This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
As a writer your skill lies in writing and crafting words on paper (or at least virtual paper), but to be a modern author you have to do more than that. Despite the fact that you might be in a pit of despair, wondering if your work is good enough, you have to build an author platform and be as confident as you can be about your work.
I’m sure there are author recluses that still exist in their little silos, *scratches head and tries to think of some*, but far more common now is the author that wears many hats: writer, marketeer, Facebook friend to strangers all around the globe. And it goes for aspiring authors too. If you manage to attract the attention of an agent or a publisher, then I’d imagine that they’d look at your presence online, making it ever more important to dedicate time to building your profile as well as writing.
If you’re serious about writing rather than doing it as a hobby, then you’ve got to almost treat it like a business. I still review the occasional book for a book site, so I get many weird and wonderful emails from authors wanting to have their books reviewed. I recently received one from a self-published author’s husband (and that’s not the first time it’s happened). I know it can seem daunting and scary to approach someone and ask them for a review, but getting someone close to you to do it is pretty much on a par with writing, in a letter to an agent, that your mum loved your book. I’m sure you wouldn’t send someone else to apply for a job for you, so why would you when you’re trying to sell yourself and your books? If you’re not taking yourself seriously as an author – then who else is going to?
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Years and years ago, I was applying for jobs in the US where I had to do phone interviews. I remember the first interview going really badly. My step-dad suggested that for the next one I dressed for an interview, rather than wearing a baggy hoodie and jeans, as it might make me feel more in work mode. The next one I had didn’t land me the job, but I got to the third round of interviews and made it to the final two candidates. It taught me a valuable lesson; that how you dress or how you act can have a big impact on how you come across. And this is the same when selling yourself and your books. I’m not saying you have to power dress when you email or social network, but you’ve got to ooze some confidence.
Recently, I read some really good advice for authors. It was more in the context of actual networking rather than virtual networking, but I think it applies just as much, and that’s to put on an act. I’m not talking about being a fake person and create yourself a new flamboyant personality, but think of your virtual self as a character, who just happens to be like you, just with a little bit more confidence. I have to say it really does work as you feel like you’re writing a character in one of your books and makes you feel less self-conscious if you’re a bit shy.
Have you struggled with self-confidence when building an author platform? Do you have any tips for aspiring authors that want to build a platform and don’t know how they should approach it?