When I first started on Twitter, it was to find an audience.
I was writing, albeit not volumes, but I was writing and was eager to show at least a few people what I had done in the hopes that they might gain some enjoyment out of it. (If you've read my blog posts going back a year or so you already know the ups and downs and how that went.)
Once I had a handful of followers, (Whom I religiously followed back, because how else does one get followers, right?) I expected to have people finally checking out my work and gaining an actual reader base. To my surprise, that was not the case, at least not to the level I was expecting.
I didn't let it get to me, because I had heard these things would take time to happen. People would find my work, enjoy it and hopefully tell other people about it. In the meantime I was told that it would be best as an aspiring author to build an "author platform" so when my books are finally published I'll have a built in audience. That makes sense and it would help me kill two birds with one stone: build a platform and get more people whom I could entertain with my wordery. Perfect.
As the numbers on Twitter grew, I found a few bright spots. Made a handful of good friends. Even one or two great friends whom I still have even now, so there are definitely some things I can't complain about. What I didn't find was more people checking out my work. Even with the increasing numbers, I found it rare for one of them to have read my work or even be aware that I had a body of work to be read.
Why is that? As writers, we want people to read our work. Even if not for monetary reasons, just to have our unique voice heard. So why are we so unwilling to check out another writer's work? We shout out our blog posts, we participate in hashtag events, we posts links to our books, and we post links to our websites in the hopes that people will just READ what we have to say or buy our $.99 book... but by and large we don't provide that same courtesy for others in our same position.
What good does it do to have 3000 followers when they do nothing but post links... and never follow others' links? What good does it do to pour your blood, sweat, and tears onto the page, edit it, shop it or push the self-publish button... if you, yourself do not do what you hope everyone else will do and JUST F**KING READ? Take a chance on the product of someone else's blood sweat and tears and buy that book, read that blog post, visit that website. Why? Why is that so difficult for so many of us when it's what we really want from everyone else.
As a collective we love to post quotes. We love short snippets of wisdom from those who have been where we are and have felt our struggles. Not a day goes by that I don't see a quote that flies in the face of our reluctance to read others' work:
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
"Good writers read. Great writers read a lot."
There are countless more, but the point is, we, as writers, can change it and we should change it. We should stop acting like writership is a one-way street. You're not Stephen King. He writes a book and once it's published, it just immediately starts crapping money. That's not you. You aren't that famous. Even still, though he could just treat it like a one-way, he doesn't. He is a voracious reader, and advocates that everyone who wants to write needs to read.
So I propose after you read this (Thank you, honestly and sincerely.) that you go out into the world and DO SOMETHING about it. If you want to find that treasured book that no one else knows about; that undiscovered masterpiece that touches your heart, soul, and mind... take a chance! Click on that link and if it interests you... buy that book, read that post, visit that website. If you find someone has created something amazing, then tell them. Then tell someone else. Tell EVERYONE else, because that's what you, as a writer, hope they will do when they find your work.