Have you ever noticed how some people act like one person online and seem to be totally different in person? I daresay most of us are a different person at our day job, and even another one at church, shopping, or at conferences and/or on a business trip.
And don’t even get me started about vacations where nobody knows your name? You know, taking that old saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," literally.
Seriously, I’m not talking about people with hidden agendas, being two-faced, or some dark and sinister secret that would shock our socks off. Nothing that dramatic. I’m just thinking about how many of us only show readers the fancy photoshopped headshot instead of the real us.
Social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging, etc.—is changing us. We’re more apt to be open about who we really are. Good thing? Yes, if you have nothing to hide. :)
I’ve always been a fairly private person. I’ve never liked sharing my thoughts, my dreams, my passions, my likes and dislikes overmuch. I don’t know if I’m more confident in being me as I age or if the need to be accessible to readers has made me more relaxed.
Readers love authors to be authentic. But what does that look like?
It starts with being confident in who you are and what you like. Pick five things you’re passionate about. Five things that you enjoy doing. Five things that given time, money, and/or energy, you would do every day. If you could drop everything RIGHT NOW, what passion or project would you pursue? I’m not talking about impossible things, or traveling the world necessarily, I’m talking about real, every day things that make you smile.
So, to get this train rolling, I'll start. Here’s my list.
Health (Food, Exercise, Being Active) - I never thought I’d be that person sharing pictures of my food on the internet. Seriously, who wants to see what I eat? But about three months ago, I started sharing my plated meals on Instagram because I was coaching a friend who was following the same eating plan I was, and she was having trouble coming up with ideas. Amazingly, other friends, family, and readers seemed to embrace the idea. Lately my active posts have been walking with grandkids, but it’s real, down to the messy hair and sweaty clothes. But even my outdoor activities dovetail with some of my other interests.
Grandkids - Yes, I’m of that age where cute grands get a lot of airtime online. Some people choose not to post photos of kids/grandkids online. My children share photos, and they're okay with me doing it as well.
Books (Reading, Writing, Research, Promotions, etc.) - This section is a huge part of my online presence. I post quotes and reviews from my books, my research, sales, new releases, my friends’ books, writerly quotes. I blog about historical tidbits I’ve researched, share photos that I’ve snapped. Again, many of these stem from my life in the country.
Memes - I put this in its own category because memes, photos, staging, inspirational quotes all interest me. Some of those cover a lot of ground, but if we’re being real and honest and showing readers all kinds of fun things that interest us, they'll feel a kinship with us.
Farming, Ranching, Rural Life - I’m a country girl. Farm life is all I’ve ever known. So when I post photos of our cows, the deer or turkeys in our front yard, or helping my husband bale hay, then that’s authentic and real.
Now, share your list in the comments and then let’s get real about sharing those with your readers on social media. And, remember what I said about impossible dreams? Seriously, if being a world traveller is a passion of yours but hasn't happened yet, there's nothing to stop you from sharing photos, research, and tidbits about the places you long to visit.
Keep it real, keep it fun, and keep it YOU. Your readers will love you for it.
In anticipation of the release of The Crossing at Cypress Creek,
I'm hosting a giveaway at my website.
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