Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Lessons of an Independent Author: The Power of Your Personal Story

I have a theory about how people read in our world.

Of course, I can't prove this theory without launching a massive research project, but if my theory is correct it influences how people buy and sell books.

Basically, my idea goes like this. With an increase in technology and access to information of all kinds, we (as a society) have become ever more fascinated by the lives of people we will never actually meet. This suggests that even an avid reader of fiction (like myself) yearns to know a little bit more about the person behind the book. We want to feel like this author would be our best friend, or at least would enjoy scintillating conversation over a cup of coffee.

[caption id="attachment_8458" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Who is the woman behind the book? Who is the woman behind the book?[/caption]

This isn't really a new theory. At one point psychoanalytic literary criticism suggested that  literature reflects the psyche (and life) of the author.  While this is not the only way of interpreting books (and often isn't even the most interesting way) it happens all the time. I see it in my theatre classes, when my students assume that a playwright must have been a certain type of person because he/she wrote about it in a play. They often try to decide which character most represents the playwright.

My mother, when she finished reading P.O.W.ER, called me to tell me how proud she was. "I can see some elements of you in the story," she said and then pointed some of those things out. I'm not going to tell you what they are or even if her observations are true. ;)

So anyway, back to my theory. Why is this important, you ask? When it comes to reading things in the blogosphere or on the web in general I am LESS LIKELY to read a piece of fiction than a piece of memoir or a discussion of a topic that the writer is truly passionate about. When it comes to buying books by debut authors I am MORE LIKELY to buy one from someone who I have made a connection with (through blogging or reading articles they have written) then from a stranger. Sure, I buy plenty of books written by people I don't know because I am a book addict, but nowadays (at least when it comes to buying paperbacks) I am more selective with less established authors.

So what does this mean for someone who doesn't have a huge social media reach? How does an author create interest in her books by making connections with readers?

One solution might be personal interviews and guest blog posts that reveal more than just your writing process. Of course, often the interview questions are similar from one place to another, so it is important to discover more truths about yourself and find interesting ways to express your ideas and let your readers know who you are. Inevitably, some answers will be the same--the general questions of what the book is about and things like that. But, maybe, as the journey into publishing continues, your perspective on your own work changes, or you discover new things about what you've written based on people's responses.

I think people want to know things like that. I believe that being honest and truthful in responses will help you find readers. The reality of publishing is that it takes more to sell your book than simply writing a good one. I think you have to make connections with readers in other ways.Of course, I still need to prove that with my own work, but I am willing to put it to the test.

Today at you can read my first interview for my


Also, in case you missed it, wander over to Laurence King's blog for my first ever interview about P.O.W.ER where you learn a little more about why I wrote this book.

Are you the type of readers who wants to know more about the author? What inspires you to buy specific books.