Want more of the right readers? Be yourself

Does your online persona match your real life personality?

Or do you – like so many – take on what you might see as a more literary demeanor online or in your newsletter because you think readers expect that of someone with the title “author?”

If you’re not being your true self, please reconsider.

I’ll explain why using a recent experience I had.

So I signed up for a newsletter . . .

I regularly add myself to email lists to study “lead magnets” (those incentives offered to give up your name and email address) and how marketers communicate with their lists.

I did this last week at a site owned by a woman who teaches people how to earn money as freelance writers – “even if you have NO experience!” As someone who does have experience, I was interested in what she had to share.

But I’m not so interested anymore.

It was clear in the first email I received that I’m not in her target audience – I’m not her ideal reader.

How do I know that?

She said what?

It was clear to me that we weren’t a good match because while being herself, the marketer used an “f-bomb” in the second sentence.

Don’t get me wrong. I can swear with the best of them – and I do (too much, in fact).

But when I’m in work mode, I don’t want f-bombs in my inbox.

right readers 2If I had taken the time to read her “about” page before adding myself to her list, I would have known what to expect. Her sort-of bio includes “asshole,” “what the actual ‘f-bomb’,” and “shit sundae.” (Can you believe I found an image of that?)

I’ll confess that the f-bomb in her opener did keep me reading, though, because I wanted to see what else would make me think, “We aren’t a good fit.”

Don’t call me lazy

I found it a few paragraphs and a dozen emojis later.   😆

The marketer’s message included a link to a video and this text: “If you need to XXX but you’re too lazy to watch a 16-minute YouTube video that will literally walk you through how to XXX, you’re probably too lazy to XXX.” (I replaced specifics with XXX to protect her identity.)

Substitute “busy” for “lazy” and she might have been speaking to me.

But she wasn’t. And that’s OK.

This is how it should be. She doesn’t want to continually email someone who will never buy from her, regardless of the reason.

It’s not just me!

One of my author subscribers had a similar experience last year.

She added herself to the list of a young male marketer who, she quickly learned, used foul language and imagery in his emails. She wondered what to do about it.

I advised her to unsubscribe from his list.

Easy enough, right? Poof! The offensive content is gone.

By being himself, the marketer targeting authors was appealing to someone like him – young, male, crude. He might have been doing this intentionally because those are the people he wants to work with — or he might not have even been thinking about that.

Regardless, it was clear that my author friend, a baby boomer female, wasn’t his ideal reader.

Be you

What can you learn from our experiences and others like them?

To be yourself.

Just be yourself in your email newsletter, on your blog, and on social media.

This is important because research shows that birds of a feather actually do flock together. People gravitate to people who like the same things they do.

That includes books.

You will attract the right readers

right readers 3So if you like what you write – if you’re writing the types of books you like to read – then others who are comfortable with your style and personality will be attracted to you and your work.

Stop striving to be like another author you admire. Sure, you can use some of the same strategies and tactics if that author is successful, but while doing so, put your own spin on it.

Remain true to you, whether you’re an f-bomb dropper or wouldn’t swear in public if your life depended on it.

Let the real you shine through. You are enough. You are the you we want to hear from.

Have you had an experience like ours and realized that you weren’t a good fit based on the marketer/author/consultant’s personality? What did you see that showed you that?

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  1. Sandy,

    There seems to be an increasing number of entrepreneurs and marketers who use”f-bombs” and similar language that I find jarring for business communication. Like you, it’s not because I don’t use similar words in private conversation, but because I make a differentiation between public and private communication.

    I’m pleased when the online persona matches the authentic personality of authors or other public figures. Thus, we must not be lured into following communication trends if they don’t match our true selves. Otherwise, we are misleading our readers and that’s bound to backfire.

      1. You’re right that it’s partly a generational thing. If it works to attract their ideal readers/clients, then good for them. I just wonder how they’ll view their language a few decades from now when this trend passes.

  2. Sandy, my eyes literally widened with your description of this “learn to be a freelance copywriter” huckster. But your point is so valuable. It’s worth it to take the chance on signing up for a site/newsletter/blog to see if your are the right audience, even when you unsubscribe almost immediately, having the answer to your question.

    As ever, love reading your posts and social media because you are yourself, and just the kind of person I want to hear from.

    1. Thank you, Marci! I have to be honest…I knew I wasn’t in her target audience because I’ve been freelancing faaaaar longer than she has. But I did want to see how she handled the marketing piece. Guess I found out!

      Isn’t it time for us to meet halfway for dinner?


  3. It’s funny, but I’ve noticed I have two voices. My author voice and my ‘Me’ voice. Thank you for this post as it gave me a lot to think about. In my blog and author page, I figured I needed to use my author voice all the time. Honestly, it gets tiring to painstakingly revise every word so it’s just how I want it or how my characters sound. It’s nice just to be me 🙂

    1. Aw, Rebekah, it’s so much easier to just be “you.” But you DO want to make sure your blog posts, etc., aren’t sloppy or they will reflect poorly on your books. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your own voice!


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