More than 10 years ago, I began sending out an email newsletter every Friday. Each week, one by one, I sent out a message. Over time, I made these public via a blog. Then social media came along, so I Tweeted the links to the blog and shared other updates.
In that time, I shared:
- More than 500 email newsletters
- More than 1,000 blog posts
- More than 24,000 Tweets
I even began sharing photos on Instagram, with more than 1,500 shared to date. No, I am not “promoting” any of these things here to get more followers, which is why I’m not linking them.
In total, there have been tens of thousands of times that I have clicked “publish” on something. In each of those times, there was a momentary pause where I tensed up. Where I wondered if what I was sharing was meaningful. Was authentic. Was worthy. And in many of those instances, I worried about what could go wrong. What I risked in sharing.
Today I want to talk about why, as an author, you want to increase your ability to share your voice. Because, in each of those times I clicked “publish,” I was not only using my voice, hoping it was heard, I was also attending to the practice of developing my voice.
A Conversation is happening, whether you know it or not
Plenty of authors tell me they have zero interest in social media. In having to share 20,000 pithy updates that don’t feel meaningful. Nor do they want to develop an email list, or start a blog, or podcast.
Do you need to do any of this to be a successful author?
You don’t need social media.
You don’t need an email newsletter.
You don’t even need a website.
But what you do need is a voice. Now, you may be thinking, “Dan, that voice is in the book. The story that is crafted. It is not my voice.”
Do you remember that scene from the Wizard of Oz. (Oh, spoiler alert.) When the projected voice of Oz — this big bold earth shattering confident voice — turned out to be a little nervous man, whose authenticity, while flawed, deeply resonated with others, and helped them in ways that his projection never could?
What I asked today is that you pull back that curtain.
Do you know how many authors I have spoken to, who have written wonderful books, that are published by awesome publishing houses, which FAIL to find an audience? Lots. Too many.
This is why an agent asks you about social media. Why a publisher asks you about what influential people or organizations you know, which they can then reach out to for marketing. Not because they are trying to hollow out the most meaningful thing you have ever created, your book; but because they want to ensure the book turns into conversations.