People spend their lives building their own kingdoms. As artists or writers, success is determined by how far our name-brand is spread over the “Empire” of the internet, world, community, and how much “gold” (money) we’ve amassed through the sale of our product.
When I first started exhibiting my paintings, friends, family, and fellow artists asked, ‘Have you sold?’ and ‘How many paintings have you sold?’
The fact that I had sold made me an authentic artist.
Same can be true as an author of two self-published works of fiction. Again, like a broken record, those interested asked, ‘How many books have you sold?’
Answer, ‘Er, um…not that many.’
Then the implication I should have gone through the traditional route of getting a publisher.
Yup, maybe, probably…still deciding if I’ll do that with future books, especially the travel ones that have many colour photos on glossy pages—the coffee-table variety. Not sure how I’d go…I mean, I’m not an unpublished “virgin” since I’ve gone ahead and self-published on Amazon. I got impatient, afraid I’d be left on the shelf with a pile of rejection letters, and my novel manuscripts languishing as a PDF-file on my computer hard-drive (the hard copies stored in a box in my closet).
So, I published The Hitch-hiker (a novella) and Mission of the Unwilling (novel), on Amazon a year ago. Check them out. You can download them for the cost of a cup of coffee and find out what mischief Boris gets up to.
After publishing, having a little launch in our South Aussie pre-Christmas summer sweltering in 40 degrees Celsius, then a DIY advertising with bookmarks, flyers and emails, I decided to do some research on how other Indi-authors built up their e-book kingdoms. There must be a secret method for digging up the buried gold of success in sales.
A mine of information was brought to light on my computer screen. I also discovered a precious nugget in an old Australian Artist Magazine—stand-out quality. In today’s language, I assume that means “brand”.
So, when at our SALA exhibition launch, a friend told me they knew which paintings were mine, that I had a unique style, I thanked them. I was on the right track with my “brand”.
But my books? Well, there’s Boris…albeit swamped by millions of other characters on Amazon. Who’d have thought, Boris and his evil plans thwarted by sheer numbers?
Then, I discovered a gem—blogging. Not in the way I anticipated, though. I had high hopes. With my blogging presence, out there, I expected sales to rise and hundreds of instant visitors to my blog-site. My works were brilliant, right?
My posts drowned under the deluge of millions of other posts, tweets, Facebook pages, and other more successful blogs. For weeks, I remained South Australia’s best kept secret. Even my mum couldn’t find me—not even with my help on her computer.
Fellow writers at my writers’ group suggested I needed to post articles more frequently, get those WWW-“neural”-pathways working by increasing traffic. Still, the site remained as lively as a cemetery.
Over time, I gathered a band of followers: friends, family, colleagues from church, writers’ and art group. Some interest ensued—all Australian—no likes.
Undeterred, I wrote and published posts once or twice a week. Writing, my therapy. The articles available for free, my gift to the world. I prayed that there’d be others out there who’d find my words, and consider them useful, inspirational, amusing.
Week by week, comments and likes (mostly from mum) trickled in. Then, a comment from someone I didn’t know…and a visitor from the United States. Oh, what joy!
A friend encouraged me. I’d improved since they first started reading my blogs. Yes, writing is a craft; the discipline and practice refined my skill to communicate.
I read posts from other bloggers. I liked the posts that resonated with me. I knew I must start commenting. Friends who had websites and blogs said that’s how you make your presence known in the blogging community. I usually read WordPress articles late at night and was concerned my comments would come across as sleep-garbled. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to comment. I think my first comment was about cats.
Each month, slow and steady, the number of followers, likes and visitors grew. My site on WordPress, the first place I visit each day when I open my computer. What countries have visited today? Check the emails. Who has liked me? Who’s following? Then, off I go and visit their sites and see what gems of writing, stories, photos, or paintings they have.
My world has opened—stories from every continent…and my stories shared around the globe.
The treasure I found by entering the world of bloggers, is not the gold I collect in my bank account for my own kingdom from my own works, but the cities of gold we share collectively as writers and artists. We put our stories out there and celebrate each other’s works.
So, a heart-felt thank you for all you who have followed, liked and visited my humble site—and thank you all for your stories, insights, artwork and photography.
I have been so blessed…
I’ve picked this verse from God’s Word because I feel if we all believed that the traditional way of publishing was our only option, many of our stories, and our voice, our light, would still be hidden.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”—Matthew 5:14-16
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
Photo: Gold at the end of the Rainbow, Waikerie South Australia © Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1983