Last Friday I introduced you to my new look blog and explained why I had renamed it and focused it on a theme that connects my writing and reading habits. I promised you a guest post from the indie author Shalaena Medford who inspired and helped me with these changes, so here it is! Over to you, Shalaena…
Hello readers and fans of Chantelle Atkins! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read my guest post to this very lovely author’s blog.
You read in her previous blog post about changes she has been making to her website. I also have been making changes to mine according to the things I’ve learned in my New Media course at Southern New Hampshire University. (Yep, you read that right, I’m a darned Yank from the States! Don’t worry, I will not be tossing any tea. I love tea.)
Right off the bat we learned one major thing, which is that this is not about us. Yes, our selfish little scribbler’s hearts, with its ego-centric blinders focused on arguing “But it’s MY book, and MY website about ME!!” Yes, this is true. But when we treat it that way it’s like sitting down with that one friend we all have that somehow makes everything about them.
“Oh, I just bought this lovely book and—”
“Well I saw the movie twice and I don’t think the book is worth picking up.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to hit speaker number two for three reasons. One: don’t interrupt, you egocentric prat! Two: Who cares that you’ve seen it twice? No one asked for your opinion, anyway. Now sit down and let the other person finish telling you about this book! Three: You’re not going to read the book because you saw the movie? That’s the point where I (in the words of Ryan Reynolds) “have trouble listening to the rest of our relationship.” Seriously, you’re going to judge the book by what you saw in the movie? Excuse me. I have to go do…something else.
So reading that MY website isn’t about me was jarring. Then I realized, it’s not that it isn’t about the author, it’s that it isn’t FOR the author. My website isn’t for me. It’s for my fans. It’s for you guys! You fabulous readers who pick up bound sheaves of tree skin with tattoos on them (most wonderfully colorful description of a book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading) and get lost in the worlds that we, the authors, have created for you. So why wouldn’t our sites be for you? A place where you can sit down and explore all the nooks and crannies and feel right at home.
So then I had to stop and think about not just my steampunk series, but all of my works. What they’re about, who the main characters are and who they speak to. Who are my readers? Chantelle writes about outsiders. I realized my main characters, and my readers, are misfits, or what I call the “socially abstract.” But my characters are at that point where they’re looking for the place where they fit in, or at least still trying to accept that they will always be on the outskirts of most social circles. My characters, like my readers, are still growing and learning to become comfortable in their own skin.
Once the reader type had been established, it was only a matter of finding out what they would like to see and what would engage them. I’ve set up a “share your story” page for those who have triumphed in their own small way (i.e. coming out, standing up to a bully, etc.), and I share their stories in my blog. In their own words. Because we all deserve a voice, no matter how insignificant we feel.
When I had a good grasp on what I was doing for my website, I decided to pass along the information to Chantelle. I’d been reading her articles for ages, which led me to follow her on Facebook, and eventually message her (mostly to ask who does her fantastic covers! I’ve since hired the same artist for one of my upcoming novels) and try to connect. It’s only recently we began talking more, and I am so glad we have. Chantelle is a genuinely wonderful person. While I haven’t had the pleasure of reading more than a page of her works, I think her writing is absolutely wonderful. But I’m sure you already know that!
So, here’s to Chantelle, for gracing us with her words.
And here’s to you, the readers of the world, who give authors like us a purpose. Enjoy Chantelle’s page (or mine if you really want to pop in and see what sort of crazy is going on in there). Because it was made for you.
Thank you for reading!
Remember to always stay abstract!
~Shalaena Medford: Author, Editor, Designer, Weirdo~
(Blushing! Thank you so much to Shalaena for writing this guest post for my blog and for helping me so much lately! I know she would love to connect with you also on her blog Socially Abstract. You can also follow her page on Facebook and link up on Twitter. And if you’d like to check out her work, here is her page on Pronoun.
This is the first guest post I’ve published to my blog and thanks to the wonderful writers I have connected with over the years, there will be many more to come! If you would like to submit something to post on my blog then do get in touch. If writing related, then any topic is fine. If it’s fiction or non fiction then something along the outsiders theme would be brilliantly received. See you on Friday!) Please feel free to comment below!