There is plenty of advice about how to conduct ourselves online. The WIP will be finished soon (I promise – the cover is almost ready!) so I’ve been looking into marketing more.
I come from the old school way of doing things without fluff, fakery or salesman-like pretence. However, when it comes to being your own boss, what we do has to be curtailed to our target audience. I understand that.
But I have a hard time thinking that I have to blog a certain way or change the way I use Twitter (or use Pinterest – I’m still not interested in my account there.) In the last few days, I’ve read advice columns for writers saying things like, “Don’t write about what you had for breakfast. I still don’t understand why some people do that.” Well, it’s called real life and people live in it. Some people enjoy reading about real life instead of empty articles that lack personality. Heck, I even made a blog dedicated to my breakfast (lunch and dinner). I also read a book blog article today discussing how your Twitter account should have personality but if it’s a professional account, they only want to read news about your book.
Um…no. While I sort of understand what the reviewer’s getting at, I absolutely will not follow accounts that are only about their work. I want someone to have a discussion with, who has a pulse! While most agree that we don’t want to read a timeline full of links, some people are saying, “Oh, but if you’re having a discussion with someone do it in DM.” Makes me laugh. I love seeing people have conversations – it encourages others to jump in and chat (which is how I see Twitter anyway – as one, never-ending chat room.) DMs are used once in a while and whenever I check them, they’re usually the result of an account being hacked.
Now, that’s for an author’s account. Authors are people and readers want to connect with them. I just don’t see why we have to write articles in our blog about the topics we put in our books or why we should even limit ourselves at all. Most accounts that have no personality get ignored. I love to chat out my fellow writers but I don’t want to read announcement after reTweeted announcement about how everyone of my followers have a book to be read. I want to discuss and share about the craft (and everything in between), not the product that speaks for itself.
Now, when NaNoWriMo is going on, I do post about my word count because that’s all part of the “game.”
Professional accounts that I find done very well include writers and literary blogs. They are interesting to follow and aren’t out to just “sell” themselves by being dry and boring. A couple of them include publishing advice sites like DuoLit book review blogs like ShouldBeReading. Those sites are professional but they aren’t overly promoting what they and their friends are doing. I understand keeping those sites for posting only links to their site. Now, when you have an author page such as SarahDessen, you need to have some personality to the updates.
Again, I’m not saying that there doesn’t need to have a level of professionalism and a mindful eye on what your account is for but, really, do we need all this advice on how to conduct ourselves? It’s pretty much common sense, isn’t it? These are our accounts, our books, our online presence. We are free to use them as we wish. I doubt Amanda Hocking is losing any fans by posting on Instagram.
Oh, and by the way, I had an Activia granola pot for breakfast.
I had cornflakes and a banana…
I resent being told what to do all the time by those on high, my online presence is my own and I’m going to be me! It’s funny how they all think they have the answers, isn’t it? I use Facebook most, dip in and out of Twitter, pick at Pinterest and write my blog…I have fun and do it my own way. Sometimes I wish I had more time for playing around on the web, but time constraints mean I’d rather do it my way than try to be something I’m not!
Though I think when I’m stuck in with NaNo next month…I’m not going to have time for anything!
Good luck with NaNo Suzanne!
I agree. I don’t know if they’re trying to solicit answers for a target audience who will, in turn, gain them respect and money or what. I just keep noticing the annoying trend of how to use social networking a certain way. Everyone should just make it their own – it’s not a used car lot for pity’s sake!
Thanks so much! You too! I’ll make sure to check up on your next month to see how things are going. 🙂
Great post! Even though I’ve read all the articles on how you’re supposed to use social media, I usually wind up doing my own thing anyway. In fact, my favorite blogs are those that show the personality of the authors. A good example is Veronica Roth’s blog (author of the Divergent series). She did this amazing blog post (with video) about jumping into a tub full of marshmallows. Here is the link to the post: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/2010/04/great-marshmallow-caper.html
Haha! That’s the best example of using a blog any way an author wants! Thank you for showing me this!
I don’t mind people having a professional edge to their posts, but, yes, having some personality (jumping in a tub full of marshmallows shows personality) is what makes readers enjoy the site.
I had home-made muesli. With milk. I’ve never jumped into a tub of mini-marshmallows, but it’s an idea….
I think mini marshmallows are a sure-fire way to get more traffic!
I had grapes and juice. I pretty much say ditto to all the above…I’ve been in business for a long time. The more personal you are, the more people connect with you. I’ve seen this with online personalities as well. When they take out the personal aspects people don’t enjoy them as much. I have worked harder at making my blog more personal by including quotes and reviews about things I enjoy. The hard part is balancing a professional friendship and personal friendships – keeping those lines where they need to be.
While blogs can certainly be a tool for business, I think most people follow them for the personal aspect. News can be found anywhere, and while I’d love to have news of upcoming books from my favorite authors, I’d much more prefer a glimpse into their personal world. I think you’ve got the right idea. “How To” methods limit us to one aspect of the whole picture.
I totally agree. If I want to find news or information, I’ll search specifically for it. I want some personality to a blog.