Be The Man, Not Just The Suit


oh what are you mad at meA security breach? Okay, that was definitely not me. In fact, normally under those circumstances I’d suspect Loki, but given that he’s implicated, that seems illogical. Unless he genuinely thought he was in the right and was trying to mock his brother, but he never struck me as being stupid – quite the opposite. So now that we’ve established we’ve no idea how those emails got out, I guess someone should take them down…

…but actually it’s quite a good point, so maybe I’ll just use them as a springboard for this post and then go back to fiddling with our internet security and email encryptions, since somebody has clearly got through it.

Thor’s right: nobody likes a spammer. (I don’t know if our readership has a lot of crossover with ‘people who have seen Monty Python’ but all I’m getting right now is, “I don’t like spam!” There you go. Monty Python has spoken and thou shalt not spam thy followers because it is a silly thing to do.)

However, it can be very difficult to know what else to do, especially when we first go out onto the internet. We’re afraid of showing our true face. Maybe we’re scared that people won’t like us, or we think they’ll be bored. Pro tip: the minute they get bored, they’ll leave. So if they’re still there, you’re doing something right.

It might seem unlikely, but I’ve been in this exact situation. See, when I first built the suit I kind of didn’t want the whole world to know that I was inside it, so I went anonymous. The suit was like a disguise, an alibi, an avatar. I took that thing flying, and guess what? People were suspicious, frightened, and they assumed it was a weapon.

Honestly, if they hadn’t been so busy trying to destroy it, I’m pretty sure I would’ve been ignored to a point where your middle school loneliness seemed like a happy clappy idealistic lifestyle.

That’s what you’re like every time you tweet nothing but links to your work, even if you occasionally retweet somebody else’s. You’re a suit with nobody in it. You know how you make a hero? You lift up the mask and let people see what’s inside, and then they start liking you and trusting you.take off mask

Twitter’s a key tool for writers because you can reach a lot of people that you don’t know, but it’s very easy to get caught up in only self-promoting instead of the most important part of social media: building relationships. You might be thinking that you didn’t get into this writing lark to be sociable, and I get that. I’m not much of a team player either. But it’s important.

You see, if you meet someone and they instantly tell you about their book, you’re going to feel like they only view you as someone who could give them money, right? That’s not how you approach it.

Be human. Be the man inside the suit, not just the suit itself. Tell us about the dinner disaster that happened when Pepper left you in charge of cooking, or the fact that you’re stuck at a bus stop for forty minutes. Share with us the puns that made you laugh, the books that made you cry, and the struggles that made you punch walls violently out of sheer frustration.

And then when we have laughed with you and cried with you and supported you, then we might be interested in your book.

If one of my close friends writes something, of course I’m interested. They’re my friend. But I don’t care about a stranger on the street yelling at me that they’re a novelist as though they’re filling in for that one guy who’s been telling you THE END IS NIGH since 1994. So you need to make friends. Make people care what happens to you. Make them care if you succeed.

World domination’s one thing, but selling books is another. Don’t be a fool. We’re trying to persuade Loki to realise this, too, but it’s taking a while. Still, maybe he’ll catch on eventually…

-- Iron Man


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