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Getting Yourself Out There

21 Mar

If you are anything like me the moment you began this journey toward becoming a published author, you have been inundated with information and advice on the best ways to get yourself out there and make yourself known before you get the call.

 

I’ve read articles and blogs by people who swear by Twitter and Facebook and claim that agents won’t even look at you unless you have xxxx followers. And at the same time, I’ve read articles and blogs by people who say that Twitter and Facebook are not an important part of an aspiring author’s portfolio – their website is the most important thing. No, wait, it is a blog that is the most important thing.

And it is constantly changing. There is LinkedIn and Google Plus. Next month there will probably be something else. Something else to add to our list of Should I Join This? Will This Help My Career? How The Heck Does It Work?

Here is what I know: I have both a Twitter and Facebook account and I rarely use either one. They don’t do anything for me except suck away my time right now. I blog with a wonderful group of women twice a month. I’ve learned from them, met online friends and discovered other fabulous blogs. I have a website and I’m still working out how best to use it. But I will and I’m excited about it, because it is all mine.

I have never discovered a new author on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe it is because I’m not on it, but when I do check it out, I read too many “Buy My Book!” tweets and, frankly, they just irritate me. I get it. I do. And I really hope that I don’t do the same thing when I am published.

Most of the authors that I have discovered have been through blogs. It’s the intimacy. I’m not reading a 20 word tweet or a “Like” my page post, I’m reading about their story. And a blurb about their book. It might still be shameless self-promotion, but I care now. I’m intrigued by the person, how they got to where they are and what they are writing about. I’ll go check out their website. Frequently, I’ll buy their book.

I know agents will check to see what online presence an unpublished author has and maybe the numbers matter to them and maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not there yet. But I do know what I prefer.

What about you? What do you think works best? What paths are you choosing to take?

 
15 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Idaho

 

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15 responses to “Getting Yourself Out There

  1. Liz Fredericks

    March 21, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    I suspect it’s a bit like hearing we should have an original voice even while receiving tons of recommendations about how to ‘do this, that, or the other’ in writing. I’m with you on this blog – it matters to me, not just in terms of the content, though I’ve benefited from excellent craft content and musings about life, love and family. For me, it’s the connection to my blog buddies (bloggers, commenters, emailers). Writing is such a vulnerable process and support is vital. You’ve reminded me to work on my website. I’m enjoying twitter though sure I’m doing it wrong and violated the etiquette. Facebook? Well, I’d never say never but . . .

     
    • Meredith Allen Conner

      March 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Actually my own blog reminded me that I should at least look at Twitter again. I did so yesterday and once I got past all the “buy my book” tweets – I found some others that I enjoy. But these are already authors that I read. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

       
  2. ramblingsfromtheleft

    March 21, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Speaking of blogs, Meredith … your three book selections are on fOIS In The City’s March Bookfest today. Yes, blogs are my actual preference because I can get closer to the writer, find out more about them OTHER THAN the books they write. It is a close up and personal way to hear their true voice. I love group blogs like Gem State because each post offers me a different perspective and the topics are as varied as the women who write them. Thanks for another visit her at GSW.

    Liz, I think to do twitter “right” we need to have been born with antenae sticking out of our ears🙂 Okay, maybe not … but I have yet to find the cords to play with it and make lovely music🙂

     
    • Meredith Allen Conner

      March 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      Thanks Florence – I did see that🙂 And I’ve loved all the recommendations on your blog. Such a great and varied list!!!

      I totally agree with the blogs and website. I love to know more about the author.

       
  3. Janis McCurry

    March 21, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Tough question. Let’s talk about a quantifiable result. Websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook quantify hits, comments, followers, but they cannot quantify sales. Perhaps if we look at it as a tool to increase visibility in HOPES of it translating into sales, it makes more sense. Still, we will never know if the social media tools were responsible.

    I have a domain name but have not put up a website. I will put time and money into it when I’m published. I actually love the blog because it makes me think about writing as a craft, not just to fulfill my need to tell a story. And that, in turn, helps me improve my writing.

    I have a Twitter and Facebook account, but with my other commitments, do not make their use a priority. And I’d open a different Facebook account when I publish because I want to separate my business from my kids’ vacation pictures and friends’ updates.

    What I really need is to capture an answer genie and she could tell me what media to use successfully.

     
  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    March 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Janis – once you capture that genie, please let me know what her answer is!!!

     
  5. Lois Roelofs

    March 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Meredith, I’ve been told or have read all the things you talked about. I blog and enjoy this, and I said never to FB until my daughter moved away and signed me up so I could keep in contact with her and her circle of friends whom I knew. And now I’ve picked up mainly other family members and former students. I do link my blog to my FB on newsy things about my book, and I always get enough hits back to my blog to think it’s OK (sort of like positive reinforcement:):)) But it’s always a dilemma, not enough, or too much. At AWP conference lately in Chicago, I heard encouragement to “shamelessly self-promote” more than once. But I’m not comfortable pushing myself on people, but if I don’t…that’s the question. I, too, enjoy GSW for the differing viewpoints. Thanks.

     
  6. Peggy Staggs

    March 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’m like you, I’ve got both a Twitter and a Facebook account. I use them so much that it takes me longer to figure out what to do than actually read the few words there. When ;-} I get published I’ll worry about it…no wait…I’ll hire a teenager to do it for me.

     
  7. Mary Vine

    March 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Very good questions you’re asking Meredith.
    I think it varies with the author.
    Last week we had a guest blogger by the name of Kristina McMorris and she’s been fabulous about marketing. I remember her saying early on that she didn’t know exactly where her sales were coming from. I know that she gets together with WWII groups, and festivities and I think that is probably a good opportunity to sell as it relates to her stories.
    I’d have to say that I sell books at summer festivites in Northeast Oregon each year because that is where my stories are set. People over there love the area and the history that has formed it. Women and men buy books.
    I do do facebook, but it is more for keeping up with family and friends in my case. I posted once that one of my books was on sale at Amazon and when something new comes out, etc.
    I also remember asking my publisher one time what books were selling the most and she said that one of them sells a lot because the author’s community really stands behind her. That is a unique community, I’d say.

     
  8. marsharwest

    March 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    As always a thought provoking post here at GSW. I find new authors from blogs more than anything else. I do FB (after saying never!), but my kids were there and various friends. I check it a couple of times a week and only occassionally post something on my own, mostly reply to someone else. One of my goals last year was to get a web site up. I did that. Can check it off the list. You can check it out. http://.www.marsharwest.com It’s not perfect, but will do until I sell.

    I have a good friend (former critique partner) who sold this year and she had a nice web site done on Godaddy, but now has paid $500 to have an upgraded model. (I’ll llet y’all know when her book is coming out for sure. Peggy, you know Jerrie Alexander from KOD.)

    Our local RWA chapter has a conference the end of this month and the focus is on social media. I’m hoping to learn a lot. I know most of y’all are far away, but you can check out the info at http://www.txtwostepconference.wordpress.com
    (None of these things are blue. I don’t get it!)

    Basically, we have to find balance between writing–the all important piece–and publicising ourselves and our work.

    Keep up the great work here, ladies. I love checking in with you. Always makes me think.

     
  9. Meredith Allen Conner

    March 21, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I think you’re right – it does vary from author to author Mary. So many venues, so many choices.

     
  10. Lynn Mapp

    March 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Meredith, I have a hard time keeping up on Facebook. I’ve never tweeted, and have no plans to do so in the near future. I have a hard enough time writing when I sit down at the computer. I don’t have a following.

     
  11. Clarissa Southwick

    March 22, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Great post, Meredith. I really think focusing on the writing is the most important thing, at least until you publish. Personally, I like twitter, but I think more people are on Facebook.

     
  12. Frankie

    April 12, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    If you appreciate literature you should take a look at my girlfiriend’s tumblr she’s 21 and extremely tallented…
    http://ohh-mariah.tumblr.com/

     

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