About three months ago, I wrote a post entitled What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. My idea was to share six lessons from my publishing experience, one for each year in the biz.
As time went on, my thinking evolved. I realized these six short points could all be expanded upon as part of an ongoing effort to help fellow indie authors in their inevitable struggle with marketing.
Thus was born a six-part blog series, ending today with Forget the Big “Family & Friends” Plan.
Family, Friends, and Other Creatures
Here’s part of what I wrote back in April:
Your family, friends and colleagues are not your audience. People who like your kind of book—maybe—are your audience. If there’s an audience for your book, you’ll need to find it…and keep looking to expand it. The majority of your best, most loyal readers will be people you’ve never met. That’s as it should be.
Sure, you can host a book launch event. Invite all your friends if you like. But once that’s over, forget the “friends and family” plan. Find your readers where they already hang out, and entice them to check out your work.
This is a lesson, I’d hasten to add, almost nobody likes. Nearly every author, at least starting out, thinks, My book is different. My family is different. My friends are different.
They aren’t. Trust me.
The mistake of thinking friends and family who don’t read will magically devour your special book is so pervasive, even I was surprised.
A recent post by fellow writer Anne R. Allen details how bad it really is out there. Not only are most writers’ friends and family not fans—many are unsupportive or even downright hostile. Check it out:
I think some [friends and family] are afraid of seeing themselves in our writing — either as a fictional character or a direct portrayal in memoir. They also may fear knowing too much about you — information that might necessitate guilt.
But most of the negativity comes from their own blocked creativity. I believe every person is born creative, but modern life marginalizes creative activity. Most people have to squelch their own creative urges in order to function in an industrial society. So they tend to feel hostile toward people who remain unsquelched.
How many people have told you they’d write a book too, “if they had the time”? Those people can be super-negative about your work because they so desperately want to write but can’t allow themselves to put in the time.
And there you have it. You may have a supportive friend or family member, or even two. But think of that as a bonus—not as your primary audience.
Have these posts helped? Need to vent about negativity from friends or family? Hit me up in the comments below.