This blog post is not me imparting wisdom. This blog post is me essentially asking for help.
Everyone is telling authors they need a platform, they need an audience, they need to leverage the Internet and social media. Right, okay. Consider me on the other side. Say I already have a considerable social media set up… Then what?
I’m going to list the various ways I currently have in place for meeting an audience. I’m not bragging, I’m more showing the mess I’ve gotten myself into.
- I Should Be Writing podcast
- ISBW blog
- ISBW PDF
- Murverse blog
- Murverse mailing list
- Facebook (personal page and fan page)
- Goodreads blog (largely inactive)
- Amazon.com Author Blog (something I keep meaning to start cause I think it would be a good idea.)
Those are the ones I can think of. I also blog here and at Tor.com. So Mur, you may be thinking, what’s the problem? So many megaphones, so many different ways to reach audiences!
Yeah. That’s the problem.
Let’s say I have a thought. I have been known to have a couple from time to time. I want to share said thought. I then have to decide where it goes. Is it a thought that would be best stated in 140 characters? Twitter. Or facebook, maybe. Is it just a random thought or image or quote, longer than tweet length? Tumblr. Is it about writing? ISBW. But which one: blog, podcast, or is it long enough to add to my free PDF release? Or should I save it for Storytellers Unplugged?
My biggest problem is my home page, the Murverse. Originally meant to be an “all things Mur” hub, I filter all my podcasts through there, but not my blog posts. When I’m in the mood to blog, I usually end up putting the writing thoughts on ISBW or the SF thoughts on Tor.com. Writing rarely ends up on Murverse, which is odd, because writing is a huge part of my life.
The Facebook pages and the mailing list are the most neglected. I don’t like porting Twitter posts to Facebook for two reasons: different audiences (lots more real life friends follow me on FB) and regurgitating content feels insincere. This is why I haven’t started the Goodreads or Amazon blogs. They seem like a good idea, but how do I choose what content goes there?
I’m suffering from too many megaphones, I know. And instead of finding a way to trim them down, I’m wondering if I need more; if my writing podcast needs its own dedicated Twitter account where I just talk about writing (even though keeping a personal blog and a writing blog seems to be working so well for me right now…) I wonder if I should take the Murverse and make it a full hub, taking all my projects under that umbrella and giving each project, whether it’s a show or fiction project, its own feed. (Through the magic of feedburner, nothing would change on the listeners’ ends.)
I feel like Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. All of my social media megaphones are out of control, dancing around, mocking me. Well, not that they do anything without me working on them, but several of them are rotting from disuse and I don’t know how to deal with it. Cut them out? Use most of them to regurgitate content from my main Twitter and blogs? One site or many? Augh!
This is a problem you could end up having if you don’t have a plan when you start out. Sure, social media is a great idea, but if you just charge headlong, or join something because it seems like a good idea at the time, then it’s pretty pointless. On your blog or twitter, decide how much of your own life you’re going to reveal. Decide what you want each megaphone to do, who you want it to talk to. Remember that you never know who’s reading (Many agents and editors find angry blog posts and tweets about themselves from rejected authors. This does not endear them to the author.) and to always write as if your mom, your eighth grade teacher, and your pastor are reading. I’m not saying be a Puritan; you may not care if those people are reading, but always be aware that they might. And be aware that the audiences for the different places are different. High school friends will read my facebook, but not so much Twitter. If you have an Amazon or Goodreads blog, you know you’re being read by book lovers.
You can do so much with these tools. You can connect with readers, other authors, collaborate, or even use them as storytelling tools themselves. They’re definitely not something to be ignored or feared. I just need to stop sinking and learn how to swim.