Four hours later I came out feeling a bit dazed, a bit irritated with myself and with this fast-moving online world and, above all, like a complete amateur.
The upside was that I had at least an understanding of the basic premise of this strange online world. From my random Googling about how authors – especially indie authors - can market their books I know that social media is an important part of the platform. Heck, for many of us it’s the only platform.
Unfortunately what I didn’t understand when I started out is just how involved with my social media platform I need to be. I was shocked to discover that I should be blogging at least once a week, posting on Facebook at least once every other day, and Tweeting roughly three times per day. And the hosts of the seminar were even kind enough to outline when I should be tweeting: nine (just before people settle into their daily routines), noon (when they’re copping off for lunch), and six (at the end of the day, just before they’re winding down).
Er ... okay, maybe my efforts had been piddly and unfocused up to that point (groan). But at least I learned something, and I took the message to heart. Sort of. I went home and promptly upped my twitter activity … while simultaneously letting my website and Facebook presence all but die. Oops.
I was, however, amazed by the results of my ramped-up tweeting when I saw there was an increase of traffic to both my Facebook and Web pages. It looked like people were interested to see who this Veronica Bale person was that was jumping into conversations about things like history, writing, and publishing. Crazy - people actually wanted to know who I was!
And isn’t that why I took to social media in the first place? I am a writer of fiction. I live in my cozy little world of characters and plots and better-than-the-real-world danger and intrigue. But I am also a person. There are thoughts and feelings behind each story I create. And I wanted to share that with my readers. I wanted them to see me, not just my books.
Of course the traffic to my Facebook and Web pages never found much of anything except a couple of old posts because, of course, I’d let those balls drop. Again … oops.
Since having this epiphany (which, it appears, everyone else already had years ago) I’ve decided to blog. Why? As writer, editor and publishing consultant Belinda Pollard says in her article Do authors really need a blog?, “if you plan to self-publish globally, your blog or website will become the hub of your book marketing.” And if people are coming to my page to see what I’m all about, they’re probably going to want to see more than just, “hey, check my books out.”
I’ve seen the positive effects on my visibility as an author from my activity on Twitter. I know that people have at least some interest in what I have to share. The whole reason I’m an author in the first place is because I have something to share with readers that I think they’ll enjoy. If blogging helps me reach more people with whom I can share, then so be it. I’ll find the time somewhere, somehow.
So, then, on the question “to blog or not to blog,” this amateur says, “bring it on!”