I like social media. I’m a social person. I’m even an extrovert, a less common animal in the author landscape, from what I’ve seen. I use a lot of social media, some better than others. I even use it in my work. I manage several twitter and facebook accounts and pages, and use Pinterest, LinkedIn and LiveJournal as well. Oh, and of course, a hootsuite account to manage it all.
Still, talking to people you’ve never met can be disconcerting. I must say, though, that my experience was utterly heart-warming. Here’s what happened…
As you know, I’ve been posting my chapters on Wattpad.com in an attempt to get some reader feedback and to use my commitment to posting once a week to get the novel through an edit. I had some help in the begining when a friend, Maaja Wentz, who is a little bit ahead of me in this process, dedicated a chapter of her work to me. This drove some traffic over to my novel which got a bunch of reads in the first few weeks. The trouble was, things had ground down to a halt.
I worried that my early few chapters weren’t grabbing people, and thus, few people were reading on to later chapters at all. I revised the first two chapters, just in case, but I wasn’t getting visitors any more. It’s the perennial problem for artists…how to get known?
Thanks to my friend Maaja, I had heard of a group of romance writers who use wattpad called the wattpad 4, and that they had a twitter chat scheduled every Monday night at 8pm EST. One day I managed to get my act together and get on twitter at the beginning of one of these chats. Maaja had showed me how to follow their hashtag in hootsuite to keep track of the discussion, or I would have been completely lost. I managed to make a few comments that were well received among the hundreds flitting across my screen that hour. They seemed like a good bunch.
The leader of the discussion, one of the 4, opened the floor at the end to questions from the group, so I asked how to get people to read my work. Several people offered up answers that were helpful mostly suggesting I read and comment on other works on wattpad. Fair enough, it is a social media, I remembered! When I mentioned that I worried my first few chapters were not grabbing people enough, people assured me that it just takes time. Like–one or two years!
Here’s the nice part…I was asked the name and link for my novel, which I provided, and before the discussion was wrapped up, my count on Wattpad jumped up 50 reads! Several people even posted comments on wattpad saying it was a good read, not to worry about the work. I didn’t even know that many people were following the twitter chat.
I have learned my lesson. Reach out and connect. Support to others when you can, share your experience, and ask when you need help. The world is full of giving people. It may surprise you. This experience restored my faith in human kind. Social media is for sharing with people you know, yes, but its also a way to reach out and meet new people, sometimes people who share your interests, or perhaps who know things you need to learn. Use it, and use it well.