Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Second Look


There’s been a lot of soul-searching on this blog lately.  That’s okay; it’s what it was originally meant for.  I never imagined this blog to be much-followed, unless a vast supply of people—eager to read about the angst and dead ends that creep into a fledgling writer’s life after the decision to “go pro” is made—suddenly appeared.
The angst and dead-end of the moment revolves around Social Networking and my reluctance to use it for marketing.
I was living happily in denial for a while but, over the past few days happenstance intervened in the form of some relevant link I found myself on the business end of.  These articles, that I never set out to read, led me to the regrettable conclusion that Social Networking is a must.  My reaction to it reminded me of when I was a PC co-ordinator many years ago, removing typewriters and putting computers in their place.  The typists nearly rebelled, refusing to use the new technology.  And it was my job to tell them, it didn’t matter how they felt about it, these were the tools they needed to use in order to do their job.  Their choice was to use the tools or get another job.
So, after a second look, I grudgingly accepted the fact that, like it or not, Social Networking, at this time, is absolutely essential to marketing (may it soon pass), whether you are traditionally published or self-published.  Once I accepted this, I realized that I didn’t object to Social Networking, or Marketing, so much as some of the tactics.
This is where I felt I could safely draw a line.  The tools are a necessity, but how I use them is up to me.  What was stopping me was seeing what other people were doing and me thinking, “What an asshole!” and, unsurprisingly, deciding I didn’t want to do that.
There is a guy I ended up following on Twitter who, every single hour, night and day, tweets a link to his book with a variety of messages that all say the same thing: “Buy my book.  Retweet this.”  Early on, I had a look at his book (you cannot deny this method is effective) and the cover looked as if it was created by a talented eleven-year-old and the book itself, as the single, honest reviewer noted, read like it was written by a child.  The other reviews (and there were many) were all five star raves by reviewers who, oddly enough, had not reviewed any other book.  And to top it off, the guy’s profile picture made him look like a pedophile.
This is not something I want other people to be saying about me.
It now occurs to me that I was looking at it from a negative point of view, and as if I had no control over any of these factors.  All I could see was what I didn’t want to do, not what I could do, not the things I had control over.  So I changed my profile picture (my old one made me look a bit like a pedophile) and developed a workable social networking plan that I could live with.
In a way, going part time at my job in order to provide more time to write was working against me.  It encouraged me to log on to Twitter and/or Facebook (and now, and/or Google +) at 5:30 AM, when my writing day began, and agonize endlessly over what to say, if to say it, who to respond to and, of course, follow endless links until it occurred to me that I was hungry and it was approaching noon.  Each day I had a ToDo list, but I rarely completed every item on it and production fell further and further behind, because there was always tomorrow to get it done.  Except tomorrow I would wake up, log on to Twitter the day would bog down in frustration.
So this weekend I made a schedule.  A realistic one that includes set times to be on line and set goals for each session.  Not big goals or goals that I have no control over.  The focus will simply be on interaction, making a few posts and following relevant people in the hopes I will get followers in return.
Items on my ToDo list now have set times of the day to deal with them and I scheduled in a time, once a week, to review the previous week and plot out my goals for the next week.  It’s not a grand plan, or a foolproof one, but it is a plan, and having one will at least help me make more progress than the random way I have been going about things.
I think this will clear up a few dead ends; now to do something about the angst.

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