Friday, February 27, 2015

Should Writers by an Open Book?

Should Writers be an Open Book?

Yes, you should be an open book at least to a certain point. Why? Because your readers want to get to know you, know your background and where you live and more.
         My first book, Seasons of the Soul, includes a spattering of personal accounts of my two different autistic sons. At book signings, people would approach me and express empathy for my situation, purchasing this book because of my handicapped children or the book’s uplifting message. Some individuals would say: “God gives special children to special people.” I smiled and thanked them. Expressions, such as these, warmed my heart. However, there also were those who thought they could get my nonverbal son to talk if only they spent 30 minutes with him. Again, I would smile and say thanks, even though I knew that was impossible.
         Readers want to form a bond with you. Think about why you purchase books. I buy many because I know the author either as a friend, an acquaintance or as a member of a writing group.
         Bonding is important and you can establish this in many ways. I know this since I sell my books personally so I meet buyers, and they will state the reason they are purchasing the book(s). Some read an article about me or bought my first book so purchased my newest release. But what do you do if you never or seldom do these kinds of events?
         Forums and social media are good avenues. Ruth Ann Nordin is good at this but I never have participated in one. Of course, I do social media because you must in this era, and you need to get acquainted with your followers as much as possible.
Patrons love meeting the authors they love, and we should return our love through special gifts for our loyal customers, friends and former and current co-workers. Recently, I sent someone a special token, a Seasons of the Soul journal, for purchasing my latest releases, Courtships and Carriages, Bride by Arrangement and Lockets and Lanterns. In addition, I inserted a personal note. No matter what they say about the Internet nothing is more valuable than a “handwritten note.”
         Readers also like to know something about your background, such as where you live. Several years ago, I was selling my first book in a town about 50 minutes from where I live. One person saw me there and bought my book since I live in the same town she spent her childhood. However, do not tell everything about yourself.
         I gave out too much data about myself when I started out. Most people are wonderful, but some will take advantage of you, such as “potential” writers. I have this book I want to write, they would say. Could you help me with it? They would ask. If you agree to assist them, remember your own work will suffer. It is better to connect them with critique groups and more so you can spend more time doing what is beneficial to you. However, this does not mean you should refuse every one of these just be wise about them.
         Also, do not provide too much information about yourself on the Internet. You do need to interact and get to know your followers, but I suggest not getting too personal with posts, such as printing your family’s names. We need to be cautious rather than regret it later.
         Do make comments on authors/readers’ blogs, Facebook pages, etc. This shows you find their posts important and care about them. However, do not go overboard or you will not be able to do your own work.
         So be an open book, but remember you need to watch telling everything about yourself and overdoing others’ wishes. Well, I hope this information has been useful and as always I will end with a God bless.