Last week I mentioned that none of the agents and editors I spoke with were concerned that I had no platform for my novel, which is true. But it’s also true that once you have a book contract there’s an expectation that will change, and you will join the rest of the universe on social media.
I dutifully opened accounts with several sites, and have had varying levels of success and failure with each.
Conceptually, I love the idea of Pinterest. It’s a feel good place. Knowing that eventually I LIKED MY LIFE will no longer be naked, I opened an account and created a board pinning book covers I like. Then, I completely forgot about it until I sat down to write this post. I had the same problem with Instagram. There’s limited time. Focusing on one community is at the expense of others. I need to do a better job spreading the love without losing even more writing time.
I was told Twitter is a must. I’ll confess: it’s been a struggle. I battle with the onslaught of information, and the idea that if someone isn’t looking at their feed at the exact moment I retweet or post, the information will be swallowed whole by all the other information. My experience has improved as my knowledgebase strengthened. (Funny how that works.) I now have a list of my favorite authors I follow with great interest, I’ve mastered hash tags, and I enjoy participating in #5amwritersclub and #1LineWed. BUT … the Following/Followers count still gives me a nervous rash, and sometimes 144 characters isn’t enough to tell my hilarious jokes.
Facebook was the easiest to dive into. All my friends and family are on it, so I opened an account and a week later had a boat-load of friends. (Yes, I know the difference between Facebook friends and show-up-with-a-bottle-of-wine-when-you’ve-had-a-bad-day friends, but it’s fun to keep in touch peripherally with acquaintances, and FB is a low-maintenance way to do that.) I have a personal page and an author page. It’s easy to remember to stay engaged because the content excites me. I’ve discovered amazing closed groups of readers and writers where I’ve forged virtual friendships—something I never envisioned myself doing.
My only warning flare with Facebook is a cultural one: keep in mind that people only post their life highlights. I’ve had friends say things like, “I swear we’re the only family that wasn’t picking apples or at a pumpkin patch this weekend.” Don’t be fooled, people. No one snaps a shot of that time their kid missed the toilet and then their cell fell out of a pocket into the puddle of pee while cleaning up the mess.
(That is 100% hypothecical, of course. Something like that would never happen with my perfect children in our chaos-free, fun-loving home.)
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