The Solitary Writer

Good morning! The sun is shining, the tank is clean…(Finding Nemo reference.) If I had written this post 11 hours or so ago you might have found me much frustrated over the research I’d done that day.

Thinking it would be productive to research how to gain a better, wider author platform, I researched the story of Chris Colfer, who has written a popular contemporary series called The Land of Stories. Since he was seven, with the guidance of a supportive grandmother who sharply edited his chapters, Chris Colfer has had this story in the workings. Six books published from 2012 to 2017, he’s landed great success. I too am drawn in. As an author myself, or at least a writer, I wonder what I can learn from him. Do I need a mentor from an early age to be “successful”? No.

I also researched on  . . . never did I dream it possible . . . Twitter and Instagram accounts for authors. I researched traditional versus self/indie/independent publishing, I researched marketing tips, and I also rediscovered how much The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn, or J.F. Penn) has to offer for writers. However, by the end of the day, my mind sloshed with more information than I cared to give myself.

Why you must get an author Facebook page, Why one author opted out on having an author Facebook page (and you should too), build your brand with your name, pros and cons of traditional vs. self-publishing, tips for an author social media account of this and that, New York Times best seller, have a marketing campaign, throw a book party, get your first 10,000 email subscribers . . .

The last time someone told me they bought my book (yeah, still have that book on Amazon), I reacted like, “Oh, wow, thank you for doing such a thing for me, I wouldn’t expect it of anyone, how thoughtful!” so I have a long way to go in terms of “marketing” my book(s). I have been dissatisfied with this current one’s condition, and wish to publish a better version in the coming year.

In any case, for some reason, as helpful as these fellow authors are to authors, I find helpfulness in areas adjacent to me. Rhett and Link had an episode on their podcast Ear Biscuits called “Do YouTubers watch YouTube?”, Twosetviolin posted an over-1-hour video of them talking with Hillary Hahn, the violinist, about music topics that are oddly exactly what I’ve known as a writer, and The Try Guys shared in their latest video, “Who Were We Before The Try Guys?”, how they each progressed from college until meeting when they worked for Buzzfeed. I also recently read the biography of Madeleine L’Engle, which was far more encouraging to me than any marketing campaign plan.

I wish I could explain better, but alas, I fail. Perhaps it is because I aspire to be one of the classic authors, along with L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Michael Ende, the Bröntes, and many others, and struggle with seeing popular authors as competition or worse, in a snobbish lens, not as good as the 20th century and before, that I don’t find all of the advice for authors out there helpful. Perhaps I am simply overwhelmed. In any case, this leads to two ironic announcements:

I will be reading part of a poem of mine and speaking altogether 1-2 minutes at Maryland Art Place for their event “Honeysuckle Words” as a part of The One Thousand Love Letter Project by Peter Bruun on January 20! I am looking forward to it.

And secondly . . . never did I think it would happen . . . I have a Twitter account for me as an author! I don’t know much how Twitter works yet, but I am looking to follow as many friends and fellow writers and readers as possible, so if you follow me @CERohsner I will follow you.

That is all for 2018. Happy New Year; I’ll see you on the flipside.