Some folks have told me that they just cannot be a personality on social media. They are who they are. Boring. Plain Jane. One guy even joked he was almost “almost senile.” (Yes, these are all authors.)
Did you all see the big mistake these writers made right out of the gate?
Well, I sure did. And I quickly stopped each writer and explained authenticity once again. The reading public isn’t interested in boring, plain jane, and almost senile. They are interested in boring people writing exciting romances (this one’s for you, novelist), they are interested in plain jane writers who can tell them how to better plant their gardens (that’s for you, gardening writer), and they are interested in slightly senile military history buffs (that’s you, Joe).
See the difference? You’re taking a topic that others have done already (so what? isn’t everything borrowed, stolen, or recreated from something else?) and you’re stamping your personality and point of view on it. That’s what’s interesting. No one cares about your excuses about your dishwater blonde hair that needs a trim, or the fact that you haven’t won any beauty pageants (if it’s not going to to make a different to your book subject, it shouldn’t make a difference to you), or the fact that you have a small military war museum on your property (hey, wait, that’s interesting, Joe; what do you have in there and can I see it?)
Authenticity is vital in this business. And I don’t mean you immediately begin confessing your deepest flaws to everyone in sight. You only confess those flaws if they solve someone else’s problem. You only talk about those things if they are the solution to someone else’s problem.
How to grow tomatoes and green beans in the same raised beds? Yes, interested. The fact that your only good outfit for your book signing is covered in cat hair, not so much.
Three reasons to be authentic (it’s easier than people think it is):
1. You find your expertise. (I’ll talk more about how to do that in upcoming posts.) What do you like to talk about? If it is cat hair, you may need to start a blog for fellow cat owners, not gardeners.
2. You find your audience. (I’ll also be talking more about this in upcoming posts.) Who else likes what you talk about? Who else would be interested in your fascination with cat hair on your black sweater? Very bad example, but you get the gist.
3. You merge it all together. Take one part your expertise, one part your audience’s needs, one part your particular twist on the topic. Voila! Now you have something you can talk about until you run out of oxygen.
Action Tip: Take inventory of what you know. We’ll talk about it again shortly.