Back in January I wrote about a writer’s need for a website. In that post I discussed the pro’s and con’s and the time investment required for a website vs. multiple social media platforms. My conclusion then, was that a blog is far less time consuming. But that doesn’t mean social media can’t be of use to the modern author.
When I first started this adventure I figured a Facebook author page would be a must. Then I found myself wondering why on earth do we need all these different social media platforms? When should I start using them? How long will it take to build an audience? How might they help me as a writer? If my goal is to write a novel, why must I also write a blog, and Facebook posts, and tweets, and and and…? First, let’s just answer that question right there: I don’t have to do any of this if I don’t want to!
Using different social media channels can prove useful and become a vital part of an authors platform. Regardless of how your book is published – traditionally or independently – you obviously need to be able to reach a responsive audience. Every platform used is a potential point of contact with a new reader and it allows you to create a network of people who know and support you. According to the ever trusty internet, having an already-established audience is also a big draw for a prospective agent or publisher and should not be underrated! Besides this, social media is a great way to connect with other authors and make new writing friends.
But how can I reap the benefits of social media and avoid the pitfalls? One good piece of advice I heard, is to make a distinction between the private-me and the writer-me, so I don’t overload friends and family with writing updates, or writing friends and readers with updates on my children’s latest accomplishments, fascinating as they may be. Another piece of advice a friend offered, was to choose where I most want to be visible and not try to be active everywhere. As I said in January, it can easily take too much time and attention away from what you’re supposed to be doing, namely writing. And let’s not forget that science says social media can easily become a drain on your energy and ability to focus. I would rather avoid social media for a few days, weeks or even months if necessary, than sacrifice the focus my writing requires.
Now, I’ve had a private Facebook account for years, but I’ll confess, the concept of creating an author page has been a bit overwhelming. I haven’t told everyone what I’m up to and, as ridiculous as it sounds, I sometimes worry about my friends and family seeing an author page, before I’m ready to tell them I’m writing a book. I’ve also wondered if I can technically claim the right to set up pages and accounts with the title of “author” attached [huge eye roll…].
I did eventually create an author page on Facebook and a twitter account, however. I even added “fledgling author” to my instagram bio. And what happened? Absolutely nothing. They lay dormant for ages due to a lack of time and no idea how to use them most effectively. I finally decided to delete them and stick with this website for now. My main goal on here is to chronicle my journey from reader to writer, but I must admit – it would be lovely to also build a following of potential readers. So maybe I’ll revisit the option of an author page or Twitter account at some point in the future. It’s a big maybe though, because first I’d have to figure out what to do with them!
Right now, I think I’ll focus on writing when I have the time and leave the rest of the social media universe to potter on without me…