SOCIAL MEDIA, MY JOURNEY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS

I’ve never been a social media geek like some. I’ve only had a Facebook page for just over 2 years and a writers page for much less but I haven’t a clue how social media works. Around the same time I started a twitter account but now when I look at the massive number of accounts I am following I’m left wondering why I followed half of them in the first place.

Apparently I followed a multitude of accounts when holidaying in the Lake District, Peak District and the Gower. Then there were all the Edinburgh sites after visiting the Festival a couple of Augusts ago. Then I followed any site with Dorset in its name. Then I followed all the newspapers when I went through a political phase. Then I followed all the tv stations when I went through a ‘sitting on the sofa watching tv and trying to be intelligent’ phase. It seems that whatever I am doing or whatever is the flavour of my month, I begin to follow people who have absolutely no interest in me and I certainly cannot keep up with the tweets that fly into my feed at the rate of about 3000 an hour.

In desperation I emailed a social media consultant, Sally Tickner, who gave a workshop at the Winchester Writers Conference some two or three years ago. She gave a brilliant presentation and, as you can guess, she is not short of work. But she took the time to look at my tweets and told me to get rid of as many tweets as possible.

Also, she said I must concentrate on tweeting good content. I am not quite sure what she would class as ‘good content’. She gave me some links and kindle books on how to do twitter and increase your followers. You see I am following about 1500 people but only have just under 700 followers. The aim, I am told, is to get people following me especially those who might re-tweet about my soon-to-be-published poetry book, Grandma’s Poetry Book. After a few hours trailing through my ‘following’ list I discovered a quicker way to unfollow people. I now watch the tweets coming into my feed about once or twice a day for a short period. I click on the account and see if I really want to keep getting their tweets and unfollow them. After all I can always find them again if I want to.

So I am now pruning my list down to authors, organisations associated with the Deaf (this is because my main WIP is a book about growing up with a deaf sibling) and bloggers. I have also begun to follow organisations and people connected to older people in an attempt to create some buzz around my new book which, of course, is aimed at older people, although younger people do like it and even children enjoy some of the verses about the baby. I follow Mums and grandmas and older people organisations in the hope they will follow back. Often they do and I thank them – yes I have learnt Twitter Etiquette – and I re-tweet some of their tweets and send them an individual tweet about my book.

This year at Winchester I went to a workshop by Emily Benet @emilybenet and the room was packed. I think most writers have the same problem as I do. What to do on social media and how to do it? She told us to tweet only one promo tweet in ten so I have tried to think of things to say on twitter that can lead people to my book information without seemingly being promotional. So I have started blogging more frequently about the process of self publishing and mentioning my book in the process.
Hashtags are only just getting into my brain! But there are some good ones #amwriting #selfpublishing #newbook and even more. Just try the hashtag and a subject and you will see the choices pop up. I found OlderPeoplesDay last week and they favourite my tweet about Grandma’s Poetry Book. I am also following several areas of AgeUK and a few are following back. Then there is #grandparentsday. Whatever your theme, try the hashtag. There you will find posts that are linked to your own area of interest.

Having found some accounts that might be interested in poetry about being a grandparent I have tweeted some individually with news of the outing of Grandma’s Poetry Book in November and I have had some good results. Re-tweets or following back are happening.

Now at last I am getting somewhere I think. I have been pleasantly surprised that some of the people I have tweeted have ‘favourited’ my tweet and some are re-tweeting my tweets which is brilliant. It can all be only for the good.

Not only twitter but the marketing contact at Matador Books told me to get on to LinkedIn. Easier said than done as I had long since lost my password and been refused access for about the last year. I persevered, found a password in my special book of passwords (aaahh that would be another post entirely. Has anyone managed to organise her passwords in any way that saves time. Poring over scribbled entries in my little pink book is not always helpful as later on I find an updated password. Probably a scare or a phishing email which made me change my password.) Anyway as far as LinkedIn was concerned my marketing contact gave me the link for the Matador Authors group. I then found I could join another Writers group. I found that LinkedIn has improved since I was on it before. It brings up names of people who live in my town, businesses and those working in educational institutions that I have worked in in the past. It was through LinkedIn that I found a girl I met in a local open mic night. She admired my poetry and I admired her singing voice. We are the epitome of a mutual admiration society and will encourage each other. We both suffer angst regarding our own talent.

Once on LinkedIn I updated my profile. Oh dear, not another profile!  I am getting rather bored of trying to remember all my BIO information so now I have made a WORD document with a short bio, a longer bio and an even longer bio as well as a passage about my book. Now I can go to that and do a quick copy and paste. Anything to save time, methinks.

So now I have several platforms as I believe they are called. I have a blog on WordPress, my author website – ww.dicastle.co.uk, my author page on the Matador site and then when I asked on the Indie Authors page on Facebook about Goodreads I was told I could put my book on there and become a GOODREADS AUTHOR. WOW! So I did and I am!

I have an author website hosted by Matador and I keep emailing the web designer with new links to social media and she patiently adds buttons to my site but sometimes I want to scream,

‘I CAN’T KEEP UP’

But I know I have to if I am to publicise my book as well as I can.

So, if you are still sitting there with a self-published book that you can’t distribute, my first advice would be that you should have published with a company who did distribute the book for you. It is the major complaint of self published authors that it is difficult to get their book recognised and distributed. Somehow with my website, Troubador’s website, Amazon and Goodreads I don’t think that will be a problem for me.

But watch this space. I might not be so confident after a few months.

But ………. I don’t give up easily. You won’t get rid of me that quickly!

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