According to an interesting article on WikiHow, “How To Fall In Love” you can find yourself in a satisfying relationship in a few not-so-easy steps.
I’d like to suggest that authors follow their advice to be “in love” with their readers. And hopefully, readers will fall in love with them too!
- Boost Your Self-Esteem. For those looking for romance, this means exude confidence, know who you are, and stop comparing yourself to others. This will make you attractive to others. Writers should do the same thing. Take the time to make yourself into a good writer. That means that you need to seek out challenging mentors and coaches that can push you to be better. You may need to take classes. You may need to have a critique partner who makes you cry. No one wants to follow a loser. So train like a winner. This also means looking good. You need to make a good impression. All of your social media personalities should be consistent and reflect the emotional goals of your brand. In other words, act like a professional!
2. Consider why you want to fall in love. The article suggests that if we are looking for a romance to “complete” us or give us validation, we may be in it for the wrong reasons. I totally agree. I also think that writers who pursue publication for fame, fortune or any other reason may need to reconsider. Being a great writer who can live off their income takes a lot of work. Only you can decide if you’re doing it for the right reasons.
3. Consider what you’re looking for. If you are looking for a romantic partner, then you need to put some thought into what kinds of people you enjoy. You also need to think deeper than a pretty face or huge biceps. Writers need to be just as thoughtful. They need to know what kind of writers they are. Do they write mysteries? Romances? Thrillers? Steampunk? They also need to know what kinds of people read their genre. If you don’t know who you are or what you want, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding readers.
4. Meet people. This should be the most obvious. If you want healthy relationships, romantic or otherwise, you have to get out into the world. For writers this can be terrifying because we often like hiding out with our laptops and our cats. You can do this in real life, such as with a writers’ group or book club. You can also do this online, where we care far less about personal hygiene. My personal favorite group is the 10 Minute Novelists group on Facebook. Join us.
5. Open Yourself To New Possibilities. This is good advice all the way around, for any part of your life. To have what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done. For lonely singles, you may want to try a local meet up or ask your friends to set you up. For writers, this means you need to stretch yourself. Try signing up for a new social media platform. Try joining a chat. Try calling your local library and asking them if you can drop off one of your books. Get over your fear. Take chances. You’ll probably be surprised at how fun it is.
6. Give Things Time. This is the best thing on the list. Writers absolutely cannot expect to be best sellers overnight. That’s as ridiculous as a lonely woman arriving at a singles dance expecting to meet Prince Charming, getting engaged in three months and married in a year. Be content to start at the beginning. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write every day that you can. Don’t give up because it’s hard.
7. Develop The Relationship. Now this is where the article assumes you’ve met Mr. Right, (or at least Mr. Right Now). The author suggests that you talk, expressing interest in the values and experiences of this new person in your life. This is great advice for you as a writer too! I totally believe that if we are going to have life long reader fans, we need to start with our friends! This means talking to them. It means asking good questions. It means getting your focus off yourself (and your book sales) and work at this new relationship.
8. Open Yourself Up Emotionally. This is also great advice! Now in a romantic relationship, you need to take risks and be vulnerable. Sometimes that’s really scary! Writers have to take risks too! With each reader that reads your book, you have to be willing to get a mediocre or bad review. You have to be able to handle rejection. You need to not take it seriously when they say, you’re not my type. There are plenty of readers out there, so if your heart gets broken, keep trying! To be successful, you must deal with bad reviews like a pro. It also means understanding that art is subjective and what one person loves another will hate. The artistic nature of this business makes everything wonderful and everything harder. Sigh.
9. Build Trust. All relationships are built on trust. How do you build trust? You keep your word. You communicate gently. You don’t antagonize. You don’t criticize. You don’t judge or condemn. You don’t ignore. An affable, approachable writer who is trustworthy to his readers will be in greater position for long term success than one who is disrespectful and lacks integrity. This means absolutely no misrepresenting yourself! No manipulating numbers! No fudging reviews! No underhanded dealings! Any shortcuts you may take to “gain readers or followers” will someday come back to bite you in the butt. Don’t do it.
10. Appreciate what you’ve got. No one likes to be taken for granted, not even readers. Once you have readers who are willing to buy your books, keep them posted on what’s next for you. Say thank you by sending personal messages. Do your best to remind them that they are important to you. This will go a long way to building a great writer/reader relationship. You must understand that your readers’ attention is precious. They will have no trouble finding other books to read. Respect this. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t answer questions hatefully or sarcastically. Be warm. Be generous if you can. Get to know them, don’t just make it all about you.
To get our readers to fall in love with us, we’re going to have to work. We’ll need to take our art seriously, their relationship seriously and give everything our best.
There are no shortcuts. Sorry about that.
Each bullet on this list is a long tedious task that can only be accomplished with hard work. Discouraged? Don’t be. Good relationships and enthusiastic tribes take time. And it starts with what’s inside you!