The “experts” always say that an aspiring author needs to have a social media platform, so I got a website/blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Facebook page, and Pinterest boards. I’ve also poked around a little on Goodreads and joined some groups like YALITCHAT. I’ve learned a lot, first that this stuff will take over your life if you let it!
There are lots of blogs that give information about how to use Twitter or Facebook or whatever platform you’re interested in. You already know about my website because you found me here. So I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned in general and how I use social media. The biggest thing I learned is that the world wide web is huge, and there are people out there who can teach you anything you want to know. You’re looking for information on writing point of view, or what the different fiction genres are? Got it. Want to know what to include in a query letter, or how to find an agent? Got it. But the most important thing I learned is that there are lots of people who are on the same journey I’m on, and we don’t have to go it alone.
As far as getting on social media, I figured the easiest way to learn about something is to do it, so I created all these accounts (or whatever they’re called in that particular jargon) and started following people and making comments. Some of it is more fun for me than others, which is why the “experts” tell you to try a few and stick with the ones that suit you the most. My problem is I haven’t dropped any; it’s like I’m afraid I’ll offend the friends I’ve made there if I don’t check in at least once in a while. So I’ve kept them all. Perhaps not the best approach, but it works for now.
My advice is to start slow, and maybe be brave and drop the platforms that don’t fit with your style and personality. Also, give yourself a social media time limit so it doesn’t suck up your entire day or writing time. I do set a timer and get off at a certain point every day.
I spend the most time on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. (I expect I’ll do more with Goodreads once Fools Gold comes out this fall and I can start an author profile.) I have a lot of people I follow on Twitter: mostly writers, agents, librarians, teachers, but also some Alaskans and a few random people who post great inspirational quotes or whatever. My biggest problem is curbing my retweets. I keep having days where I think, “Oh, another great link” (or quote or observation about Alaska, etc.) and hit the retweet symbol again. By the time I look up, an hour’s gone by and I’ve retweeted a dozen tweets. I hope my followers like them all and don’t feel overwhelmed! My daughter got me started on Pinterest, and it is also addictive. I see all these great pictures of awesome women in history or fun sayings and such, and the next thing I know the timer goes off. Not all the things I follow fit in my board categories, so I don’t post quite as much there, but I do look at a lot of cool stuff. On my Lynn Lovegreen Facebook page, it’s much the same. I read a lot of my friends’ news just to catch up and see what’s happening, but I don’t post all of them to spare my followers the time plowing through them. I do post items about living in Alaska or inspirational things that might be fun for others to see.
Will all of this social media lead to great book sales? I have no idea. But it’s given me some new friends and inspiration for my own reading and writing, and living in general, so it’s worth the time commitment for me. And hopefully others will say that they learned something cool or were inspired by one of my posts. If so, that is more than worth it. That is golden.