So, we know that bloggers who hope to get a lot of traffic need to develop a brand, a primary message, something consistent that readers keep coming back for. If Random is a brand, then I’m all over it. (Bless all of you dear hearts who commented yesterday that you just love my rambling and “Don’t ever, ever stop!”)
Here’s the quandary (man, I love that word): I have a job. That job is to write and sell books. The writing part? I’ve got it down. (did I mention that I just chonked out a 50,000 word novel in 29 days?)
Here’s how I used to picture an author’s job: Write book. Get book published. Sit back and watch book sell. Repeat. As it turns out, yeah. I was missing a huge slice of the Successful Author Pie.
Here’s what publishers are looking for: a person who can write (me! pick me! I can write!) AND has an enormous following of people who will all buy that person’s book once it hits the shelves (bummer). In other words, you need more than great writing to convince a publisher to take a chance on you. You need semi-celebrity status and/or a history of stellar book sales. I have neither (my sales have been “modest” or “mediocre,” depending on who you ask).
Ideally? I would blog to make friends. As an author? I’m supposed to amass fans. I’ll tell you what. Making connections and building genuine friendships is infinitely more rewarding than knowing a lot of people read my blog. Sure, it’s fun to be popular. But I’d rather be liked (and yes, there’s a difference).
Fans are fickle. Friends are loyal. Fans inflate your head. Friends inflate your heart. You can have thousands of fans and still be very lonely. Friends are there for you when you’re hurt or frustrated or need prayer (or a hug).
I would love to just be Marla The Person (Friend, Sister, Mentor) here on the blog. But Marla The Author is a big part of who I am too. I wish numbers didn’t have to matter. But in my line of work, they do. (The obvious solution? Each of you promise to buy 100 copies of my next book.) I guess what I don’t want to be is the Girl Who Pretends to be Your Friend So She Can Sell You Something. I want to be the Girl Who Wants to be Your Friend. Period.
I know God is in control of my career and all that entails. I also know that it’s my responsibility to use my gifts wisely and not let them go to waste. I don’t know, unfortunately, quite how all of that is supposed to look in my daily life and blog.
Do you have any brilliant ideas, friends? (500 words! Again! Kapow!)