I see a lot of social media posts these days about “authenticity.” The idea is that clients and customers, and potential clients and customers, really appreciate your authenticity—mainly because so many fake people have tried to sell them something they didn’t want to buy.
Now, I don’t claim to be an authenticity expert or a marketing guru. Although I’ve worked for about the past 18 years on marketing writing projects, I still think I’ve got a lot to learn. In fact, I don’t expect that to change. In today’s fluid, dynamic online world, learning is a constant.
What I do know for sure, though, is that authenticity isn’t an option, like cruise control or free wifi. Authenticity—putting yourself out there in your truest form, not some artificial persona—is an absolute, non-negotiable necessity.
Fact or Fiction
In my travels around the internet, I’ve also read a lot about marketing for authors. As a matter of fact, I even put together a little e-book freebie called Marketing For Authors that I give to people who join my email newsletter list.
Along with the fiction I write, I still produce marketing pieces for clients. So I read quite a bit about marketing. The challenges of marketing fiction to readers are vastly different from those around marketing medical practices or law firms. But no matter the audience, one thing matters to both: and that, again, is authenticity.
You see, when I spent my days marketing doctors to potential patients, I realized that the most caring, authentic medical professionals actually came across that way in their interviews. And furthermore, their patients’ testimonials reflected this as well.
It’s true for getting people interested in your fiction, too.
To Thine Own Self Be True
Before you judge me too harshly, let me state for the record that I’ve always tried to be my most authentic self. That’s true not only on social media but also in other forms, like podcasts, videos, and yes, blog posts.
What that means is that I’m really me—not some artificial persona. Sometimes that works in my favor, but just as often, it clearly doesn’t. And that’s okay.
This was brought home to me forcibly over the past couple days when an old blog post gained new life. I belong to an online community called Ngage Café, and many of my blog posts get picked up for distribution there. Today I found myself replying to new comments on one such old post, called We’re All Looking for the Answer.
The fact of the matter is that my fiction, like that of most authors, holds some autobiographical elements. But my newest book, Whizzers—which launches this coming Sunday—contains much more than that. It’s my most personal work to date, and it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m not only proud of it, I’m actually excited to share it with the world.
And that personal aspect also came through in the aforementioned blog post…so much so that I’ve received more praise than I deserve from folks these past few hours. For that, I’m truly grateful. And being myself surely didn’t hurt; in fact, I have to say it could only have helped.