Nonfiction Authors: Let’s Get Real – Most authors know that building a platform (an audience) is critical to their success. And in today’s world, that means you have to have an online presence through social media as well as a website and email list.
Yet becoming visible is an uphill battle. We tend to follow every guru we discover, attend as many webinars as possible, and try every tactic known to man.
And before we know it, we’re overwhelmed and confused.
Despite all of this chaos, maybe we’ve begun to attract a small following. Suddenly, we realize that these people think that we are gurus. So, we have to act like one, right?
This often leads us to become prideful. Maybe we do know more about a certain topic than the people on our lists, based on our work experience and length of time in the field.
But the fact is, we don’t know everything.
It’s Time to Get Real
For some time now, God has been laying it on my heart to get real. To stop pretending to know all the answers. To stop acting like I have it all together.
But I’ve been afraid.
Afraid to lose the few yet wonderful followers that I have.
Afraid to share my limitations and mistakes.
Afraid to be vulnerable.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Pride comes before the fall”? It’s true.
It’s made me realize that even though I’ve professed for fifteen years to be a Christian, I haven’t surrendered everything to Christ. The one thing I’ve held the most tightly to has been my business.
I’ve followed these mantras:
- If I just work harder, I’ll be successful
- If I just improve my website and landing page, every visitor will sign up for my free offer
- If I write a weekly blog post, I’ll suddenly be discovered by Google and be found in more searches
- If I post at least 10 times a day on social media, people will begin to comment on my posts and follow me
- If I just pay a little bit more for Facebook Ads, I’ll finally gain hundreds of followers
- If, if, if…
Overwhelm. Frustration. No Google discoveries. Hundreds of visitors to my site, but fewer than a dozen signups. Money spent on Facebook Ads that only attracted a handful of followers. Not enough income to even come close to covering the bills.
Now, I have always been a bit of a slow learner (especially when it comes to math). You would think that I would have learned a long time ago that the easiest route isn’t always the best route. That the simple fixes tend to cause the most damage. That focusing on myself repels others.
But it wasn’t until my business stagnated despite my Herculean efforts and my personal life experienced challenge after challenge that God prompted me to analyze my heart. I had become so focused on proving to everyone (including myself) that I could be successful as a nonfiction author and book coach, that I lost my focus on what truly matters: putting others first.
This led me to begin contemplating how I should proceed with my business and this time, I prayed about it. A need to share what God was doing in my life and a desire to encourage and support other nonfiction authors was revealed.
But how exactly am I to accomplish these goals?
I’m still not 100% sure, but last night, I signed up to receive Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. Guess what today’s word was?
As the dictionary defines it:
- to cut or fell with blows (as of an ax)
- to give form or shape to with, or as if with, an ax
Yep, I realized I need to hew my business.
Then I wondered, what am I supposed to cut away?
About an hour later, I received an email from Danny Iny of Mirasee with the subject line, “What do YOU believe?”
Wow. Well. That was the one area I was still trying to avoid in my business.
Oh, sure, I’ve stood in front of audiences for the past year stating how important it is to share your beliefs and values with others, yet I’ve shied away from doing that very thing.
Writing about God in this post, for example, has been a true test of my faith as I know how divisive Christianity can be in today’s world.
In addition, my entire business has been built around the importance of life story. Yet I’ve been afraid to write my own.
Instead of cutting away from my business, I realize I’m to reshape it.
Think Beyond Self
It’s time for me to get real.
To start writing my own story.
Not out of pride, but out of humbleness for all that God has brought me through. And to be better able to help you write your own books.
Yes, I have been gifted with the ability to ghostwrite the stories of others and edit books so that they flow and make sense. Yes, I have experience in the self-publishing industry that will help you design and print your book.
But now it’s time for me to also relate to you as a fellow vulnerable writer.
My focus shouldn’t be on building my brand or attaining a certain number of subscribers or having a social media post go viral. It should simply be to help other nonfiction authors. To help you.
I’m still figuring out my next steps, but in the meantime, let me conclude by asking you for suggestions. How can I help you? Please share in the comments.
If community, accountability and opportunity are things you crave as a nonfiction author, I invite you to join the free Facebook group, Ink & Impact (the same name I’ve used to re-brand this blog).
We all have important books to write; stories that will positively impact others. Let’s do it together.