Or, 3 things I learned when interviewing myself.
Dear Future Fan: If you’ve found this page, I’m pretty sure it was an accident. To be sure, there have been far worse accidents in the history of the universe. New Coke comes to mind. So, please don’t do anything drastic yet, like leaving. Give this post a chance.
It was time to launch my author website, to build up that platform that everyone talks about. All the podcasts and blogs and posts and tweets and how-to books said an author website has to have a biography.
But, my life is kinda boring.
How was I going to interest would-be buyers of my writing? Would readers really care about my last three jobs (in project management, in case you were wondering), or how big/old my dog is (less than five pounds, more than eight years), or that I live alone with the said dog (out of choice, by the way, mine, not the dog’s)?
I didn’t think so. How do you write your own author biography when you haven’t published anything yet?
Dear Future Fan (cont’d): I’m also pretty sure that if you’re reading this, you’re so devoted that you scrolled through years of archived posts to get here. This author business is tough. You need Herculean strength, Olympic-level persistence, and lots of really good caffeine.
With a little help from my friends (every girl needs pals who call ‘em like they see ‘em), I took a different approach to my own bio. Instead of telling future avid fans about my jobs, my dog, and my domestic arrangements, we pretended I was being interviewed by a big-name reporter. It was fun; still, it was harder than I thought.
Here are some things I learned:
1. Writing to niche is hard when you have no idea who/what your niche is. One piece of advice I read/heard over and over was to identify your niche and write to it. But I write speculative fiction–mysteries, fantasy, and a little in between. What kind of niche is that? Is there one type of reader who only reads fantasies and mysteries (I think not)? So, I’ll start this blogging journey in much the same way as I started my author biography–by making my niche of future fans up.
Dear Future Fan (cont’d): If you like mystery and fantasy stories, I’m glad you found me. I have no idea if you’re male or female, if you’re a boomer or a millennial or a Gen-Xer or a Gen-Z type person. I have no idea where you live, what you look like, if you prefer dogs or cats or hamsters (but snakes and/or tarantulas are a no. Sorry.).
Some questions for my future fans, so we get this whole making up a niche thing down.
Do you have a favorite Crayola crayon color? I used to have a thing for the Asparagus color, but these days I’m digging Mango Tango.
Do you have a favorite mystery movie? I do -> Clue.
Do you have a favorite science fiction movie? Mine -> Space Balls.
What’s your favorite fantasy movie? The Princess Bride, and do you see a pattern here?
I do think you like a good dead body (or two or four), and maybe a little bit of magic thrown in (the more the merrier). And, of course, a good chuckle every once in a while. I hope we can have some fun together. And, perhaps, maybe even get to explore some great stories.
2. Writing funny is hard. I love mystery and fantasy stories, but there’s only so much you can talk about dead bodies and magic. I have a naturally dry sense of humor that comes off quirky at the best of times. Coming up with humorous answers to made-up questions was a lot trickier than first anticipated. Luckily, one of my favorite podcasters, Joanna Penn came to my rescue with an interview with Scott Dikkers, co-founder of The Onion. (Not that I’ll ever write as funny as Scott Dikkers, but a girl can dream).
Dear Future Fan (cont’d): I tell dumb jokes a lot, dumb because usually I’m the only one to get them. But I’m not a humorist by trade or training, so my apologies in advance. I do like to laugh everyday. But let’s make a deal. If you would promise to give me honest feedback on this blog, I will promise not to crawl under the covers and hide for three days every time someone comments. Deal?
3. This blogging thing is work. Persistence, persistence, persistence! That was another key piece of advice. Post regularly, don’t stop. It takes time to build up an audience. The problem is when you don’t have any idea what your audience wants to talk about?
Dear Future Fan (cont’d): This is supposed to be fun, right? This isn’t supposed to be <…gasp…> work? Can we treat this whole blogging situation like, dare I say, just some friends getting together over their favorite caffeinated beverage of choice (Harney & Sons Earl Grey tea is my current fave), talk about what we’re bingeing (right now, Billions on Amazon Prime), and what our current obsessions are (at the moment, I have this thing with owls).
Okay, we did it, we reached the end of this first blog post and I don’t think anyone’s head actually imploded.
Dear Future Fan (cont’d): Thanks for sticking with me. This stuff might turn out to be fun after all. Cheers!