Today I attended a Self-Publishing workshop put on by a local writer, Tracee Garner (you can find her at Teegarner.com). In addition to her workshop, I’ve been doing a lot of research on writing, editing, writing contests, and publishing. The one thread that gets mentioned at any of these how-to’s, conferences, workshops, and websites is the importance of social media. In fact, many people harp of this idea of staying connected on multiple platforms to the point that you want to run screaming from the room, “Isn’t there anything else to know?!”
As always, there’s plenty to know about writing. Otherwise there wouldn’t be miles of books on the subject in every college bookstore, online bookseller, or large bookshop. But, if you, like me, one day hope to publish and have your scribblings read by other people–well, people other than your mother, father, family and friends–then you have to take social media into consideration.
Now, I’m fairly new to this social media game. I only just signed up for Twitter a few weeks ago and I’m still not sure how to use it to its best advantage, but I recognize the importance of building an audience if I hope to earn any traction with my stories (and I do mean earn, by the way). And social media is a great way to follow your heroes and see what they’re up to, how they use the platform to benefit their goals.
However, using all of these connections within connections baffles me. Google+, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, RSS Feeds, and more. How do they all fit together? How does one ever hope to maintain coherent understanding and maintenance of so many platforms? And yet, people do. Daily. Hourly. It has gotten to the point, that in order to stay relevant among a target audience authors have to have webpages, twitter feeds, Facebook profiles, audio books, e-books, blogs, and more. These are all ways the modern reader connects with an author and his or her stories before they, if they, pick up a physical book.
The struggle I have is how do I connect? How does an unknown writer with no published material to her name begin to branch out? How do these thousands of bloggers gain enough steam in the beginning to earn readership in the thousands and hundreds of thousands?
How would you do it? And if you’re one of those amazing people who has achieved success in the digital world, how did you do it?