Getting down to business…

c.e. grundler

This post marks a turning point. As of today, I am now a full-time writer. No longer will writing be relegated to whatever hours I can salvage from the rest of my day. I managed to write an entire book that way, but it was a matter of constant, exhausting perseverance. I’ve been moving towards this gradually for years and though recent events put things on fast-forward, ultimately this was long overdue. And now, at last, it’s time to really get down to the business of writing.

Writing is about more than simply putting some sentences in a presentable order, and it’s more than getting from ‘Page One’ to ‘The End.’ Writing is about reaching readers – in every sense of the word. It’s about creating something that resonates with an audience in a way that entertains, informs or enlightens. But to achieve that, one must actually reach readers.  If no one’s ever heard of you and your writing, it doesn’t matter how brilliant or suspenseful or moving a story might be. If no one’s reading it then you’ve hit a dead end.

lonely minion

I’m happy to say that Last Exit In New Jersey has been selling steadily despite my random and limited attempts at marketing. I’ve been fortunate, a few review blogs featured my book and their remarks were wonderful, which had the happy effect of attracting readers. A number of these kind readers then went on to post glowing reviews of their own or mention my book in discussion forums, fueling sales even further. Still, my rankings weren’t as high as I would have hoped, and they were clearly lower than some books I’d seen with less than flattering reviews.  But why? Was this simply a case of anti-Jersey bias, was there something I was doing wrong… or something these other authors were doing right? A little research revealed one constant for each of these authors: they maintained a strong online presence. They were blogging, on Facebook, on Twitter. More surprisingly, most of them weren’t even mentioning their own books! They were simply out there, interacting with readers and other authors.

Although I’ve blogged for years, when it came to these social platforms I had no idea where to begin. Time was a limited commodity and I needed a way to get up to speed fast. A few books I found focused on social networking as merely new platform to throw the traditional “buy this widget” approach at the masses. Books aren’t widgets. Books are thoughts and ideas. There had to be another way… and then I found Kristen Lamb’s “We Are Not Alone.”

For a social-media introvert, Kristen Lamb’s book provided me priceless guidance I needed. Kristen shows the hows and whys of marketing in a light-hearted, often laugh-out-loud manner that makes her lessons a delight. These days a social presence is essential, but the type of image you project is equally as vital. Kristen leads you through the steps needed to properly brand yourself. (And if you don’t know what that means, all the more reason to read this book.) For any writer trying to reach readers, her book is a must-read and one I highly recommend. Trust me, it will be money well-spent. And above and beyond her book, her blog offers regular installments of insight, guidance and humor. And the best part, in my opinion, is that her entire philosophy is based upon the concept of the more we reach out, the more we help one another, (her barn-raising analogy the other day says it perfectly) the more we all benefit. It’s such a positive, uplifting approach, one that rewards you with new friendships and connections even as you reach new readers and gain fans.

I read We Are Not Alone nearly a month ago and I had been meaning to post a review sooner, but time constraints and a cranky computer delayed me until now. With my new schedule I’ll be able to devote more time to applying all I’ve learned (and continue to learn) from Kristen. Some of you may have noticed subtle changes in my blog and an increased frequency of posts. You can reach me and follow me now on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. And I’m reaching out to others, making new friends, and loving every minute of it. While writing itself may be a very solitary process, being a writer doesn’t have to be. We truly are not alone!

minions

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10 responses to “Getting down to business…

  1. Author Kristen Lamb

    wow! I have tears. You so ROCK. And I DIG the minions. BRILLIANT! I am stealing that. Fair warning.

    I wish you all the best and look forward to helping you with your future success.

    Hugs!

    • I’m glad you liked the post. It’s only fair, considering how much I’ve enjoyed your posts and WANA, and how much they have taught me. I’ve been meaning to write this for weeks now, but I had a lot I wanted to say; as today approached it seemed like the perfect time. And now I’ll be able to sign up for some of your workshops. I’ll also be posting a review of WANA on Amazon and Goodreads. And yes, steal those minions! LOL!

  2. Here’s something to give you encouragement. Or false hope. Whichever spins your prop.

    http://tinyurl.com/4zannkz

  3. Congrats! 🙂

  4. Seaver, I’ve been following Amanda Hocking’s rise with both envy and hope. Yes, she is a beacon and a wonderful example that it can, indeed, be done. And she’s not alone though she is a wonderful example of how this equation can work. I’m sure in her case it helps that she writes in a very popular genre but much of her success is due to her ability to reach fans not only in her writing but in networking. There is a new formula to writing success these days, and it has moved beyond the traditional structures.

  5. Hi C.E. I second everything you said about Kristen Lamb, her blog, and her book. I thought Blog was second cousin to the Creature from the Black Lagoon until I met Kristen. I’m sure she’s cut at least ten years off my learning curve. Thanks for your review. I just followed you on Twitter and Facebook.

  6. Piper, nice to meet you. And if Kristen is to blame for your brilliantly twisted (and I mean that in the best of ways) blogging, that’s one more thing I can thank her for… but I’ve got to stop reading or I’ll never get anything done!

  7. I too am a Kristen Lamb follower. I never knew that as a writer helping others is the key to helping ourselves. And she gives us practical ways to do it. Congratulations on a being a full-time writer! Thanks for a great review.

    • Hi Grace! Yes, I’m amazed just how much Kristen has opened my eyes. She’s given me the confidence to go forward with writing full-time, knowing this can work. She’s such a wonderful inspiration and I was surprised how few reviews she has for WANA. Reader reviews have been such a help to me; I wanted to play that forward.

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