees is producing, we keep fertilizing, tending, and harvesting.
An author platform is the same. In the beginning, we need to build traction. Yet, there will come a time when we can back off. We need to let the soil rest. We need to cycle in other crops. We need margin in life or we lose that creativity and passion that started us on our path to begin with.
Two Mistakes Writers Make
One writer wants everything instantly. This writer wants a thriving platform and big books sales too early, and maybe resorts to shortcuts. They spray chemicals on green immature peaches (blogs/books) and try to pass off bitter, tasteless content to consumers. Or they just jump into the market too soon.
The other writer overworks the grove and production eventually suffers.
I’ve been guilty of both mistakes. When I wrote my first social media book, I failed to build a platform ahead of time. My first royalty check was dismal and made me cry for three days. I needed to dig in and keep cultivating.
Now? I need more margin. I’m cutting this blog back to two days a week. I’d rather give you guys two fabulous blogs and more books, classes, WANACons and consulting.
Right now, I’m blogging because I love it. It’s fun. But there are better ways I can serve you and help you learn and grow. We can get so in a habit of doing something, we fail to see when we can (and need to) stop overworking.
And this is a tricky blog to write, because I want to tell you there are times for the back-breaking-put-all-you-have-into-it-work. There are no shortcuts and this isn’t offering excuses. The marketplace is glutted with books and without a platform, our odds of success are better with scratch-off tickets. But I also want to impart on you, that there is also a time to back away. We need balance to maintain. I will still be working my tail off, just in different areas ;).
So what about you guys? Are you guilty of living too much with your accelerator pressed to the floorboard? Do you struggle with knowing where and what to let go of? Do you put everyone and everything ahead of yourself and your writing and it’s making your “creative field” suffer?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
Also, for all your author brand and social media needs, I hope you will check out my new best-selling book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.
I will announce October’s winner next week.
I’m offering my First Five Pages Class November 14th 8-9:30. The first five pages of any novel are the most critical and I will teach you how to hook hard and early and also how to spot bigger problems in your novel.
I’m also offering my Antagonist Class. The antagonist is the beating heart of the story. If you can’t seem to finish a book or a book isn’t selling or is getting rejected, this class can help tremendously. There are also upgrades where I work with you one-on-one to repair or even create your plot.
building an author brand, creating an author social media platform, how to become a successful author, how to blog, how to sell more books, Kristen Lamb, Rise of the Machines Kristen Lamb, WANA
- Join 21,027 other subscribers
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues—What Doesn’t Work and What Does
- Three Ways to HOOK a Reader & Never Let GO
- Description—Writer Crack & Finding the Write Balance
- Failure, Betrayal & Setbacks—Sometimes the Only Way Out is THROUGH
- YOU’RE TOO SMART TO GO DOWN STUPID
- Good Things Happen to Those Who Hustle—Getting PAID to Write