Invest in Your Dreams: My Experience at IndieAuthorCon 2017
Being an author isn’t only about the beautiful words you type on a page and bound in a book. Being an author involves leaving the comfort zone of your desk, getting from behind the screen and interacting with your readers. I’ve been writing words and bounding books for years now, but to truly live my dream of one day being a full-time author I need to begin the next chapter of this author journey and learn how to get in front of my fans and build a loyal, read every word I write fan base. A fan that wants to have open dialogue with me about my characters and those who stay up late getting in that last word on the last page of my latest novel.
This weekend I traveled up the horrid 95 North, to the city of Brotherly Love to attend the first ever Book Baby Indie Author Conference. The conference agenda and nearby location made it the perfect way for me to step out there and mingle with my fellow indies; to gain some invaluable information about my career as an author.
So what did I learn? Maybe it’s the way my brain is wired, but the most valuable lessons were those that motivated me as an author. Affirmations that made me want to create an ever-growing list of tasks and tips to help me build my tribe.
Stop waiting to be chosen. Choose yourself. Although self-publishing is not as frowned upon as it was years ago, it’s still difficult to say the words, “Hello, I’m a self-published author.” Needing that validation from the market or from other traditionally published authors is always something nagging at the back of my head. But for what? If my readers love what I write, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
Always remember for whom you're writing. I’ve received bad reviews from people who did not connect with my story. But when I review the other books they’ve read, I’d suspect they wouldn’t want to read my story. When I was writing the book, I didn’t have them in mind. I want my readers to have insomnia while finishing my books. I shouldn’t worry about the reader who loves sci-fi or the one who is looking for a billionaire romance. That’s not who connects with my stories.
Be your authentic self. As an author or anyone who is in the public life, it’s important to stay true to yourself. Of course, the world doesn’t need to know everything about me. But what I do reveal should be true. Fans want to know what type of person I am, and if they can connect with me outside of my books.
Writing a book is not newsworthy. There are many people around the world writing books daily, about a million a year. The simple fact that I’m writing a book is not exciting to my friends, or family, maybe to my ride or die fans though. The reason why I’m writing and the story I tell is more exciting than the simple fact that I got the words on paper. The fact that I work full-time, have a daughter, one on the way, and a husband to love, and I love to sleep; when does writing even happen. When I share that I’ve published a book with someone they usually ask, “When do you find time to write?” It’s possible, and it’s not easy, it doesn’t happen as quickly as I’d like. I haven’t been able to replace my full-time job with my dream job of writing, but I’m persistent. I’m taking small steps to reach my dreams, and if you want to reach yours too, start small. What can you do today to take that next step? Wake up an hour early, go to bed an hour later? Pick up a book on your craft? Attend a conference with like-minded dreamers? Whatever it is, do it today, don’t wait until tomorrow. Invest in your dreams, or like they say you’ll continue to build someone else’s.
IndieAuthorCon 2017, in my eyes, was a great success. I’m looking forward to next year!