I have a small confession.
I am the polar opposite of a social media star.
Yes I know, that shocks you all. But it’s true. Outside of this humble blog, I’ve never bothered with social media. I’m not on Facebook. I joined Twitter, never used it, and lost my password. I have no brand. No platform. No fan base. You may notice I don’t even have my picture or name prominently place on my own blog. In the virtual world, I am approaching the black hole of non-existence.
Which means I will never get an agent or traditional publisher, never mind that years ago I was published by Bantam. I may also be hurting my chances of selling my screenplay.
The thing is, I’ve learned a little late that agents now check out potential clients on the Internet. If you don’t have a social media brand and a virtual presence, they’re not interested.
Sure, that’s unfair. A writer’s work should speak for itself. But this is the new publishing reality.
And it makes me cringe. I just have this extreme reluctance to sing my own praises and promote myself. Some of this goes back to how I was raised. But also it’s because of the ridiculous caricatures that have taken over social media. Think Kardashians (I never do) and other painful celebrity “personalities.”
So I’ve decided to bear in mind writers from the past who were masters at creating an image of themselves and promoting the hell out of it. I’ve already written here about Oscar Wilde — he set out to create a sensation before he ever wrote a play or novel. Mark Twain took to the lecture circuit and practically invented the job of stand up comic (so did the wonderful Artemus Ward, but he died young and is now forgotten).
So yes, at long last and for the sake of my stories, in the coming months I’ll be joining the social media horde. Besides, when bloggy pals like Alex Cavanaugh or Hart Johnson ask for friends to help them out with Twitter or Facebook mentions of their books, I feel like the ugly, awkward kid in the back of the room who can’t join in.
What have your own experiences with social media been like for you, writer-wise? Good, bad, or indifferent?