Building a following is one of the hardest things authors have to do when starting out. I've only been in the indie publishing world for a couple of years, so I know there's still a long way to go. I learn something new every day. My mentor even stresses that we should do (at minimum) one thing every day to promote our ___ (book/brand/business).
At first, it can be overwhelming. What should you post? How often should you post? Which hashtags should you use? Why are your views so low? These questions can make you want to give up. Believe me, that's normal. That's why author groups and book groups (aka BookTok) are so important. You'd be surprised how many people often feel the same way as you. Belonging to a community, whether it be to discuss books or sell books, helps give you purpose when pursuing your dreams.
Do I want my books to go viral? Of course. I believe every author does. No matter how supportive and genuinely happy you are, there will be a tad bit of jealousy that creeps in when you see an author make it big on social media.
Take my blog for instance. I think I get 0-3 reads per post. I've often wondered if I should quit blogging. After all, if no one is reading it, why am I writing it? It's because one day, I could gain more readers. I could write lots more books, and these posts are my way to speaking to the world. These blog posts share my excitement, joy, anxiety, frustration, and sadness that goes into being an indie writer. Believe me, every view, book review, and follower on social media matters.
I guess I said all of that to lead up to what's really been on my mind. I've lost an important person in my life this past week. During her funeral, I got up to say a few words and cried so hard thinking about her being gone. I probably made some ugly crying faces up there, but I was so glad I did it. As nervous as I felt walking up to talk, hearing everyone tell me afterwards how beautiful my speech was made it all worth it. Most authors I know tend to be on the shy/anxious side and sharing our work is difficult because we want everyone to like it. We know it's impossible to please everything, yet it's our dream all the same. This beautiful woman who passed away left behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten in our family. It got me thinking what kind of legacy I'll leave behind. As scary as it is to publish, I want to continue writing books, because they bring me joy. I want to keep writing in my blog, because I love the casual environment and chance to connect with my readers.
I love to write, and so that's what I'll continue to do, even if I never become a "best-seller". Every copy sold, and every word read counts. Someone out there is looking for my story and I can't disappoint them. I can't let them down (or myself).
Tell me...why do you write?
Mary S. Catlin is a proud wife, mother of two, and teacher. When she is not writing, or working, she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, reading, and overthinking things.