You know you’re over 30 when you’re talking to other writers or creative types (which, in my opinion, is anybody), and this question comes up: “I’m so busy writing–do I really have to post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, and blog, too?”
Short answer: Yes. Yes, you do.
Longer explanation: Part of my karma, or dharma, or just plain grateful payback for getting to be an author, is sharing what I’ve learned with other writers. My answer to the above question isn’t what anyone wants to hear, though.
These days, writers have to be social media-savvy. This explains the above age reference; anyone under 30 is already working FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Paper.li, and all the rest–yes, there are more. There are even sites that allow you to link them all and post directly from your blog. You are blogging, aren’t you?
If this all sounds like work, it is. Very few people who weren’t born with a silver iPad in their mouths think social media is anything other than extra work. We’d rather be writing, and more than 140 characters, please.
The reality of the situation is that publishers, who have been drastically affected by the recession in, among other things, staff reduction, depend on authors to help market their books. Social media is considered the best way to do this because of its potentially wide reach and its low expense. There are exceptions to this rule, but that’s discovered after the fact. If you seriously want to get published, you can’t avoid what has become a standard industry expectation by saying “But I don’t wanna…” If you can’t stand to Tweet, get out of the kitchen.
The key to this, as in everything, is to make work as fun as possible. Yes, you have to blog–so make it your own. Make it beautiful, and write about stuff you like. Yes, you have to Tweet, so start off by re-Tweeting things you find interesting. Chances are, someone else will, too.
By the time you find a publisher who’s happy to see that you’re working the social media angle already, you may be enjoying it a lot more than you think. And when you become a big important author, you can dictate your “:)” to one of your social media staff while you craft your next bestseller.