Sunday, June 28, 2015

Am I Doing This Right?

     By "this" I mean social media: Twitter, blogging, Facebook as a means of promotion as opposed to posting cat videos, etc. Though come to think of it, the question can apply to my entire life. Hmmm…it might be best to just stick with the social media aspect of the question, otherwise this post may be as long as my current novel in progress, which is growing like a weed.
     I've spent the past year looking into publishing my first novel. I'm still stuck on the idea of traditional publishing, although self-publishing is not out of the question. Either way, I've heard time and again that I will need to promote myself. Ick. Sales. Marketing. Publicity. It seems like someone's idea of a sick joke. Writers are some of the biggest introverts in the world, and we're expected to market ourselves? Talk ourselves up? Shove our websites in people's faces? Talk to people?  Real live human beings? Ahh! It's frightening. It's almost enough to make me give up. Almost. Since I refuse to give up, I will do the unthinkable and attempt to market myself.
     Back when blogging first started to become popular, I was completely against the concept. No offense to bloggers out there, but I used to think it was a pretty narcissistic thing to do. To me, it seemed like glorified journaling. I've since seen the error of that thought process, and not just because I'm now a blogger. Among other things, blogging gives a voice to people who might not normally have a voice. Despite having changed my mind about blogging, I balked when I learned that I might have to start a blog. Not because I still thought it was narcissistic, but because there was no way I would have time to blog. Finally, I realized there was no getting around it. I would have to blog. So I did. I share my posts on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
     I've now learned that just sharing on Facebook and Twitter isn't enough. I have to find other ways to promote my blog. I have to allow advertising, which can only be done once my blog reaches a certain standard of quality and readership. I have to reach out to other bloggers, get them to like me, volunteer to guest blog, promote myself on sights that talk about the topics I blog about. Ahh! Not only is that a ton of work, but I don't even know how begin to do those things.
     Back when Twitter first became popular, I was completely against the concept. Anyone sensing a theme here? I really just did not understand its purpose. I told myself I would only start using Twitter if absolutely necessary (I'd learned at that point to never say never). Well, apparently it is now absolutely necessary. Turns out, literary agents are all over Twitter. They tweet writing and submitting tips and share things on twitter that they don't share anywhere else. So at the very least, I had to join Twitter to follow agents.
     I've since learned the real purpose of Twitter. It is a wonderful, wonderful place to not only promote yourself, but mingle with people in your profession. In the short time that I've been on Twitter, I've learned many things from agents, and become acquainted with writers just like me. I think I'm actually enjoying it.
     I now tweet about my writing, share tips when I have them, retweet interesting tweets, and share my blog. But guess what? It still isn't enough. My tweets don't just have to be interesting, they have to be extraordinarily interesting. I have to tweet daily, but not so much that I irritate people. I have to choose optimum times of the day to tweet, so I get the most views. I'm also pretty sure that I'm supposed to be doing a lot of other things I haven't even heard of yet.
     So, back to my original question: Am I doing this right? I'm going to give myself some credit here and say I'm probably doing some things right. I've started putting myself out there, and that's something. Have I done everything I can to promote myself? No, not yet. But I've made a start. Baby steps are better than no steps.
     As always, thank you for reading. Remember: it's only fair to share, sharing is caring, share if you dare, click share while eating a pear, spare a thought for me and share, and don't forget to beware of bears.