In recent episodes of this podcast, I've encouraged you to stop thinking about social media as being just about growing how many followers you have. But today I want to talk about the opposite: why having followers on social media can matter to your goals as a writer. The context I’m talking about here is why could it possibly matter that you have 100, or 1,000, or 10,000 followers on a specific social media channel? What is the actual value in doing so, beyond just “big numbers are impressive?”
I have seen so much discussion recently about social media and email newsletters. Today, I want to encourage something critical: Focus on your goals as a writer and the experiences you want to have with readers. I worry that focusing too much on what each social network provides (the trends, the algorithms, etc.), has us ignoring our own creative vision. And in the process, ignoring the moments that truly matter in living your life as someone who writes, who reads, and who is in conversation with others who write and read.
I am often in conversation with writers and creators about their mixed feelings about social media, or their downright dislike of it. In some ways, it feels like we are at a crossroads with social media. Relying on it for some important things, constantly distracted by it, and repulsed by it for different reasons. Today, I want to talk about social media as a tool, and how you can consider if and how you use it.
Many writers I speak with are surprised at how difficult it can be to get reviews for their books — even from friends, family, or colleagues. Today I want to talk about some reasons why that might be, and I’ll share advice on how you can get more reviews.
I was speaking with a writer recently who shared a question someone asked them. You see, this writer is embarking on a new phase of her life where she wants to write fiction and creative nonfiction. Her friend asked: “If you were going to do something with your writing, wouldn’t you have done it already?” Of course, this kind of question can be deflating for a writer or creator. Today I want to explore why those close to you may not support your creative goals, and how I would respond to that question.
I recently rewatched the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window. I can’t help but feel as though it is a lens into the challenges that writers face in navigating social media. Today I want to talk about how the movie is a metaphor for these challenges.
As a writer or creator, I’m sure you have read that you should connect directly with your potential readers on social media, a newsletter, and elsewhere online. And when you ask “Um, what exactly do I share? How — specifically — do I do this?” You may have heard the advice of: “Just be authentic!” But that isn’t as easy as it sounds. So today I want to talk about what it means to share your work, how “authenticity” works, when it becomes ridiculously complicated, and how you can approach all of this as a craft that feels safe and meaningful.
There are many writers and creators who think that marketing is the act of getting in someone’s way. Of tricking someone to subscribe to a newsletter by giving them a freebie; using a hashtag to game the social media algorithm to share your work; or posting a random meme to social media to get any kind of attention for your book. But the opposite is what is true. Great marketing is giving people something that they want to be a part of, and that they want to share with others.
Isn’t it enough just to create a great book or work of art? Why would a writer ever have to feel responsible for marketing their own book? Shouldn’t that be the job of the publisher? Let’s dig into this topic.
Regardless of the publishing path you choose, I encourage you to prepare your author platform for sharing your writing or publishing a book way before you think you need it. Like, years before. Today I want to talk about why that is.
Are a writer or creator who feels that you one day want your work to be read/seen? Or you worry you just don’t have the network — the access — to others who create, who engage your ideal readers, and to your ideal readers themselves? Then I want to tell you about this truly incredible resource you have. It’s a power that I find many people (myself included) under-utilize. It’s this: Be generous. I know this sounds vague and trite, but today I want to talk about the value of generosity in growing your platform and career as a writer or creator.
Today I want to talk about the anxiety we feel when we share. So much of the work that I do is to help writers feel a sense of purpose and strategy in sharing their books, their writing, and their mission. But there are often hidden emotions and psychology which stops us from sharing, delays us from sharing, and makes us feel bad about sharing. That’s not good. I believe sharing helps your writing and art change people’s lives for the better. So I want to address the anxiety head on, because anxiety tends to thrive in silence.
Author Fleur Bradley shared this recently: “I would say I have at least 1,000 rejections, though I stopped counting long ago." Today I want to talk about why rejection is a common part of the creative journey, and how that should empower you to choose your own path. I'll also talk about the nature of compromise as it relates to our art!
Boundaries actually make better art, and help you get better at sharing what you create. We all have boundaries. We all have preferences that feel like they are rules set in stone. The one I run into most often is this: “I have a hard time sharing because I’m an introvert. Marketing just isn’t for me.” Today I want to discuss the value of embracing your creative boundaries.
I’ve asked this question to writers many many times: “Would you prefer people you know buy your book, or strangers.” Their face lights up with unquestioning certainty: “STRANGERS!” But what I often find is that to build momentum in how your creative work is shared, it starts with those you already have a connection with. Today I want to explore why.
Instead of just recommending a book here and there, instead of just doing a #FollowFriday on Twitter, instead of just linking to someone, what if you gushed about them? What if you celebrated them in a big way? What if you honored what they create? What if you took on the role of someone who shares with ridiculous generosity? Today I explore the power of generosity in your platform.
Today I want to discuss two strategies for effectively marketing your writing that may seem to conflict with each other. Yet, both are essential. Here they are: #1 Consistency Matters. #2 Delight and Surprise Your Audience.
1. Proximity Matters
2. Focus on Conversion
3. Understand The Marketing Funnel
4. Double Down
Growing up, Corie Adjmi was always experimenting with creativity, but grew up in a house full of athletes: “In the bookcase in my house, there were very few books, but a lot of trophies. But they always gave me the opportunity to take classes.”
That support translated into a life of dance, art, and then... writing. In this conversation, Corie shares her journey to her life as an author. Plus, how she describes her ethos for her book launch: “This is fun! How can I be creative in showing people my book, and sharing what’s inside, and what kind of great conversations can we have? And it has been amazing, a really busy two years."
Many writers and artists who consider how others will find their work look to the common channels: social media, email newsletters, and the like. But right away, they are confronted with challenges: “Um what do I share? And how often do I have to do that? And why will anyone care? And… shouldn’t I be just writing my next book instead of worrying about all this?” So today I want to talk about the value of developing a system for how you share. Does “system” sound icky? Like a thing that will trap you? It isn’t. It will set you and your creativity free.
I'm so excited to welcome author Mary Laura Philpott onto the podcast. We discuss how she developed her career as a writer, transitioned from a traditional job office job to freelance work, and how she got her first big bylines in major publications. She tells the amazing story of how a sharing on social media lead to her first book deal, and how she got her agent. We also discuss her new book, Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives.
Have you struggled to develop the platform you want as a writer? I encourage you to hone the most powerful tool in your entire presence as a writer: Defining your voice. Embracing your voice. Sharing your voice.
Today I want to share a case study of the work I did with author and artist Meera Lee Patel. She is the author of four books which have sold more than a million copies in total. She has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram, and a thriving career as an artist and writer. I share the process we went through to focus on shifting her creative identity, finding confidence in sharing her voice, creating authenticity in outreach, and having a clear plan for what she shares.