Laura Howard: The Ripple Effect


The Ripple Effect

Since the rise of the internet the world seems much smaller, doesn't it? People are making connections that would have never been possible before chat rooms and forums existed. Social media sites link users from many walks of life, making it easier to find people who share interests- whether it be an interest in antiques or graphic design, zoology or yoga.

Naturally these changes not only affect our personal relationships, they've also completely changed the way we do business. As writers, we might not like to think about the "dark side" of publishing- marketing. It might feel overwhelming that in addition to crafting a compelling story, we must also master an entirely different skill set-the ability to market our work.

What if our mindsets are all wrong? Could it be there is a better way to go about this business? (Because it is a business isn't it?) The word business conjures up images of men in pin-striped suits carrying leather briefcases to board meetings. That's not quite how I pictured my life as a published author.

Thinking deeper about this, I realize the most successful authors make it their business not to necessarily sell their books, but to reach readers on a much more personal level. This part hasn't changed. Through forums and social media sites, authors can now connect with their readers in a way they couldn't before. An author once reached out to readers at book signings or speaking engagements. Now, a fan can visit the author's website each and every day, reinforcing that connection.

When I feel connected to an author, I am eager to share my excitement with friends and family members. And the cycle continues outward, causing a ripple effect. The internet speeds that ripple, giving the author a larger audience if they nurture the small seeds they plant in the beginning.

The opposite can be true if an author doesn't see the value in building strong relationships. If they enter the social scene only to sell their book and promote themselves, they're completely wasting their time. It's a turn off for anyone to be "sold". We want to do business with people we trust, and in order to trust someone we have to feel valued. The takeaway? Build relationships with your readers. Honor their time. The harvest will be worth it- in many ways- in the long run.

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