When you sign up for a class in something with a title like Online author awareness, you might not be sure what you are getting. I wasn’t. I hoped I knew what it was. I planned on what it might be. And then the big day arrived and I finally was in class and could see what I was getting into. And I was thrillled.
Last week was my first week of Carolyn Cooper’s class. I was floored.
I’m an information junkie. I love learning. Carolyn loves teaching. It was a perfect fit. Yes, the first lesson was a bit of a shock. I’ve taken several online workshops before, its one of the great benefits to being a member of CRW. But they are all different. Some have one big lesson per week and some homework that the teacher doesn’t give feedback on. Those are the classes where you wish you were getting a little more. Then there are the classes where there is so much homework you can’t keep up. For a moment when lesson one was followed by lesson one part two, I was afraid.
Could I keep up? I, like many in the class, have other responsibilities besides my favorite activities of writing and learning. But as I read on, I realized that Carolyn was a communicator. Yes, it was a long lesson. Yes, I had to slow down and think a little. Yes, there was a lot of information packed in there. But once I followed it through it all began to gel and I began to get excited.
This was it!
I had been for a class to help me understand more about my efforts at marketing my work, and boy am I in the right place. I am learning so much more than I’d hoped for. I thought I’d learn how to manage Twitter better, what’s polite, what helps me and other authors. I think we’ll get to that eventually. This week we learned all about ourselves. What? Don’t you know that already?
Yes and no. I know who I am as a person, but who am I as a paranormal reader. What makes me tick and what I have in common with fellow paranormal readers are two different subjects. As a person and an author, I have things that I am passionate about. Those are the things that a reader wants to know. And then who am I as a reader? As a reader, how do I look at websites? How do I use them? What am I looking for when I go to an author’s website.
Ashely March, a fellow CRW member and fantastic historical author, spoke to my group on this topic. As an author she wants to be accessible. She wants readers to meet her on the internet and to have a personal experience. When you go to her website you can see that. You can comment on her blog and email her through her contacts. She’ll follow you on twitter and she isn’t spamming when she tweets. Its the real Ashley out there.
Some authors are more removed from their readers. Whether its because they don’t have the time or they are not interested in interpersonal contact, or they just don’t realize it, their websites are cool, removed, impersonal. They sell books, but are they making connections with readers? What kind of author are you? Why? You probably know by now I am pretty friendly. I thought I would hate getting online and doing all this connecting stuff, but it turns out I love it.
I have to set timers so I don’t burn the food and then I shut the timer off and, whoops! I did it again, be right back!
(Whew! Had to stir the steel cut oats!)
Okay, so I love it. I get distracted and if I don’t set a timer I would spend all my time connecting with people. I can’t do that. I need to write and clean the house and exercise and, oh yeah, eat. But my website can help me. My website, by its design, can show who I am. I can be friendly and readers can look at it and see who I am and what my books are about. They can connect to me, Jessica Aspen the person, and I can be off doing what they really want me to do anyway. Write more books.
You’re going to be seeing changes on my website. I’m in the process, but slowly and surely I will be changing my website up to be more reader-centric and less author-centric. The great thing about that is authors are readers too! I’m not sure exactly what this will entail, this is my scary adventure, remember? (Those of you who didn’t read last weeks post can catch up here.) I have committed to this being my summer of change. Actually this whole year has been a year of change.
Since my year starts in the fall, I began this year with Margie Lawson’s Deep Imersion class (WOOHOO-U), where I realized I was serious about being an author. Now, instead of writing in my spare time, I spend my spare time writing. That was an ah-ha moment for me that started me on a different path that has led to here. In September I didn’t have a web site, didn’t have a blog, didn’t even have business cards. I have all that now. And the next step on the path is being facilitated by Carolyn, the shift to online author.
I’m excited to see where this goes, what my website will look like by the end of the summer and the end of my year. When I connect with my WOOHOO-U peeps in September and we talk about what we’ve done during the year I will be able to say that this year I grew into being an author. I now spend my time like one, I have the comittement of one, and my website reveals exactly what kind of an author I am. A paranormal author.
(Keep checking in and I’ll be making those changes!)