My Experience With A Photographer
I helped the stylish photographer, whom I’d met only moments before, carry her equipment into the classroom. I asked her a bit about her work as we pulled backdrops and lights out of her bags. She quickly shared how she got to where she was and then asked me to tell her what I do. I replied that I was director of a theatrical production and a writer. I don’t remember why, but I mentioned something about working on building my author’s platform.
She simply stated that platforms and marketing are part of her work and that if I ever had any questions, she’d be willing to help. She then proceeded to ask if I’d ever heard or considered being a content writer, because not only are they paid well, but there’s a great need for them now a days and that if I ever thought about being a content writer I should reach out to her, cause she could get me in touch with the right people.
She then asked my sister what she liked to do. Well my sister likes photography, so they chatted a bit about my sister’s camera and she ended up giving her good advice for what lens she could upgrade to if she wanted a professional step up.
This sounds like quite a bit of chatter, but it actually all took place in about ten minutes. And at the end of those ten minutes, this professional photographer was handing my sister and I each a business card of hers and the thing is… we wanted her card. (anyone else ever had a business card forced upon you?) Such was not the case here.
What She Did Right
Most of our hour drive home that night, my sister and I talked about this photographer. We were so impressed how within minutes after we were introduced, she was handing us her business card (getting her name and business into our hands) but also with the fact that we both really wanted her card was huge to us.
And we figured out why. It was because she first took an interest in us not as another potential customer, but as a person. She took the time to ask us about us and in the end was able to use that as an opportunity to offer her resources that could help us in our personal endeavors while at the same time benefiting her business. Now there’s a great business strategy.
How This Applies To Writing
So I got to thinking… what if I applied this business strategy to my writing? Being an author is a business after all. Do we only see our readers as potential buyers and subscribers? What if instead we took an interest in them as the actual people they are?
As much as it hurts to say, as I’ve begun to build my platform as a writer, it’s easy to be more concerned about my numbers of followers rather than taking the time to take an interest in the people who’ve taken an interest in me as an author. What does that mean? That we’re being uppity author snobs if we don’t reply to every Facebook, Instagram and blog comment? Not at all!
I’ve found it difficult not to draw a line between the business side of writing (for me right now that’s platform building, gaining followers) and the ministry aspect (reaching out to those followers). Is it possible that they both can co-exist without feeling like they’re opposing my author goals?
(Author Business Goals: “Get more followers!!! Use tips and tricks of social media to boost my follower count, get people to vote my book the best and then take over the world! *claspshandovermouth* did I just say that out loud???”… Author Ministry Goals: “That my writing would help me reach out to people with reality and truth to give them hope. No matter if I write a bestseller and reach 1 million followers or not.”)
Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but simply stated, sometimes the business side of writing feels like it’s all about me, me, me when I truly want my writing to be for you and them.
Perspective is Key
I think the balance to this conundrum is perspective. “Perspective is key”, has been a key phrase in my household of late. 🙂 We can conduct our business in a god-honoring way by letting that ministry mindset be the guide of our business endeavors.
1) Follower #123 is a person too.
This has been a good reminder for me about why I’m investing all this time in writing in the first place. Don’t we as writers want to reach people and touch their hearts through words?
We can only do that if we remember they aren’t just follower #123, but people. Living breathing people. Besides, how shall we reach out and touch people with our words if we don’t reach out and know our readers hearts?
2) It’s a gift.
In the long run, we write books for the benefit of the reader. (in the meantime we get all the fun and blessings as well!) Whether it be nonfiction or fiction, books are ultimately for the readers. Think of your book like a gift to your readers.
This has actually helped me become more open about sharing my writing as well! I can’t be scared to show my work to others, because whether the person I shared it with actually liked my book or not, they knew I cared about them as a person, therefore in turn they cared about me and my projects. It’s kinda like that strange gift you receive from a friend that you stick up on a shelf, not because you needed it or necessarily even liked it, but you kept it, because you care very much about the person who gave it.
3) Building Relationships
Writing is building a relationship between the author and the reader. It’d be the same if I had been a plumber, or a cashier or a photographer. People will look past all the flashy business signs to see if the person on the other side of the company label, cares. So be real in your writing, by taking a sincere interest in your readers. The results, are that they have unwavering support for what interests you; writing. And in time, you’ll even see that kind of care grows a lot of follower numbers. 🙂
Taking an interest in people is in fact a great way to benefit your business. Which is a win-win when your business is people. 🙂
Which author do you believe shows great interest in their readers in a real way? 🙂