Ringing in the New Year feels quite different this year. There seems to be this underlying expectation that come 12:01am on January 1, 2021, the flick of a “magic wand” will wrap up one of the most challenging years in history and put us all back on track toward normalcy once again.
While I’ve yet to receive my crystal ball that tells me what we can expect next in this new normal (I think Amazon may still consider it to be “non-essential”), my New Year’s prediction is that we’ll still be navigating this unprecedented path come midnight. However, we’re still afforded this moment in time to reflect on 2020 and look ahead to a bit of a fresh start, so I share with you today five New Year’s resolutions every author should make in 2021.
1. Build More Connections
2020 has left many of us craving connection, on a personal and professional level. And as an author, your connections can play a vital role to the success of your book. Whether it’s a family friend who hosts a book launch party for you in their home, a colleague who writes you a glowing review, or a fellow author in your genre who you’ve come to befriend, these individuals are all a part of your tribe and those who will help spread the word. And they are likely doing so because they genuinely care and want the best for you and your book.
As you head into 2021, resolve to reestablish relationships that may not have weathered the storm of 2020, to reach out and offer to help others with whatever they may be working on, or to simply reconnect with some positivity to brighten their day. Even better, find other new authors in your genre—whether they’re in your local community or part of a writer’s group—and ask how you can help them with spreading the word about their book.
If we all lift each other up in small ways, we can reach new, exciting heights together!
2. Share Even More Knowledge
The pandemic brought with it an even greater call for sharing content online. As in-person trainings and conferences were cancelled, children and parents faced a new world of homeschool life, and our access to the world outside of our homes became more and more limited, we collectively turned to the internet to learn how to make our own bread, keep our teams engaged virtually, solve 4th grade math, and care for our own mental health.
It was inspiring to see how quickly authors and experts shifted to moving their work to the internet, whether it was through a webinar, regular blog, newsletter, virtual book launch, or online course. As authors, you all have a story to tell or information to share that could change the lives of others and I’m sure it often extends well beyond the pages of your book. Moving into 2021, commit to a new way of sharing your knowledge, or to expand what you’ve already been doing. It could not only help others along the way but builds opportunities for further engagement with your following.
3. Master Social Media
Often viewed as the necessary evil of author promotion, through all its faults and downfalls, social media has brought us together in incredible ways throughout 2020. And as an author, it proved to be all that much more important in building a fanbase and keeping those fans engaged.
If you’ve dug your heels in up until this point on establishing your social media presence, now is the time to let go and get active. But before you do that, it’s important to develop a mindset that you do not need to be everything for everyone on social media. Take the time to identify where your target audiences are spending their time and seeking out books and authors of interest to them. Once you’ve identified that top platform—whether it be Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn—start there. The same goes for those who may feel that they are spread too thin over multiple platforms already.
When it comes to social media, the two most important factors are:
- Maintain a social element to your presence by not only staying active in your own content sharing but are commenting, liking and sharing the work of others as well.
- Deliver consistent, worthwhile content. You’ll have greater impact with a focused, dedicated effort to maintaining one social media profile than three that feature lackluster, irregular posting.
Social media is here to stay and, while it will continue to evolve with new platforms emerging every year, it’s critical that, as an author, you embrace what feels authentic to you and make a conscious effort to spend more time in this space.
4. Prioritize Community Outreach
We’ve seen inspiring stories of communities coming together throughout 2020 to save local bookstores and other small businesses, and to help one another in their times of need. 2021 will hopefully bring an end to this incredibly challenging time for so many but we must not forget the opportunities for connection and support that lie in our own backyard.
As an author, it’s tempting to want to “go big” and reach audiences well beyond the limits of our neighborhoods. But let’s all resolve together to make our communities a top priority in how we build awareness for our books. Make note of local bookstores and libraries that you can approach for an event or to donate a copy of your book for their shelves. Think outside of the box to local cafes, schools and other businesses whose regulars might greatly benefit from your knowledge. Connect with a local writer’s group—or start one if you find it doesn’t already exist—to share ideas and opportunities for collaboration.
Beyond the creative and supportive energy this will pump back into your community, your efforts likely will not go unnoticed and word of mouth could quickly spread, taking you and your book to the next town over, the next city beyond that, and to other audiences you didn’t know were possible.
5. Write Authentically
If there’s one positive thing 2020 has given us, it was the moments of reflection that reminded us of what’s most important in our lives. So, I leave you with one final resolution:
In 2021, write from your heart. Trust your gut. Take pen to paper and write the book you’ve been holding on to, unsure if others will accept or like it.
Have faith in who you are as a writer—or who you want to be—and authentically share your voice with the world.
We all deserve those feelings of fulfillment and joy when we get to be the truest version of ourselves so I encourage you to grab 2021 by the horns and make it the year you share your passion with as many people as possible. With your new author resolutions ready to go, your best year yet awaits you. 2021 will truly be a “new chapter” for all!