So Kristen Lamb made a post earlier this week about being sticky. Mentally sticky, that is. Because advertising doesn’t sell books. People sell books. And part of the secret of that, and the heart of her WANA (We Are Not Alone) mantra, is that you sell yourself as a brand. She talks a lot about how we, as writers, are too insular, we write about writing (GUILTY), we talk to other writers about writing (MEGA GUILTY), and we read about writing (GUILTY). And while writers are awesome people to have in your corner, happy to help tweet and share and guest blog and interview, they are, ultimately, a limited population.
Kristen’s whole point is that we need to make more non-writer friends.
I’m gonna throw in an informal poll to prove my point.
Obviously I can’t see the results as I write this but I’m betting they’ll bear out that I heart my writer peeps and surround myself with them because, frankly, they make me happy.
But in a continuing effort to lead a WANA social media life, I’m gonna try to expand my horizons and prove that I’m actually a more well-rounded human being, I’m on a search for stuff to blog about that non-writer peeps might actually find interesting or entertaining. Now, obviously I can’t possibly squeeze anything NEW into my life, so I gotta troll through what’s already here.
There are probably things I’m not thinking of that I mentioned in passing. If it caught your fancy, let me know, and I’ll think about posting about it. I’m totally open to suggestions about how to be interesting to non-writer people.
I’ve had a conversation or two with the Significant Other, who is also a writer, but of a completely different, non-fiction, socio-political prose/rant variety than my self, about some of my work and how I basically write for other writers. This got me thinking a little bit, because, on the one hand, I don’t want my writing to be limited to a specific circle of people like that, but, on the other hand, I like writing for other writers and they’re the sorts of people I’d not only want as my fans, but are more likely to get other writers interested in my writerly work…
But Kristen Lamb (and the SO) are ultimately right: that’s pretty damn insular, and probably not too terribly effective. Outside of RoW check-ins, I swear most of the views on my blog come from people finding my reviews on certain books and reading them. They probably couldn’t care much at all about my writing posts, but when I started this blog, I wanted it to be about the writing.
Needless to say, though, I’ve thought to myself that perhaps I should open it up to other topics to entice non-writer readers into the fold. I’m not sure I could pull it off, though, because writing is mostly what I like to write about. It should be interesting to see how this venture out works for you, Kait; maybe I should be taking some notes. : )
I read the ‘Sticky’ post yesterday and actually couldn’t sleep last night because I realized not only do I not have any ‘real life’friends (my wife and children not included, I have no non writer friends on the net either. I drastcally need to find a way of making friends so that by not selling my book so consciously I can sell more.
If I look at myself I have very few interests outside of writing and no time to develop new hobbies. It is another drawback of living in a non-english speaking country is that if I were to make friends (which I find almost impossible to do) the chance that they would read my English book would be slim. Damn you stickiness!!
I have to admit, I don’t write about writing because I don’t think I have anything new to add. Occasionally I’ll write about oh my god I’m terrified because I’m going to self-publish a book, but that’s about as far as it goes. Luckily I had quite a wide Facebook circle before I really dedicated myself to writing, but I’ve got so into Twitter, and writing is now such a big part of my life, that I barely know what to say to my non-writer friends anymore. Presumably the same kinds of things I say to my writer friends, with whom I spend only about 40% of the time actually talking about writing. And I still stress about it. Ugh. HARD.
Love this post, K. I’ve also been thinking along these lines lately, even before reading Kristen’s post. (Of course, after reading her post, as per usual, my brain started spinning even more feverishly.) I have non-writer friends in real life and online, but my thing is that I don’t have any other hobbies. I don’t cook, garden, knit, game, participate in some sort of activism, etc. etc. Even my movie-watching and exercise-doing (the closest things to hobbies I have) are inconsistent. Which is bad, because I think the more we make time for non-writing things in our lives, the more non-writing things we’ll have to talk about and non-writers we’ll meet. And the more that happens, the wider our circle grows, the more our writing improves, the more we have to talk about that doesn’t involve word count goals or what have you. Of course, it’s achieving that balance of writing and DEAR GOD PLEASE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT WRITING that’s tricky…
Thanks for contributing to the brain fever! 😉
Oh, and I meant to add: “…and the more easily we’ll connect with like-minded readers, who probably want to hear more from us than just stuff about writing.”
Just picked up ur freebie blindsight on my ereader! Loved it so far. I am getting your others as I text this. When is the full blindsight book coming out? I want it asap!
I know exactly what you mean, Kait. I’ve noticed most of my posts have been writer related. I’ve tried to write about other stuff…like my shoes and buying a bicycle. But then I start wondering if anyone really cares. LOL
One of our writer friends has kind of cut herself off from other writers, trying to connect mostly with her readers. I would like to have a combination of both. I never want to ignore the writing community because I’ve met so many friends here. But I would like to connect more with readers, too.
Honestly, I think posts with lots of humor attract people. Maybe you should write about those funny student things. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I don’t feel I’m far enough in this writing journey to have much to contribute and yet I don’t want to be jumping all over the place with topics either. It’s a hard balance. I think for the most part you’ve got a good blend here Kait.
I have a bunch of non-writer friends… Here’s my advice for how to make non-writer friends… Don’t bother trying to get them to read. None of my friends will read my stuff, why? Because they don’t read. What have I discerned from the many times I’ve had conversations with them about it? Anyone who reads is a lover of the word, and lovers of the word all want to write, though some are secretive about it. Non-writers are non-readers. Maybe I’m wrong, and I know it’s a generalization, but largely, I think it’s true. Afterall that’s why there are so many terrible works of fiction out there shopping agents…all readers want to write, even when their skill set isn’t quite there.
Writing and art. Those are my passions and who and what I am. Period. Share my the rest of my life? No, there isn’t much otherwise to share, and what is there is private. I do not share my private life.
For me, it comes down to this: If I don’t write about my passions on my blog and in my online social life (and those are writing and art), then I don’t talk. No point in engaging. No point in the blog. No point in the rest of it. I might as well have a static webpage that gets updated only when a new book comes out.
While I see the point of selling to people who are not authors, I also believe in being true to yourself. My media interaction does that, even if it is insular. I do think readers respond to honesty. This is the honest me. Heck, if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have anything to read!
So true, I’ve noticed the traffic on my site on certain pages & posts revolve not only around my book updates but my songwriting & music production, graphic design and film interviews. I joined groups I shared interests beyond writing, from traveling, outdoor sports, cooking, filmmaking, photography, graphic design and even joined a crochet group. All things I enjoy and you’d be surprised how many people you meet that you can cross promote with or find that they also write.