The ubiquitous social media for authors

The ubiquitous social media for authors

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I realize all authors need a social media platform. Publishers look for it; readers look for it. No one yet has shown me how to communicate about the last book when my mind is on the one I’m presenting writing. I attended an instructional workshop (another one) on how to effectively use social media sponsored by my local Children’s Writers and Illustrators Association.  The excellent instructor reminded me that I must be authentic. Well, yes, I agree. The personality of the writer must come through to whomever is reading the post and the writer must at least care about what he or she is writing. It is not about selling; it is about connection. I understand that, and I truly appreciate readers who engage with me about the characters in my books. It’s just hard to do that when my mind has galloped down the future track with the next book.

Then there is the problem of “branding.” The reader who is seriously engaged in my book on adoptive parenting and has concerns for her child and needs to talk about it is not going to appreciate being part of a conversation about other books I write, particularly fiction. It seems that an author needs to be a different person or personae for each genre of books he or she writes.  And be authentic in each genre. That’s a challenge.

The publicist at Self-Counsel Press where my book Writing for Children and Young Adults will be released in September has been particularly helpful in showing me how to use my website more effectively and organize on Hootsuite. Her predecessor even had me come into her office with my computer and set everything up so it worked. All I have to do is slowly come to understand and become proficient by using it. There is no substitute for actual practise. I can’t just set up the program, admire it and forget it.

Some aspects of it are fun and, yes, they can take a lot of time. I made my first trailer for the book on adoptive parenting. I found a free program online and free photos and tried it. It was fun, but time consuming. I remember when I first graduated from university and took a job as a public health nurse, I had a secretary. Remember them? They typed letters for you. I conceived the ideas, communicated them to the secretary and she wrote the letters. Who has a secretary today? Very few. Business people write their own letters. Anyone who has a business, and that includes writers, has to commit time to communication via letters, posts and blogs.  From letters we are now into twitter, FB, Linkedin, Goodreads and the many many programs we have linked on our websites. We might as well enjoy it.