And no, I’m not going to discuss editing your manuscript today. I’m going to discuss editing yourself. What do I mean? I’m talking about selling yourself to the readers. This includes your online persona, the way you present yourself at conferences, in blogs, emails, crit groups, local chapters and so many more public domains.
It’s so easy to forget that we’re building our readership one reader at a time. Even if you’re unpublished, you should be thinking about how you present yourself. Another thing we often forget is that other writers are readers as well. This is a business. Even if you make friends, treat it as a business. When you bash another genre or another writer, you’ve just lost a potential reader. Think about it.
Your image is everything when you’re trying to sell yourself and remember selling a novel is only a tool, essentially you’re selling yourself because you want those readers to buy the next book. And the next. And the next.
Get it? Good. There are three things to remember when you’re self editing. Number one: Even when you think you’re attending a place that feels comfortable to you, keep your business face on and watch what you say. Relationships can go south quickly and unexpectedly. So even someone whom you believed was a friend can twist your words to make you look bad. And there’s nothing better than juicy gossip to a business full of women. =)
We all know it’s true. And we might as well embrace that side of ourselves and either live with it or learn to use it to our advantage. So even though I’m hanging out with friends I always remember to conduct myself with dignity. That’s not to say I don’t curse and cut up right along with everyone. It just means that if I disagree with someone I remember to watch my words. Words spoken in anger can come back to haunt you.
The second thing you want to remember is keeping business separate from pleasure. So twitter, facebook and all those other social media’s we all so love can be a tool to help your image. Use it wisely, young padawan. The things we say while logged in can have resounding effects sometimes. I’ve chosen facebook as my friends and family type of social media. I’m a little more relaxed about what I post there. I will post pictures of my kids, talk about the new furniture I just bought and so on. I do this because I can control who I befriend. That’s something to think about. If we let just anyone to friend us, you risk not knowing this persons intentions. Twitter however, is another story. I can’t always control who decides to follow me, although I do try. So this is my tool for networking. I’ve only befriended people in the business, I only discuss business, and I follow it religiously to see what I can learn. And you can learn a lot by listening to what people are saying on twitter. Not everyone is careful about their online persona...but you will be right?
Blogs are another place to post business only material. And I work very hard to keep them separate. It’s difficult sometimes because the two bleed into each other quite often. But it’s doable.
And lastly, the thing to learn about self editing is your website. This the first place your readers are going “meet” you. If the only thing that relates to you on your website is the fact that it sports your name, then you need an update. You’re theme should spill from your website, to your business cards, and everything in between. One of my critique partners told me last year, it’s never too early to start building a readership. I thought she was nuts because I wasn’t published yet. But she was right. Starting now, can save you a lot of hassle and time later on so when that call comes, the only thing you have to concentrate on is selling yourself.
So before you sell yourself to the reader, remember to self edit. Does your image need an update? Do you have any other advice you can offer for self-editing newbies like myself, please share it with us. It’s a business after all, one I am more than eager to learn.