Anyone who keeps up with industry news and devours every online article there is with regards to becoming a published author – Trad or Indie – will know that these days, an author is expected to have an online presence.
Yes, and no.
I can’t speak for other authors but will share my own experiences.
Social media, I have come to realise, is in many ways an expression of one’s self. Some people are naturally gregarious and outgoing while others are more introverted. Some will post often, sometimes three or four times in a day across various social media outlets while others will only do so maybe once or twice a week.
I fall somewhere in the middle and am what you might call, an ambivert, also known as an introverted-extrovert. I have my days when I’m like that eager Labrador pup and bound all over the place peopling (that’s totally a word) with glee. Then I have longer periods where I tortoise, pull my head into my shell and fall happily into the life of a hermit. I am also, incredibly camera-shy.
So how do I make this social media thing work? How do I, as the experts suggest, form a daily habit of sharing glimpses of who I am not only as an author but also a normal (subjectively speaking, since I happily fly my freak flag behind the scenes) human being with a well rounded life? How much do I want people to know and how much do I want to keep private?
Over the past year I’ve kept my posts on my author social media accounts relevant to my work – upcoming releases, cover reveals (OMG, I can’t wait to see and reveal my first ever cover), and WIP (Works In Progress). However, that says very little about me, the person behind the books.
My natural instinct is to hide behind those posts, kept in my tortoise shell by self-doubt – what if people don’t like the real me? What if they meet the ‘real me’ online and then don’t want to buy my books?
But here’s the thing, and it’s something that has really stuck with me:
A few months ago, I stumbled upon romance author Maisey Yates’ author Facebook page and was immediately struck by the person behind the books. Bear in mind, I had never read any of her books at this stage. However, the more I scrolled through her FB posts, watched her live video clips and started to get a sense of the wonderfully warm and funny person she is, so the more I wanted to read her books. And, I did. And loved them.
Just by being who she is and bravely sharing little snippets of her daily life in between those pertaining to her writing life, she gained another fan. And isn’t that what we all want?
So, as much as it might go against our natures to put ourselves out there and engage with complete strangers unsure of what the reception might be, if we want those very strangers to engage with our word-babies and love them as much as we do, maybe it’s time to step out of our comfort zones.
These are the voyages of the Starship Writer and it is our self-appointed mission to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new stories and new readers. To boldly go, where we haven’t gone before.
Yes, that was totally a Star Trek reference there. See? Now you know something else about me – I’m a sci-fi geek 😉
Wishing you all the courage and bravery to share yourselves (at least in part) with the world in the same way, you share your word-babies.
Keep it shiny, folks!