Or me, as the case may be. I’d like to talk about social media.
It’s a pretty hot topic in the hopeful author arena… One I picked up pretty early when I started to get serious about the whole, “Hey, I’d really like to be doing this writing thing full time.”
The world has changed. There are somewhere between a million and thirty bajillion aspiring authors out there. With the internet, it’s ludicrously easy to get contact information and start sending manuscripts places. That means big publishing houses are inundated with slush (first pass books that haven’t been given the “go ahead” to be read by more senior people – Most manuscripts are eliminated here).
That makes it harder than ever to find success as an author.
Or does it? The reality is that the internet also affords us the ability to self-promote. We can now write our novel, build an extremely valuable network of other authors, editors, publishers and (most importantly) readers, and then publish it to that network. You effectively get to cut out the middle man (Unless you want to consider Amazon your middle man).
It does mean, however, that if you want to go from slush to hot stuff, you need to engage in that marketing.
Authors today must leverage social media. Whether you are pursuing traditional publishing or self-publishing, you have to build a presence online for anybody to take notice.
To that end, I’ve started exploring what can be done. As a caveat – I somehow missed social media “growing up.” I’ve been all over the internet since it developed, and was hardcore into IRC, ICQ, AIM, all that good stuff back in the day. However, as we began to transition into Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, (Instapintwitterbook) and who knows how many more I’ve forgotten about, I somehow missed the boat. No clue what I was doing. Just happened to see it sailing off without me.
Time to play catch up.
Started the blog. Check. That’s the one I guess I understand the most. I could be crass and say it’s a diary you share with 100,000 of your closest friends, but the reality is that I’ve discovered it to be so much more. It’s a way to connect with people that share interests. It’s a hub of useful knowledge and tips for aspiring writers. It’s as much a part of my writing as the writing itself is these days.
What about Facebook?
I’ve known since college when there was a Facebook junkie working in an office with me (back when Facebook was limited to college students) that I would never be a Facebook guy. It essentially became your online address. These days, more so than a personal website, Facebook represents your personal presence. I know I need to get with that, but I have questions:
How do you keep your personal family and friends separate from your readers/audience/connections? Maybe I’m old fashioned, but there’s some personal space there I’d like to maintain.
What about Twitter?
I’m definitely Twitter curious. It seems easy, and yet so ridiculously intimidating at the same time. I’ve never been one to randomly post witty or ironic blurbs at random intervals for the masses. Not my thing. What I really want to know:
How does it help? Do you need to be posting often? What kinds of things would you post? And how in the world do you go from “I don’t really have friends, much less people who would follow me online” to thousands of followers? I’m not sure how to get there without being annoying.
Instagram and Pinterest
I’m lumping these together. I know my wife digs the pinterest thing. I’ve heard of authors who use this to pull together a bunch of images that work almost like a mindmap for their books… Or even just use Instagram for inspiration. I’m not a photocentric guy, as I’m sure you can tell by my unfortunate lack of images for my blog posts.
What other social media is out there? And does anybody have any answers to some of the questions I have above?