I’m learning social media. I’ve done Facebook, but only with a personal page and a suspicion that I should have a minimum of Friends. I haven’t sent many photos, I have an overwhelming desire to avoid Twitter, and try to minimize my emails. I still have warm feelings about my dumb flip-phone.
But I have lately become convinced that if I wish my books to be bought and read, then I have to advertise my books, talk about my books, and become a recognized writer with a following on some sort of smart phone-based application.
I am not comfortable with this. I’m an introvert; leave me alone. But I have found a good editor and a good publishing situation and the more I produce books that I think would be good reading for young people, the more I want young people to read them.
My aspirations have increased.
That being the case, I want as many young people as possible to know that the books exist and are available, and the current and best way of doing that is to use social media – texting, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (for now; there’re always something new).
I was a big believer in the traditional ways of advertising: visiting schools, doing book signings at bookstores, having book launches at libraries where you put an ad in the paper, provide cookies and lemonade, and then sell and sign books afterwards. I also believe in reviews and winning contests and running ads in newspapers or magazines.
What I have learned, and what publicists have been telling me, is that every book-selling, book-advertising, and author-recognizing venue that I have in my memory has been totally trumped (excuse the pun) by social media. Americans alone send 69,000 text messages every second and six billion texts every day. In the span of twenty-four hours, a majority of American teens will have checked their social media feeds more than one hundred times. In the time that you’ve spent reading this blog post, around 350,000 people will have tweeted on Twitter, and more that 500,000 photos will have been shared. Add to that the 150 million emails that have raced through cyberspace in the last minute and it’s obvious that a revolution in the way that humans communicate has taken place.
For me, it comes down to numbers. If I want to be competitive (I do), if I have a product (my books) that I feel are worthy and beneficial for reading (I do) and I want to get above the two hundred or so books that I can sell to my family and friends and random people about town (and it’s a small town), then I have to participate in social media. And, according to sources, I will eventually enjoy it. And, they tell me, the results can sometimes be overwhelming.
I’m trying to make my social media indoctrination an adventure for myself, and I will keep you informed on how it goes.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.