Sunday, March 30, 2014

Social Media Anxiety... You're Not Alone, Authors!

This was originally written for on my Under the Table and Into His Heart blog tour. Published Feb 18th, 2014.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social networking and how utterly stressful it can be for a brand new author. When I take off my tiny hat and my hot pink glasses and my faux mustache and become regular ol’ library lady, I love getting on and seeing what my co-workers and colleagues are all up to! I like to comment on their photos, chat with them, ‘like’ particularly witty posts—it’s all very easy and natural. When I have to do the same thing as Raine O’Tierney? It sometimes becomes a challenge!

When I received my first contract last year, I knew I was going to have to network. So I got myself all set to go onto the major social networking sites and I stepped into the world, friending other authors, and I was immediately hit with feelings of panic and inadequacy. It was like changing schools mid-year and walking into a cafeteria where everyone is already friends!

So I stood there with my proverbial lunch tray, not knowing where in the world to sit, eventually finding a little corner by myself and wondering—was it always going to be this way?

The answer is NO. No, it won’t. I know it’s hard feeling like the newbie and the odd man out, but it will get easier. I’ve made some KICKASS friends and I’ve learned some lessons along the way. If you’re feeling alone, consider the following pieces of advice that were given to me:

1.   Be helpful! If an author asks for advice about a subject you know about—talk to them!

2.   Be friendly! Maybe not such a good idea to start a fistfight when you’re trying to make friends. Don’t talk crap on people. Be positive.

3.   Don’t be a walking advertisement! Seriously, don’t. It’s WONDERFUL to announce that you’ve just got your first galley or to remind people to come to your public chat, but you will only turn people off if every post is a reminder to buy your book.

4.   You’re MORE than just an author! What are your other interests? Give a shout-out to your favorite show, post art you’ve done, or just celebrate your love of dachshunds. It’s all about connecting with people in a variety of ways

5.   Support other authors! Tell an author if you loved their book and if someone asks for a beta reader in a genre you enjoy? Consider offering your help!

And the biggest one (and hardest for me!)…

6.   BE PATIENT! It takes a while for people to get to know you and if you panic and run away, they never will. I was told (repeatedly) that once my first work actually came out, conversations with people would happen more naturally. Of course, I decided this couldn’t possibly be true and spent months feeling isolated… Then the release drops and wouldn’t you know it? Conversation happens naturally.

Know this—you’re not alone in how you feel. (Most) all of us have felt this way to varying degrees. It’s hard to believe when you first walk into that cafeteria, but you really are part of one of the coolest, most supportive groups in the world! Give it time and you’ll find the whole cafeteria is yours.

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