After slogging through months of hard and fast writing, I decided to take some time and develop more of a presence on Twitter. For a long time I ignored Twitter and thought of it largely as a waste of time, and I can't say that assessment is entirely wrong for many purposes.
At first, I threw a handsome photo of myself up there (as if there were any other kind!) and wrote myself a snarky little introduction. Then I sat and waited for people to come and find me and the unique brand of awesome only I can provide and in turn turn me into an internet celebrity writer. Surely, people know an amazing writer when they see it, so I sat and watched around 13 people start following me over the course of six months.
I know more than 13 people personally, so the awkwardly low number perplexed me. Are people this unaware of the true amazingness of the fledgling writer they had in their Twitter-midst? Maybe it's because I am too awesome. Too much charisma and sexiness can be overwhelmingly intimidating to many people. I get that. But on the off chance that isn't the reason I haven't taken the Twitter-verse by storm, I thought I needed to look at other possible reasons.
First of those reasons I came up with was that I have next to no professionally published work. How can people see the immense talent I have to offer if... well... it's not out there for anyone to see?
Of course, I have this blog. A blog which I believe enjoys slightly less traffic than websites extolling the virtues of hangnails.
However, I have written copy for a couple of websites, and even had my copy stolen on occasion. Proof of my magical wording skills if there ever needed to be. I'm sorry but if you can't see the beauty of my persuasive prose in selling shoes and dress shirts, then I am at a loss to help you. Not to mention my numerous reviews on Yelp and Amazon. Do they have a Pulitzer for product review authors? That should be a thing.
So OK. I don't have a large body of work to draw from. However, I am working on finishing up my first novel so maybe the public can finally appreciate my writing once it's published. Being the generous guy I am though, I wanted to post a few chapters on an open forum to get some feedback. Not that I need it of course, but to help others feel like they are contributing to the awesome.
So I posted a few chapters on the ubiquitous writing website, Wattpad.com. Which seems like a wonderful place to post and receive feedback from readers and fellow writers at first. However then I realized a couple of things about Wattpad that are both great and disheartening at the same time.
One is that I am a thirty-something man writing on a site that I quickly discovered is heavily skewed to the younger demographic. Many of the readers and writers I have come across are in the 14-18 year old group. I can't help but feel a little out of place, even if that's my fault and not theirs. That is likely great news for those targeting that market. Not so much for those who are not.
The other is that the book I am writing is not written from the first-person perspective of a young Bella/Katniss/Tris type of heroine. My protagonist is named Colin. He's kinda of a regular guy with a normal name.
Those two things combined means I don't get a lot of eyes on my work. More people who just don't recognize my awesome I suppose.
The second of the overarching reasons I see to explain why my genius isn't recognized in the Twitter-sphere is that I have no established professional network. So I went about trying to fix that problem. I searched out authors that I admired and enjoyed and then followed them. I got a few more follows this way, but oddly enough Stephen King didn't follow me back. He must just have not seen my follow yet. He seems like a follow-back kind of guy.
So my next Twitter-Assault-Tactic (TAT's for short from here on out) was to seek out writers and authors that are less well-established. Ones that, like me, are just starting out and would be more likely to connect. This TAT was much more effective. Stephen King still isn't following me back, but many really interesting and amazing writers are. Writers who are writing novels, how-to-books, and children's books. Bloggers who are writing about being writers, about helping other writers, and about becoming your own publicist. Authors who are promoting their 30th book, authors who are promoting their first book, and authors who are struggling to write a book at all.
It's a pretty wide array of folks who are putting their words out there and trying to find an audience. I'm always humbled and amazed whenever I find someone new following me. To the extent that I wonder if I am really in the same league as the majority of them. Such confidence among them. Such ability to create and then describe people, places, and worlds. Such love for cats... (I... don't have to love cats to be a writer do I?)
I just don't know if I am qualified really.
My writing isn't breathy or emotionally charged. My writing isn't about dragons, medieval times, or political conspiracies. My writing is... well... my writing. It's not focused on teenage female protagonists nor is it about steamy romances. It's pretty basic.
Despite what I wrote up near the top of this post, I know I am not awesome (well... not that awesome anyway) and I know I don't necessarily deserve to have fame or fortune. I know that people aren't intimidated by my amazingness, and I know that I am the weird one in the world of writers.
I don't write intricate plotlines, I generally avoid drama, and I have slightly less than no cats. I am a thirty-something man in a sea of young YA, NA, and Romance authors. Will I find success? I don't know. I'm hoping that because I am the oddball in the author arena, maybe I'll stand out. Maybe people will even buy my books someday.
Until then... it's your fault you don't find me awesome because my false bravado tells me so.