I've always seen networking as a frightening thing, too big and savvy and salesman-ish with the striped necktie and the "hey, hey, hey" schmoozing aspect built-in. I understand that networking and platforming are a big part of the business side of my life as an author, but they scare the pants off me, and I've been happy to mostly avoid them up until this point.
I've been using Facebook personally for a couple of years, and realizing how much it has helped me with my blog and other writing goals for the last year. I've been on Twitter for about six weeks, slowly familiarizing myself with how this platform works and understanding how it will help when it comes time to market my writing. I can't ignore the business side of the writing life because simply writing isn't enough to see my dreams become real. I have to sell that writing too.
I've spent a lot of years attempting to untie the many knots I've placed in my own personal rope. I worry about being too confident, and being perceived as egotistical. I worry about the opposite too, which is coming off as insecure and not believing in myself. I think it's universal to struggle with these things. I want to develop my craft while shoring up my confidence, and this process is a long one, with many setbacks and detours, but at a certain point I have to add in some business sense.
I am working on printing my 2010 blog for a number of reasons, but topping the list is that I want hard copies of it for each of my kids when they become adults, because so much of their lives at these precious ages and stages are included in my posts. I have been scouring the internet for reasonable self publishing options, and because I post each day, and it's about 325 pages, reasonable becomes a relative term.
I finally settled on a publisher, uploaded my blog, played around with the settings and tried to create a cover, and then panicked at my lack of photographic know-how, and reached out to a professional who happens to be a friend for a quick word of advice. His calm and clear guidance and support was invaluable when I felt out of my depth, and I realized clearly that networking is all about this.
It's not meant to be frightening or huge or fake. It's meant to build relationships with people who have different strengths and abilities from you, so that when you need something they can provide, you can ask them for help. It suddenly seemed so simple to me, and I felt grateful that I've got a strong social networking base of real friends, not simply people I can use to advance my own goals, for that is a significant danger of our digital age.
I want to continue to build relationships with existing friends and new ones, and not be afraid to ask for help and advice where I need it. I want to walk carefully on the business side of writing, because I am new to it and it changes so rapidly, and I'm often afraid to ask for compensation for what I produce. I have to work through these fears, step by step, and talk to those who have navigated this road ahead of me.
Having said all of that, I'm putting the finishing touches on the blog book that I will print, and I'm spreading the word in case anyone is interested in owning one, for themselves or as a gift for someone who might find some inspiration in the daily musings of a mom with dreams to write. The book will be softcover, 8.5x11", 325 pages, and will contain all of the posts I wrote in 2010. The book will cost $45. I will also be giving one away among the faithful followers of my blog, so if you haven't created a blogger account yet and followed me, but you read every day, you have until March 15th to do so and be eligible for this giveaway.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you who read and take time to comment and tell me when something has moved or inspired you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for walking this journey with me. It means so much to look to my left and to my right and see friends around me.