It’s already been done. Everything seems to be all been there done that now.
Breaking into the romance writing genre market seemed easy enough when I started, oh twenty years ago . . . fast forward past getting married, having children and starting a child care business . . . to my more recent kick at the can.
What the Hell happened!? Everything changed!
Gone were newsletters mail outs, printed manuscripts, and letters to editors, replaced with email lists, blog subscriptions and author platforms. But, hey, I’ve been reading romance novels since high school, writing them since college, basically loving and indulging all things romance and writing my whole life. Finding a place in this new online romance community should not be that hard, right? I waded in and read how to e-books and articles, listened to podcasts and followed Youtubers, I read reviews and got myself in tune with how the indie and e-book publishing world was exploding. I took in and absorbed everything out there.
AND THEN IT HAPPENED.
I started to do it. Build a platform and they will come, right? Wrong.
Still I pressed on. I looked deeper into the how tos, how not to dos, the what’s what, and the where to go nows. Twitter, Youtube, Kindle groups, Audiobook chats, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – you name it, and I was there. But to my dismay, they were all packed, and I mean jam-packed with people who had done it all. Every new idea I thought of had ten people doing it already. I felt like a field mouse trying to get through rush hour traffic on the freeway.
Everything had been done, created and thoroughly well used. There was nothing left to create or even build upon—everyone was building something somewhere while the rest of the people swarmed in to enjoy. Seemed there wasn’t even an inch to wedge myself into.
As an introvert, all I wanted was to find some little space to quietly enjoy—maybe bring in a new idea or two, some little thing to build upon, but I couldn’t even do that. Find my own space in that kind of madness? Ah, no.
Yet I still wanted to find my online tribe.
So, what did I do? What do I suggest you do if you’re in the same situation?
Sit down and sort out all the information you have. Then decide what works for you. What you like. What you enjoy. Which social media platform to do you open first and keep returning to? That’s the one you stick with.
Build a web page or blog and fill it with the stuff you like. There a plenty of people out there who like the same things you do. And once you find them, they will come. There is a big temptation to want to build your community based on only what you think your future audience will want. Don’t do it, especially if you haven’t published your book yet. Take it from me, the gal who made the mistake, you shouldn’t write blog posts based on a book you plan to write in the future. Stay with what you know and love. It will carry you into the future.
Build your social media with idea that, if you never ever published a book, would you keep interacting? Would you keep writing blog posts? Would you still participate in your groups? Find and build a community that isn’t based solely on your books. Go into blogging and building your website and social media for the long haul. Connect with and interact with things you love and know you’ll keep doing.
Make your blog or website somewhere you want to be. If you don’t like going to your page to read the stuff, why would anyone else? I made my blog a place that I like to go to. Invariably there are a lot of people out there that like the same stuff that I do. Make it space you want to be in.
Aggregate the things you like to your page.
Listen to the experts and learn from both their mistakes and successes. And by experts I mean the people who have gone before you, tried things out and have sound advice to leave behind. Joanne Penn is my online podcast mentor. She doesn’t know it, but she has opened my eyes and influenced me toward indie publishing since the first day in 2012 I found and listened to her Creative Penn podcast on iTunes.
Once you sort through the madness, you can build a plan to create your space. Find your target your audience (the people who are interested and like the same things as you) and interact with them.
Time to shape your own tribe.