I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with this week’s blog, but then, after spending precious time checking my Forever Avalon Facebook and Twitter accounts, it dawned on me. Social media has become the last refuge for independent, self-published authors.
I can’t tell you how many hours a week I put into creating posts, sharing posts, “liking” and “following” other authors, It’s a shared responsibility within our community to support each other and sometimes, the reality is, it’s all we’ve got. We are passionate about our work and we want to share it with anyone who’ll listen. So we post it on every social media website available.
Unfortunately, it takes up a lot of our time. I am currently unemployed, so between job hunting, I am writing and editing the next chapter of my series as well as keeping my friends and followers up-to-date and interested through various social media platforms. I must spend at least 4-5 hours a day on social media alone whether I’m on my computer, iPad or smart phone. It’s a constant barrage of messages, likes comments.
There are also tons of websites professing throngs of followers (for the right price) for independent authors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking them. I have paid for a few of their services this past year. You just have to be careful who you’re signing up with. Like all facets of self-publishing, social media marketing costs money. You have to pick the right investment that will suit your needs as an author.
I try to take a practical approach when preparing my social media discourse. I write fantasy/science fiction genre so I try to focus my posts on that, from inspirational quotes to interesting articles and, of course, other authors in my network. Additionally, I like to throw in a weekly plug for my books.
This is the day-to-day social media life of an independent author. It’s not as glamorous as some celebrities or social media icons, but it’s how we get by. I was ecstatic when I broke 2,000 followers on Twitter. I’m still waiting to broach the 500 mark on Facebook. It’s a tough row to hoe, especially the wait for that one post to garner multiple likes, shares, hearts, and retweets.
To many reading this, it’s a reflection of the day-to-day doldrums of keeping your social media current and up-to-date. My Monday mornings are spent writing this blog, creating a week’s worth of social media posts via Hootsuite. (FYI, if you’re not using it, you better be! Hootsuite is a Godsend for independent authors, and Google too!)
The key is consistency. You have to keep it current, relevant and focused on yourself and your genre and your day-to-day practices as an independent author. Try to avoid controversial subjects. I like to follow the same rule I follow when I’m in a bar, pub or tavern. Avoid subjects like religion, politics and sex (unless that is your genre of choice) as it is a hotbed in our current “PC” climate of today.
Just remember, this will be a slow and steady process gaining followers and friends through social media. I liken it to the “Tortoise and the Hare” story, slow and steady wins the race.