When you start out with a new venture, the people who support you first are your friends and family. I think the beauty of that should be embraced and celebrated. Often, we want to laugh at best friends and moms who are overly excited about their friend’s work. Instead, I think we should take note of those getting celebrated.
When I finished my first novel (that is unpublished) I would print janky copies of it and pass it out to my friends. As horrible as I think it is now – they all loved it and celebrated it. What I think they loved the most about it was peering into my heart and soul. I didn’t think about them as my “fanbase”, they were just my friends and family, they had to like it – right? Well, no, they honestly didn’t have to like it. They could have laughed at me, told me how bad it was, stomped on my passion until the fire went out. The critiques I did receive only helped me grow and get better in the long run.
We have surrounded our family with some incredibly talented and smart people. I feel intimidated and out of my league most of the time when they are all discussing art and business. Most days I see myself as wife and mom and not much else. I have a hard time seeing myself compete against such professionals. I must remind myself again and again that authors who have had success gained it by not giving up and perfecting their craft.
My friend, fellow writer, and artist, Kel Rohlf hosted a book signing event at one of her studio events. It was incredible. I love this picture of us, I’m signing her book, and she’s telling me to hurry the f up with writing the next book. It cracks me up.
Because my friends support me, encourage me, and tell others about my book, my fanbase has grown and grown. Kel hosted my first event and from it, I gained a handful of new fans. I’ve had libraries pick up my book without my doing a thing because friends and family did the leg work for me. Kel helped me gain confidence in reading aloud to a group, signing books, and selling my book in person. That last one might sound silly, but for some of us, sales are hard. It makes us uncomfortable to exchange money with people and if you sell yourself and your work short, you’ll feel bad taking people’s money. She’s helped me to see the value in myself and my work.
Self-promotion and getting myself out there has been a long journey for me. I published Dandelion Jane: Strawberry Jelly in December of 2017, but I honestly don’t feel like I started real promotion until now. When I published Dandelion Jane: a 1,000 Wishes something in me finally clicked. I felt validated as an author, a creative, a force, someone who had something to offer to the world and it was good. I didn’t feel like it was just an ok piece of writing, I felt proud, I felt like it was worth your time to read. Because my tribe validated me to their other friends and family it helped me realize my worth as a voice. Celebrate your beginning fanbase, they play a huge role in your personal success!