At heart, I’m as much a salesperson as a writer. In 1978, I was recognized by Merrill Lynch for ranking second in opening new accounts among their first-year stockbrokers.
During my next career, back in the days of print, selling my essays was harder. Some of my articles received a dozen or more rejections before getting accepted for publication; some never got accepted.
Blogging of course is easier, with me as both writer and publisher. Yet, just because I post something, doesn’t mean it will get read.
To reach an audience, Twitter and Facebook have replaced the envelope, stamp and cover letter to editors.
Tweeting and posting links to my articles, I serve as my own audience-seeker.
Don’t get me wrong, this game of tracking down new Twitter followers is a lot more fun than waiting to hear from an editor who has no intention of responding to my submission (unless he/she mistakenly believes I’m Susan Orlean).
Every time a new tweep follows me, ka-ching, it give me a charge. I’m a stats person, a math major, a former math instructor.
The fun of being a stockbroker included my attraction to numbers, most thrillingly the bottom line. How much business did I do each month? How high did I rank among the 46 men and 4 women brokers in my office?
And so it is with my blog stats. How many visitors did I have today? How long did they stay? How many Twitter followers dropped me? (What’s the opposite of ka-ching?)
My friend Diane, author of Big Green Purse, is in my writing group and always asks, “Why do you want to achieve this?” of whatever it is I’m doing.
For a pleasure-seeking lowbrow like me, who is hopelessly attracted to tinsel, it’s a hard question to answer more profoundly than to say it feels good. Maybe my drive to feel good is strong in order to help offset my Worrywart.
The other day I met with my writing group. I asked what everyone thought about an email I’d composed to send to a majority of my address book in hopes of increasing my fan base.
Here’s the email:
It’s been a while since I last wrote with a link to one of my articles. Last time, it was late one night that I struggled with the perfect wording to let friends and acquaintances know I’d just posted an aricle on Huffington Post. Then I hit send.
At 3 a.m., before going to sleep, I checked my email; someone had already replied. Yay!
I opened it. “Please unsubscribe,” is all it said.
After that I tried to fall asleep, but wondering how many other people I had annoyed kept me from drifting off. Ever since then I have been light-handed on the send button.
That said, I want to let you know about my new Facebook fan page, where I post links to my articles and welcome conversation. I’d love you to drop in, “like” and chime in with comments.
Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Orlins-Writer/148063705295883
I hope all is well with you and that you have a splendid holiday season!
My writing group is generally uber-supportive (“Susan, I can just see that story of your first marriage becoming a movie. Who would you want to play you? What will you wear on the red carpet?”).
But after reading my proposed email blast, they said it sounded “Defensive.” “Bewildering.” “Sad sack.” And, my favorite, “Cringe-worthy.”
I’m afraid you won’t be receiving any late night emails from me anytime soon. (Though you might find me spamming on Twitter.)
I’d love YOU drop in, “like” and chime in with comments on my new Facebook fan page!
What non-email suggestions do you have for increasing my audience and generating more Facebook fans and comments?
Check out my latest Home Goes Strong article:
And some others for the holidays: