I'm the kind of introvert who dreads an event filled with new people. Many introverts have found a home online. Unfortunately, I discovered that I am just as awkward virtually as I am when surrounded by those unknown entities at a party. To me, social media is like a gargantuan gala, and I'm still the girl in the crowd, quietly and collectively sitting, but inwardly sweating.
This didn't pose much of a problem until I realized that a social media presence is necessary to successfully getting published. If you love building worlds and writing stories like I do, penning the book itself is challenging, but infinitely easier than looking for and ultimately finding an agent.
Now that I’ve finished my second book, I am starting the process of querying literary agencies and setting up an author’s platform. This latter part was a bit of a mystery to me. Without being published, what did I have to offer? Turns out, there are countless "celebrities" on social media with nothing but adorable pictures of their pets acting like humans or scantily clad images of themselves to offer. The Kardashians have made a very successful career of it, after all.
Deciding that it is time for me to abandon reserve (within reason) and do everything it takes to get published, I began to pick apart the barriers keeping me from creating my social media presence.
Barrier 1: Putting myself out there makes me break into a sweat. Posting pictures of myself and sharing my inner thoughts and goals goes against my naturally introverted and private nature and, frankly, makes me nauseous.
Solution: Suck it up and embrace my inner social media star. After countless photos, taken by my loving and oh-so-patient husband, I was finally able to pick three I could live with sharing. I put together information about myself and my books, and pulled it all together into a website that was surprisingly fun to design and build.
Barrier 2: My lack of using social media, with the exception of Pinterest and the newsfeed on my personal Facebook account, gave me all the technical knowledge of a grandmother with a flip phone (apologies to all of those grannies who are way more technically inclined than I).
Solution: Just do it. I googled and asked questions until I managed to create accounts for my author persona on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. This did not go smoothly. Thinking that both my personal page and the official Facebook author's business page had to be public, I sent out an Instagram post with my author's cover photo inviting people to follow me on Facebook. Within hours I had hundreds of new friend requests. Good, right? Not so much. A few of these new friends were people I knew. Most came from a variety of "gentlemen" with suspect usernames, an alarming number of them shirtless. None seemed to be interested in my writing ability. Thinking that agents might be impressed with the number of folks following me, and having not posted anything really personal, I accepted all friends. Within seconds my phone began to ping with a barrage of Facebook messenger conversations. A very persistent new "friend" offered to video chat with me over and over again. In a panic I ran to my tech-savvy husband, interrupting his football game, to ask for help. It was either that or flushing both my pinging phone and ringing laptop down the toilet. Together we figured out how to make my personal account private with only my official author's page remaining public. Though hilarious now, it was not funny when I was having an anxiety attack at 11 o'clock at night with work looming in the morning.
Barrier 3: Getting followers. Even after the adventure of the interesting gentlemen callers, my husband was still the only person who actually liked my author's page (a more advanced user might insert a frowny-faced emoji here).
Solution: Try and Try again! I've added a blog, taken pictures to post on Instagram, and added additional features to my website. Understanding that being an unpublished author is by no means a phenomenon, I thought my journey to publication could be interesting, and maybe even helpful, to those other social[ly] media [awkward] writers out there!
Like my author's page of Facebook and/or join me on my website to stay updated with my journey. Wish me luck!