Social Media and Authors
I don't have any of this author stuff figured out. Do any of us? Writing the book is the easy part (well, sort of); I know how to build the world, researched how to bring my characters to life. If it's not that, the writing, I don't have a clue. It's a guessing game for me. I think that is my biggest struggle with social media marketing. I don't know what to post; what to create.
What do people want to see? I ask myself this all the time. Then I wonder why they would want to see that? Is it too much like everyone else's posts? Am I standing out on my own enough?
Before long, it hits.
That dreaded feeling that I am just doing this to gain followers, to achieve something that I never really wanted.
Don't get me wrong; I want followers. However, I don't want the numbers. I don't want my readers to feel that is all they are to me is a number that will perhaps bring in a profit. I've never fancied that. I'm far too empathetic for that kind of business. Social media is going nowhere; it is also a necessity for my business. I'm not too fond of the take it pulls from us, the poor mindset it gives us because we aren't where so and so are, or we don't have the followers. If I have one follower, that's okay with me—quality over quantity, and all that jazz. I want to expand and have people see my work, but…
I want realism.
I want compassion.
I want to support and be supported.
I want a community to build you up with my words, my novels, my posts.
I have been submersed in nothing but darkness. My only light was the words between the pages in a book. It was escaping into a world where I could pretend that my world wasn't dark and bleak at the time. Social media wasn't a place for authors at that time, so forming a connection with characters was all I could give.
Since I was a child, writing has been a way for me to express myself in a way I could not do verbally. I never thought I could make a career out of that. That has always been a dream of mine. To help people with the words I have written. Then self-publishing came along, and I took the plunge into the deep end.
I don't only want large numbers and people gushing over me; I want connections. I want people to read my stories and say, "yes, she gets it," and then allow that connection to build from there.
Because I do understand.
So I don't know how to do the marketing aspect well. I don't know what picture to post on Instagram. I don't know the perfect angle. I don't know any of it. More days than not, I am googling just how to do that. My learning is always happening, even with my writing. I am constantly researching better ways or different ways. My stack of resource books is miles high at this point.
But all of those things began to weigh on me terribly. To the point, I wasn't sure if I could do this anymore.
Last year I backed off from my business, including social media. I continued writing and doing all the background things readers don't see, but even that wasn't the same. However, I felt good about the absence. I felt like I was moving back to my old self pre-publishing. I was writing for myself again and writing with a purpose. I wasn't letting the outside world tell me how to write, what I should write, or any other thing that would deter my writing. I wasn't sharing to social media to appease some unknown algorithm. I was sharing to share at that point. Nothing was driving me with a purpose other than I had to post, or I would get lost among the sea of other's posts.
It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do - or should I say how I wanted to do it. I believe it was in August when I started getting into a groove of what I wanted to do with my business, where I wanted it to go.
I don't know if I was the only one that noticed it, but since probably February, there has been this weird feeling throughout the virtual worlds.
People were posting to post kind of feeling. Like there was no creativeness for creatives. I'm used to feeling that on my own, not along with everyone else at the same time, you know? That same old feeling of social media exhaustion hit me. I wasn't writing stories. I wasn't do anything but trying to gain followers.
So there I was again, traveling down a road I didn't want to be on. I pumped those brakes harder than I ever have, resulting in me taking another step back—just a week.
That's all it took this time. Just a week, and my mind knew what I needed to do.
After six years of publishing, I have decided that it can either make me or break me. But I feel confident that it is the best decision for me.
I am starting over.
Everything I once knew is being thrown out the window, and I am letting the fresh air sweep its way in.
Above all else, I am a writer. A writer who is passionate about her words (I hope this is true for most all writers), and wants to support, who wants to offer compassion, and who wants to build a community.
So this my advice to you all, yes, social media is a crucial part of our business. It is needed. But what we do not need to do is let it rule every move, every thought that we make.
I still do not have all the answers; I never will. But what I have is a sense of purpose. I won't allow social media to take something special away from me, from you. I won't let it take my hope, my dreams, or my success.
I will build my empire brick by brick, and I won't lose my sense of self to a faceless thing.
So from here on, I'm going to be sharing more of the process. What drives my writing. I'm going to bear the real me as I have always wanted to do but have been too scared to do it. Empowering you along the way and building that bridge between the screen.
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An author just sharing her journey to encourage others to take the plunge.