Authorpreneur. If you are an author in this digital age, then you have a comprehensive understanding of what this term means. Authorship today is truly an exercise in entrepreneurship. For most of us, even traditionally published authors, we have to do a lot of our own marketing. We run our own blogs, manage our own social media platforms, search for our own PR opportunities, answer our own fan mail… we do it all on top of writing our books.
If you are an authorpreneur, then another term you are likely familiar with in this self-marketing landscape is “Imposter Syndrome.” We all feel it every now and then, to differing degrees and with differing frequency. We know it’s a silly thing to feel and that we should not let it affect our writing. But it’s not in our books that imposter syndrome is most prevalent. It is actually our social media marketing which is the most obvious place this inconvenient little insecurity shows its face.
It makes sense, if you think about it. You are not speaking as yourself in your books, but you are on social media. And how can you confidently boast about yourself and your work if you feel like a fraud? Like you are less than? Like you are playing at being an author? Especially when you don’t have tens of thousands of followers and your posts are lucky to land two likes, let alone hundreds.
The truth, though, is that no one is going to know that you feel like an imposter… until you point it out to them.
“But, I don’t do that, Veronica,” you might be thinking. “There is no way I am going to tell the world that I feel like a phony!” Weeellll… you might be doing it without even realizing. Here are some example “tells” that I often see of a writer’s imposter syndrome creeping into their social media marketing.
Blogs: “Sorry, guys. I haven’t posted for a really long time. I always struggle with what to post, and I have been really busy with my bathroom renovation lately. But I got this really cute mirror, and I wanted to show you all.”
Instagram: “Not sure if anyone will see this, but I found this inspiring quote the other day and just had to share it.”
Twitter: “I know I don’t exactly follow my own advice, but the key to completing your first novel is to write every day!”
Do you see it? The apology. The uncertainty. Entirely invisible and all in the author’s head until it’s spelled out loud and clear in writing. It says, “I don’t feel like I belong here.”
So what can you do about it if you find your own social media marketing efforts taking on this apologetic, uncertain tone? To start with, the obvious thing is to not apologize. It’s to believe you are an author and that people are interested in what you have to share. Whether you have 100,000 followers or three, don’t let your insecurities affect how you show up on social media.
Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry, that’s not my big advice. There’s a trick to it, and it’s called detachment. Here is how I do it:
When I am posting on social, or blogging, or reaching out for promo opportunities, I detach my “personas.” I am not Veronica Bale. I am her social media coordinator. I get it in my head that I am an employee who is being paid to manage Ms. Bale’s PR and social media marketing. I’m not insecure about anything, I’m just an employee doing her job, and I certainly don’t feel the need to apologize because Veronica hasn’t posted in a while or doesn’t think she has anything interesting to share or doesn’t feel qualified to offer writing advice. The Boss Lady wants a blog post about her bathroom reno? Sure thing. My job is to write the crap out of that post and get it up onto the blog. She wants to give writing advice? No sweat. My job is to find five things to post about, and create corresponding Insta-graphics.
That’s it. Posts up and marketed, job well done and dollar well earned. Imposter syndrome kept tight in its secret little box.
There is a famous Ernest Hemingway quote that goes: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” Ne’er a truer word was spoke. We authors are opening our souls and sharing an intensely personal experience with our stories. Imposter syndrome is as rampant amongst us as it is understandable. But we don’t have to keep bleeding when it comes to marketing ourselves. By detaching your marketing self from your writing self, it will become far easier to overcome that nagging, stubborn imposter syndrome and present a confident, qualified and valued face to the online world.