I enjoy having a blog, and I enjoy the time I spend on Twitter, for the most part.
But I’ll admit that the idea of having thousands of Twitter followers someday kinda freaks me out.
[As for the idea of having tens of thousands of followers . . . it’s a good thing I’m not wearing a turtleneck. I’d be ripping it off right now — and probably altering it with a scissors.]
It sounds ridiculous, I know. I should be wanting to collect as many die-hard followers who actually care about what I write. I’ve read enough about how I’m supposed to have a strong platform before I even launch my first book.
But, to be honest, the whole idea scares me.
One of the people I’m following on Twitter has over 10,000 followers, and the other day, she shared the fact that she’d received 100 notifications. For someone who likes to check out every follower profile before following back and who likes to acknowledge every attempt to connect, this sounds like way too many.
Because what I’m really afraid of is having so many followers that I miss out on someone’s attempt to connect with me. I don’t want even one of my followers to feel that he or she doesn’t matter to me — or not enough to make me want to respond in a timely manner.
I know how I feel when I’ve tried to connect with someone who has so many followers, they just never get around to responding to my multiple attempts to connect with them — either to thank them for their books or to ask a question or even when I answer a question they pose to their followers.
I have the luxury of having few people to respond to on a daily basis. If I were to receive fifty or more notifications every day, I’d have to spend much more time on Twitter than I do now, and I don’t know that I’d be able or inclined to do so.
Besides this, I’ve been reading a lot of articles and blog posts about how I must — I simply must — have an e-mail list for blog followers to subscribe to.
I don’t want an e-mail list. I cringe at the thought of having to write a newsletter to send out to 1000+ email subscribers every month. I don’t even read most of the ones that land in my own inbox. I skim over most of those with titles or subject lines that sound interesting. I delete those that don’t.
I connect with more people on my blog, on their blogs, and on Twitter than I’m ever likely to connect with using a newsletter. So, why do I need an e-mail list, anyway?
What can I give my subscribers to reward them for their permission to send them emails on a regular basis?
What do I have to offer those who show up, ready to read what I’ve written?
And then comes the question I’ve never been good at answering:
What do I really want, anyway?
or What do I want to accomplish — before I die?
Part of that question I can answer. I want to write and sell my novels and non-fiction books and thereby earn enough money to eliminate debt and make it easier for my family to make ends meet each month.
My eventual goal is to earn a decent five figures each year by writing. I think it’s a reasonable goal. From what I’ve read, it’s attainable, though it’ll take work.
A lot of work.
And time. No one becomes a well-established and widely-read author within one year’s time — or with just one book. All the writers I know of who are doing well have several books written and published.
The other part of the “what do I really want” question, though — the part that goes deeper and touches on the ultimate purpose of my life and all that I do with it — is harder to answer. It’s not a comfortable question.
I’ve always been better at answering the question, “What do you not want?”
I didn’t want to be an engineer or a computer programmer. I didn’t want to be a teacher (to other people’s kids, though I thought it would be easier and more fitting to be my own kids’ teacher). I didn’t want to get my driver’s license — until I did.
I don’t want to get a Master’s degree. I don’t want to color my gray hair. I don’t want bifocals — not yet, anyway.
And I don’t want an e-mail list.
So, I Googled several authors whose books I enjoy reading to see how many of them actually collect e-mail addresses and send out newsletters.
Some of the authors I Googled collect the e-mail addresses of those who want to receive updates. So, I don’t really expect to see any e-mails from them unless they have a new book they’re getting ready to launch or if there’s something else newsworthy they want to share with their readers.
They don’t write regular blog posts, though. And they don’t write monthly newsletters.
One of them didn’t even collect e-mail addresses. Her website included information on her novels, and she welcomed comments and questions by her readers, but she didn’t send out newsletters or even e-mail updates. I don’t mind, since I keep tabs on her new novels through Amazon.
It helps to check out the websites and blogs of favorite authors, if only to see what they do and get a better sense of what I want to provide for my own readers.
What about you? How much of a platform do you want to create for your own work? Do you want thousands of followers, or would you be happier with a smaller number of more closely-connected members of your writing and reading community?
Do you see yourself sending out regular newsletters to your readers and subscribers? Or maybe just the occasional update e-mail when you’re gearing up to launch a new book?
Or do you prefer something different from what you’ve seen other authors provide? I’d love to read about it, so please leave a comment below.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great week! 🙂