“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”
I spent a little time visiting blogs and web sites today. I don’t do it as often as I should, because keeping up with the publishing industry and writing in general can be a daunting task.
Advice flows across these sites like a wide river, enticing the reader to stop and dip a toe in or, in my case, get sucked in for long periods of time while I lose myself reading interesting tidbits. I find out about new releases from favorite authors, worry over the affects the economy is having on the publishing industry and what will happen now that e-books have exploded. I mentally commiserate with other writer’s who blog about their trials and tribulations, laugh over anecdotes they share and get to do it all from the comfort of my office. Most days it is a pleasant way to spend time.
Occasionally, I will read something that makes me stop and consider a point that is being made on a deeper level. That happened today. There are all kinds of opinions circulating in regards to an author having to find creative ways to stay in the collective conscious. A publicity machine backing your newest release is not often an option for those just beginning their careers. Much is being asked of the author to promote their own work.
What has been repeatedly touted is the need for an author to have a presence beyond a book on a shelf. What does that mean? Sometimes it is as simple as a bookmark that you can give away or as complex as hosting a blog, a web site or having a twitter account. With all the noise in our daily lives it gets harder to be heard, harder to get shelf space for a new untried author and suddenly writing isn’t just about writing a good story anymore. It becomes about putting ourselves out there, showing up and raising our hands to catch a potential reader’s attention so they will find our book. We spend our own money to help launch our creation in the hopes we will recoup our investment on the back end and garner enough attention we help our sales.
I am a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to joining the cyber highway. It wasn’t until my book was almost ready for release that I finally got this blog up and running. I joined Twitter thinking that would be easy (Ha! 140 characters to say something is hard work!) and finally after much whining and, well, more whining, I added an author Facebook page.
Want to know what I discovered? I actually like blogging. Who knew? I get a thrill every time someone visits and actually leaves a comment. When I get a notification my tweet has been re-tweeted I breathe a sigh of relief because I managed to say something worth passing along. Better yet, it is pretty darn awesome when someone tweets something good about you. And Facebook – I quit whining. Okay, maybe I just slowed down a bit.
Social media is a challenge and could take over my life if I let it. It hasn’t been easy finding the rhythm that works for me, but I think I am getting there. I make a point of leaving a comment when I visit a blog nowadays. I want the author to know I enjoyed what they took the time to write. It is all about give and take and making connections and new friends.
Will my efforts help my sales in the long run? I haven’t a clue. It will be fun to find out though.