This part comes from the ‘Author Section’. Many times, we try to hide who we really are and put on a mask as an author. Makes sense, especially if we want to separate it from the other parts of our life. Though, it can be exhausting and some quirks may turn up. This touches on that urge to either hide or reveal your true self. Enjoy.
Do I Hide My Quirks?
Much like revealing your inspiration, you will find that you have to put yourself in the spotlight at times. The days of the secretive author churning out books without having to leave their house are long gone. At least for new authors, because you can do that once you become rich and famous. They call you eccentric instead of anti-social at that point. Some might find this part of the path fairly harrowing since you don’t have characters to hide behind. It’s exposing your own life and personality to strangers, which doesn’t mean you share everything about yourself. There is a limit, especially if you have friends and family who don’t want to be part of the public persona. Instead, you have to focus on yourself and that means your quirks and habits can come into play. I’m sure we all ‘love’ doing that.
What do I mean by quirks?
I mean the small things that are unique to you. Favorite foods, hobbies, favorite shows, and author rituals would fall into this category. For example, I talk a lot about pizza because it’s my favorite food. Seriously, it’s delicious and you can choose from tons of toppings. Has all four food groups and I don’t care if that system has changed. Readers and other authors who interact with me have made a connection between myself and pizza.
Does it help to sell books? I don’t know. It does help the other side of promoting, which is creating your brand. Hate to say it, but you are part of your product and that means all of you. This is scary for many of us because we expected to put our books into the public eye. It doesn’t always cross a new author’s mind that they have to go along with their creation. If it helps, this part of the trade gets easier as you progress because you get a feel for yourself and how people will react to your personality.
Of course, you can create a fake persona with a pen name. This is fine and common because it protects your real life from scrutiny. Yet, you still may need to come up with some quirks for this image to make it more realistic. This can be harder than you imagine because it requires that you keep your story straight. If you hate coffee and the pen name is fueled by it then you have to be careful. One negative reaction to coffee and people may start to wonder. Audiences love exposing the real author behind pen names. It’s a game of Hide & Seek with one person hiding and being fairly unaware they are being hunted.
A way to stay in the right mindset is to keep your persona simple and as close to reality as possible. It can be an altered version of you or an exact copy with a different name. Whatever makes you comfortable about stepping out from behind your book and proving that you aren’t a cunning Artificial Intelligence trying to break into the publishing industry.
Your greatest tool in promoting and revealing yourself on your own terms is social media, which is a double-edged sword. The sword is also on fire and has been cursed to either heal or hurt depending on how it’s feeling at the time. As we all know, whatever you put on the Internet will stay there and may affect your books. After all, you are trying to make yourself approachable and worthy of a reader’s attention. You don’t want to come off as a person that one wouldn’t want to meet in a well-lit alley.
If done correctly, you will make connections with readers and authors. This creates a support network every author needs to help promote their books. With a new release, you can announce it beforehand and get volunteers to help as well as early sales. If you are writing a series, you can get a handful of readers who will continue through every book and leave reviews every time. This grants you a solid core of loyal fans who can bring attention to your stories and act as an unofficial promotional team. Having other authors as readers can also lead to hosting announcements for each other, which means a mixing of audiences. Both authors benefit from that type of connection.