by Laura Drake
I'm the last to chime in on the throwdown. In case you missed the others, here's Fae's, Julie's, and Jenny's We didn't mean to do them in order from 'hate it' to all yay, but that's how it worked out.
All of us here at WITS knew when we came up with this throwdown, that I'd be on the, 'Oh, hell yes', end of the spectrum. I love me some social media. Why?
First, it fits my Golden Retriever personality. I love people. (I do try not to shed or drool on them.) I'm a crazy-extrovert.
Second, I moved to West Texas 5 years ago, leaving my friends and strong writing community behind. I am a motorcycle riding, Yankee city-girl in the middle of the country. I open my mouth and they know I'm not from around here, and from their expressions, they're not sure what to do with me. I'm working to build the tiny writing community here, but I don't have any close friendships. So when I’m not writing or working out, I’m pretty much online. And thanks to that, I have a strong platform.
I’ve been reading everyone else’s posts and comments on the throwdown and come to realize there’s some misunderstandings out there about social media:
- No one cares what you’re eating—not even your mother.
- Likes, hearts and emojis and # of followers aren’t like gift stamps; you can’t trade in 100,000 of them for a blender.
- If you’re only on social media to sell your book, you’re doing it wrong.
- You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, a radical, funny, or anything else that you’re not.
What social media IS about, is connecting. And as an author, if you’re not looking to network, connect, or have people get to know of you and your writing, why publish? You could write, stick it in a drawer, repeat.
When I first moved here, I heard about a writer’s group that met at the local library. There, I met a really old guy who’d written a book of short stories—remembrances from his childhood. After the meeting, he glanced around to be sure no one else was listening, leaned in and gave me his nugget of wisdom about marketing. He told me to go to a local printer and have them bind my book (with a colored paper cover, so it stands out). Then take it to locally owned grocery stores (the chains won’t let you, imagine that) and ask if they’ll sell them for you. He said he sold a TON of copies that way (I didn’t ask how much each copy weighed).
Yeah, thanks, dude.
I'm in a fairly small town. There aren't a bunch of readers here. There are quad-zillions of people online, many of them readers. THAT’s the audience I’m going for. Social media is just the vehicle I use to get to my audience.
I tried a bunch of Social Media (I still don’t get Instagram, because of #2, above), but I found my favorite—
I don’t go there to sell. It’s where I go to be found. No politics, downers, or meanness—my profile is an oasis of all that is coffee, beauty, wisdom, funny or weird. People who like that are likely to like my writing—humorous, emotionally charged, but always an HEA. I post questions now and again, so I can get to know my followers. Things like: What was your best memory of last year? Name one thing we don’t know about you. Stuff like that.
And you know what? People who friend me tell their friends to friend me (wait—you and I ARE Friends, right?). So when I have a release, or something exciting in my writing life, I post it. Honestly, my writing posts are probably 1/50th of my postings. The rest of the time, I’m just having fun.
Okay, you may not be an extrovert. You may not want people to know ‘you’. No problem. You create characters for a living, right? Create your online persona! I’m not saying to lie to people, but all your characters carry a piece of you, right? Just show that piece, honestly and forthrightly (holy poop, two adverbs in a row—someone slap me!).
People are all the same, underneath. We seek to be seen, to connect and be understood. If you connect with them on those universal levels, they will respond to you. One of the coolest things for me is watching my followers get to know and connect with each other.
What is the ROI on all this? I can’t quantify it. But I have more followers now, AND more sales. Coincidence? I hope not.
Spreading the love, one post at a time. It’s what Golden Retrievers do!
What do you think? Have I talked you into putting your toe in the social media pool yet?