Hello fellow writers,
Today, in a way, i'm talking about pride and stubbornness and the curses that they are, drawing from a mistake I made for a long time and the lesson I learned only recently.
I'm 43. I worked in a corporate environment for a long time; a place where every telephone conversation was target driven and every face to face, even with colleagues, was an opportunity to establish my value to the company by demonstrating superior ingenuity and unquestionable self confidence. Where I worked, sharing advice was strength, asking for help was seen as weakness (I believed).
I left that environment three years ago, in a storm of confusion, frustration and denial. Thankfully, I was already determined to apply my life long fiction writing experience to producing and publishing a horror novel (Still one of the best decisions I ever made), unfortunately, after two months, things weren't going as expected and I was running out of ideas. Keeping going still wasn't working. What could I do?
The mistake I made - was believing that the stuff I've written above, about the competition between peers in the workplace, was true and equally applicable to the online community. I strode out into the self publishing arena with my chest puffed up and my brightly coloured tail fanned out for all to see, full of ideas about how things should be done and how I was going to be best.
Imagine how I felt when nobody looked and nobody looked, no matter how much I told them how brilliant I am. You'll maybe understand then, why, when people finally started looking, I bombarded them with information about my book and how great it is (it is great, but that's beside the point), and how deflated I felt when, despite everything I'd read about online marketing and the time things take, deep down I still expected to have seen more sales than I had. You might not believe how close I was to giving up.
I was so close, I had no choice, i dropped my guard and asked for help. What happened next blew my mind... An online group of friends, people I felt I had competition with, came to my aid with genuine advice, encouragement and tales of similar experiences, reinstating my understanding of timescale, resetting my resolve and sharing invaluable views, resources and practices. I can't over emphasise how understanding and helpful they were.
The lessons I learned - Don't be afraid to ask for help from fellow writers. They are no more in competition with you than a person selling red paint, while you're selling blue paint. Some people like red, some like blue, but there's no reason why you can't both make a living off of paint. Share your successes and frustrations, give advice when you have it and take advice graciously. It's fine to admit that you are struggling. They've all struggled.
And the other thing is that friends on social media, which ever platform, should be treated as friends and nothing more. Be genuine and honest with them. Share things you believe in; things that have been of value to you and may well be of value to others. If you write a blog about something that's important to you, and is relevant to the group, share that too.
Become part of a community, or many, that share an interest with you, that you benefit from being a part of in terms of how much you enjoy interacting with them. And if people have helped in the production of your book, tell them when you release it, once or twice, as you would a real world friend or group. Let them share with the people, who share with their friends who talk to their workmates who'll do the selling for you.
Thanks for reading & keep writing.