Finding an Audience

ellieinfluencer1

Now that the writing of ELLIE IS COOL NOW is wrapped (but new chapters are still being posted weekly on Wattpad — we like to keep y’all in suspense), I wanted to share a little bit about the ride.

First, some back story:

ELLIE IS COOL NOW is the rom-com I’m co-authoring under the pen name, Faith McClaren, and we publish chapters every week on the free reading platform, Wattpad.

My co-author, Alexandra Grizinski (pen name, Victoria Fulton), and I began posting our story at the end of May.

On August 27th, we were selected for a featured list on Wattpad, curated by the brilliant minds at Wattpad HQ.

One week later we were longlisted for the yearly celebration of storytelling known as the Watty Awards.

We were shortlisted.

Then we won.

It’s been a dream come true + a blast and there’s more to come.

But it didn’t happen by magic. (Okay, maybe a little magic. We are unicorns after all.) When Alex and I jumped aboard this train, it took a minute to find our seats in the first class cabin where all the popular books seemed to be hanging out.

Then we had an idea. A coffee-fueled epiphany.

And fortunately we knew exactly who we needed to help us make it happen.

Our friend (and Alex’s business partner), Jenny Beres specializes in Influencer Outreach Strategy. It’s a talent she’s employed with top clients and companies to get them the best advertising bang for their buck. So we thought, if she could do it with skincare, why couldn’t she do it with our book?

We know that what sets stories apart — in any sense, and not just on Wattpad — is reader engagement. On Wattpad, that meant numbers. Eyes on the story. Votes. Comments and interaction. In a sea of free content, what brings new readers is visibility.

Jenny used her skills as “the LeBron James of Influencer Outreach” (direct quote from her Linkedin), to create an influencer campaign at a price point we were excited about.

That campaign began the first week of August.

Now, if you’ve read this whole post (hi, you’re awesome) then you’ll know all the baller sh*t hit the gilded fan the third week of August.

It is not a coincidence. It’s a direct result of marketing.

This week we climbed over the 60k reads wall. We get to share our story with readers who LOVE it. We have found our spot by the window in the first class cabin and we just ordered a bottle of champagne.

I know a lot of us are writers with books coming out – or already out. Many will be writers with books coming out. To most of us — myself included — marketing is an opaque and terrifying orb of mystery. But here is an example of when it worked.

I would love to hear: have any of you used influencer outreach for any of your books?

Let me know in comments!

xo,

Rebekah

“I think we should see other people.”

I’ve been struggling to blog these past couple weeks. It’s not that I haven’t had topics to discuss or thoughts to share, but it’s that when they grab me, I’m not sure I want to share them. Coming to the end of a revision always leaves me feeling a little lost. My main characters voice grows quiet, and with her absence I’m left a little hollow.

When you spend a lot of time talking to characters, bickering about how things are going to go or examining their motives, their feelings, their world, your world, your motives, your feelings can get tossed to the wayside. This may not be true for all writers, but it is for me.

I can disconnect a little too much from myself while writing. This particular revision maybe even more than the others, the disconnect was more acute. I can’t pinpoint the reason, other than this revision has been the most in depth. I spent a lot of time examining character arcs, not just my main character and her counterpart/love interest, but the other significant characters. I learned so much about them, and fell so much more in love with them, or more in hate in the case of the villain (although, honestly, villains rock my world, so…), that each one took on a life inside me.

When the bulk of the revising was finished, and what was left was minor tweaks, my characters voices left me with a whoosh. In their place were bouts of melancholy and aimlessness.

I was forced into actual conversations with living people. (Weird.) I went shoe shopping and got overwhelmed by all the selection. Too many and yet, nothing. (Sad.) I realized people in my life needed help, mine or someones, and those muscles were out of practice. (Woah.)

The past couple of weeks have been a little eye-opening. Getting away from my MC was scary at first. It’s like being away from your codependent boyfriend. Will he stop loving you or you stop loving him if you have breathing room? If you can’t see him, will he still think about you? The answer is hold on, simma. (Do you guys remember that skit on SNL?) That’s not how it works, and not ever how it should be, and if it is, there’s something majorly wrong there.

My advice to any writer coming up to the end of a revision: don’t be afraid of a little distance. Your characters won’t die without you. In fact, it’s only by distance that you can allow readers to fall in love. Or that you can handle feedback when it comes. Or that you can accept more edits. Eventually your words will, hopefully, be loved by many others. They won’t care about how you feel about your characters, because your characters become theirs.

That why we write, isn’t it? I know that’s one reason I love to read. Here’s a funny post from buzz feed illustrating that very thing. So, to sum up, the end of a revision is not a break up, it is a girls night, a boy night, a moms weekend. It’s you and your characters seeing friends so that you don’t kill each other. It’s wonderful, and hopefully, fruitful.