You’re reading this right now, so you must be able to navigate your way onto a website. But what if that’s the extent of your technical abilities? Does the idea of having to become social media savvy make your brain hurt? Does there seem to be too much to learn and not enough time to do it and work on your novel at the same time?
We’ve all heard that as debut authors, we have to become part of the social networking / new media environment, and every agent and publisher will expect it. To some, this is an exciting frontier . . . and to others, it’s a frightening abyss. I’m pretty savvy myself, but I have had many, many moments of complete overwhelm.
If you feel dizzy just thinking about it, you’re not alone.
There are plenty of resources online for the soon-to-be-published author who needs tips and advice. But, for those of us who like the comfort of a book in our hands, BookLife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer by Jeff Vandermeer is a great companion guide.
Jeff is not only a social media expert, he’s also a writer of many genres, including fiction, so he can sympathize.
For those of us who do go into overwhelm, he’s got a section in Chapter One called “How Am I Possibly Going to Keep Up With All of This?!” That’s what I kept asking myself! One thing I learned, with immediate relief, is that I don’t have to do it all. I seriously thought I was behind the times if I wasn’t on MySpace. But MySpace has never appealed to me, so I avoided it. Now, I don't even worry about it. There are PLENTY of other avenues. I can pick and choose the ones best suited to me and my personality.
“Sometimes an opportunity is an opportunity – and sometimes it’s just a distraction or even a trap.”
Jeff’s book covers:
Creating and Managing Your Goals
Choosing Your Platforms
Effective and Ineffective Approaches to Blogging
Managing Your Involvement
Dealing with Agents and Publishers
Understanding Creative PR, PR Tools, and PR Planning
Leveraging Your Ideas
Maintaining Your Booklife
Living Your Booklife (finding inspiration, work schedule, habit vs. process, etc)
Protecting Your Booklife (rejection, despair, envy, etc)
And Much More.
As you can see, the book is not just about social media, it’s about how to make your public and private booklives connect, so that the process feels organic, rather than like swimming upstream (or against a sea of virtual voices). What you create OUT THERE can be an extension of yourself. Your personality, your strengths, may be used and can be communicated so that your readers hear YOUR voice and not something inauthentic or forced.
The book offers not only tips, but questions you can ask yourself to get clear, ways to get more focused on your PR so you can take practical steps to creating your booklife, self-checks to make sure you’re staying in balance, resources and examples.
I highly recommend this book to any writer who is nervous about navigating the virtual landscape.
And if you'd like more information about Jeff and/or his work, you can find him ONLINE. Of course.
“VanderMeer has struck a new sort of balance with the Internet: charming his dedicated fan base on the web, creating multimedia promotional tools for his books, and actively seeking out new readers like me in the digital crowds. One of my favorite writers.” —The Publishing Spot