This Thursday’s showcase features a blogger that always makes me take a step back and chuckle. InsidetheLifeofMoi covers a range of topics from the Man Flu to Facebook Pet Peeves. She’s interesting to say the least and her applicable stories always provide whimsical imagery along the way. I don’t know a lot personally about this blogger past her being entertaining since there wasn’t much for contact info, but please go and give Amanda Lyle’s site a look and enjoy this all to familiar tirade on the world that is Facebook. Feel free to thank me later.
Being the new guy/gal in any scenario is wretched. It’s a time-intensive pain-staking venture into basic self-promotion. That’s a very dry way of saying you have to be social. If you broke down the primary colors of any basic relationship, you’ll see just how many variants you keep; it’s not just business and friends. You have your childhood friends, college friends, work friends, hobby friends, drinking friends, family friends, friends with families, single friends, those friends that you call to help you bury bodies, those friends you call to help you create the bodies you need to bury, the friends that can never be counted on, the friends that always can, Facebook friends and those friends you aren’t sure how you ever met them or why you’re friends.
What you may ask yourself is what do these people have in common? They can all help you on your journey from author to published author. Granted, when you start out, you are the new kid all over again. You’ve shed the moniker of friend (whatever hue you may be to someone) and must now forge a separate path.
I met with a few friends for coffee this weekend. We like to chat about video games, movies, TV shows and IT-related hoopla. One is a writer/director for an Indie set of YouTube videos <insert plug here FB / YouTube >. He also does other projects and is aspiring to write a book. I am ever-encouraging of anyone wanting to pursue entertainment passions (writing, videos, acting, painting, etc.).
It is always important to me to keep a good and expansive circle of friends around to take notice and mention you along the way. Similar to what I just did for my friend, David, someday he in turn may mention me or my blog or my story to one of his friends. Thus the networking magic-sprinkle-dust is thrown into the air and hopefully it will land on people willing to pass it along.
Likewise, don’t forget or disregard friends that aren’t religiously following your every move. They will when they have time. I’m guilty of that too, I had my friend’s Bar Flies series in my YouTube playlist for months and now just started getting caught up. Likewise, my other friends aren’t keeping up on my Time Traveler series. Eventually, we’ll all get caught up on those and will then be behind on each other’s new works. Such is the cycle.
One tip for anyone starting to put dabbles of work out there: make sure that your patience matches your subtlety. People will follow you and look at your content until you get to that pushy/uncomfortable stage. Openly calling someone out asking if they’ve read your work creates an uncomfortable rift if they haven’t. Instead, mention your work in passing, not directly, when the conversation allows it.
“Oh, ya. This series I have on my blog currently is also on my Facebook page. It’s about time travel and how this teenager is affected because he’s unable to control it.”
“Hey, have you read my Blog? Do you follow my Page on Facebook? I sent you like five requests. You should check it out and let me know.”
See how one spotlights your work and the ways to find it and the other points the spotlight at your friend? Plus, if they have read it, they will agree and follow your conversation, which confirms you have a follower. And if they haven’t, maybe this will give them an open opportunity to ask you questions about it since you are not demanding a response.
Bait your traps and wait, don’t go screaming wildly with a net toward your audience. I say this because I am generally that lunatic in the safari hat running at you, net double-gripped above my head like a Viking warrior. This is the “do as I say, not as I do” portion of my blog. Now, go Like me on Facebook and re-read everything off my blog. Do not make me break out the war paint.
NaNoWriMo Count: 2100 +
If the title caught you, then phase one is complete; I’ve hooked you in at least a little. WAIT, wait, wait… I’m not selling you anything, just relaying my personal experiences.
After finishing a novel, there is editing. While that editing is in the hands of other people who are looking through the chapters and giving me feedback, this is the perfect time to start the Social Media extravaganza. Yup, if you want published, you’ll have to start putting yourself out there on the proverbial street corner and peddle your wares. For me, I write under a different name, so it helps to keep my normal and pseudo lives separate.
Almost everyone has a Facebook account (shameless plug), but let’s not forget the other avenues of social media (i.e. FREE PRESS). You have Twitter, Google+, Flickr, Instagram and countless others depending on how marketable you want to become. I’ve seen some authors create a YouTube channel where they read their short stories. I am learning to Tweet, … slowly. The rest comes pretty naturally.
Oh, and Big-ups to my wife for pointing me to Word Press to start my blogging adventures. Love you, babe!
So, now you already have 100’s of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Your author persona is going to rake them all in and catapult you in the spotlight and soon you will catch fire like you were bathed in kerosene and jumping over a campfire, right?? Well, if you are like me, think again.
Sadly, unless you have outspokenly been promoting yourself since you first met your friends or acquaintances, you are starting a relationship with most of them all over again. I believed that at least 3/4 of my friends would “Like” my page immediately and follow me on my journey. So far, that is not the case, but think about it…
People differ from one outlet to another. Not everyone is checking their feeds or keeping up to date with others. In many cases, people use social media to briefly check on a few close friends and family in their lives, post about their own experiences and then they’re off. The posts or requests you send out may be read or may be overlooked. Not everyone wants a barrage of alerts. You are commercializing your relationship, so tread lightly and honestly. Let them come around if they want to and if not, keep them close by. Un-friending people is not the answer.
Me, I was very impatient in terms of getting responses to what had been more than a decade in the making. Once I started, I expected magic, miracles and bending the space/time continuum to take place. The sad fact is that it’s growth and any kind of healthy growth takes time.
I wanted to have hundreds of followers, but a handful at a time is perfect. Any progress, whether big or small, is still progress. It’s painful waiting for recognition when it comes a drop at a time but think to yourself that one day, you will be too busy writing and doing your own projects to possibly keep up on social media by yourself. So, cherish this time.
And start small, if you’re already on Facebook and Twitter, you know how to handle posts. If you haven’t had a social media site since MySpace was the big thing, don’t sign up for everything in the world without a plan on what content you are prepared to put out there. You don’t want a 100 followers and then the first month give them nothing. Attention spans last roughly the same lifetime as a gnat.
For me, this blog helps me to put my ideas out simultaneously to my other accounts so I don’t have to update different fans at different times. I’ll still do special offers and small contests on Facebook from time to time, like a coffee or an iTunes gift card giveaway, but keeping it small and informal is fine. If you’re looking into the same starting point as I am then you should know your limits and what you can achieve with the time that is given you.
And since I am not under a publishing house or have a literary agent, I am indeed pimping myself out. I am trying to get you to pick me as a source of entertainment. I want followers and fans and friends, but most of all I want to relay my stories. It’s a calling and we all need to follow our own first and foremost.
If you’d like to check out a sample of my work please click here. Yup, still pimping… P.I.M.P.