Now that the book will be published I have gone about setting up a blog tour or even hiring a publicist. I reached out to a publicist and unexpectedly she critiqued my online presence. Signing up for a critique or asking for one through your actions, such as submitting work for review, is one thing. When they come out of the blue, it's quite another.
Unbeknownst to me, the publicity firm combed through my social media. Then they reported back what they thought I needed to do to make it better. This didn't come quite as a total surprise. The fiction publisher has professional readers who reviewed my author platform. Unfortunately, they too thought mine needed work. They went so far as to say I don't have much of a presence as an author in social media, though klout.com tells a different story. Thankfully, the publicist gave specific recommendations. When I hear these sorts of things I tend to go into hyper-drive. Being the perfectionist that I am as a Virgo, I go above and beyond what is suggested.
You know that I have this blog. It is here that I post about the developments around my books, and writing activities along with the numerous topics explored. So there's that. I thought I was doing a decent job on twitter too. At first I'd neglect it for months and knew nothing of hashtags. More recently I have been steadily posting, hashtags and all. In the process I've gone from 200 to over 500 followers in just a few months. I've even been included in several of the twitter-generated newspapers called paper.Li. I've always done pretty well on LinkedIn. I find it to be professional and satisfying in that way. I soon found out it is not something these social media maven types find of interest. There is also my website, which I recently revamped. Still, the parties concerned were unimpressed. Was it my lack of a public Facebook page, I had begun to wonder. Oh well. To me Facebook was for family, friends and a few associates and that was that.
Back to the recommendations specific to writers. The publicist thought I needed to amp up my activities on Amazon.com. I knew that one had been terribly neglected. What do authors and insecure writers find there? Ratings and reviews. Ugh! Nevertheless, I went there and started adding things like photographs and upcoming events. I even updated my bio. Perhaps I was on to something.
The folks I mentioned went on to criticize my lack of a Library Thing Author Page. What the heck is Library Thing I wondered? Once I found out I created one. I guess it couldn't hurt. Then too there was the lack of a Goodreads author page. Was there no end to these "author pages" online I started to ask. Really though, I don't want to know so please don't tell me if you do. Populating and refreshing these pages started last week around this time and I'm not finished yet.
My most recent excursions have been to my publishers websites. There I found once again how I was being represented was out of date. With two books published by Llewellyn Worldwide, at least there I could kill two birds with one stone. To my amazement I found out that since the last time I'd checked, which admittedly was four years ago, these publishers now post video footage of their author's presentations and upcoming events. Surely there must be an end in sight for my online presence work but I trudged on. I contacted Red Wheel Weiser/Hampton Roads and Chicago Review Press to request certain updates and additions. Now, some of these publishers were more helpful than others. I didn't even know the correct person to contact. Whatever. I'm not going to use this space to out them.
The last thing I set out to do was create a Facebook Like Page. I have mentioned previously I didn't want to have a public page on Facebook. For the insecure writer, what could be more humiliating than starting up such a page and no one showing that they liked it. What a ridiculous notion in the first place, I sulked. Late last Friday night, I relented and started one anyway, mostly to quiet down my social media critics. To my amazement people have shown that they like what is there. Almost overnight I had 50 likes.
Granted this is one of my longer posts and I'm not typically given to doing such a thing to my readers. There may be some wisdom here for other insecure writers in IWSG and elsewhere. Staying active online, be it through contributing articles, blogging, publishing, chatting, updating existing stuff, joining groups--whatever, may well have a positive outcome. Burying your head in the sand might be comforting but it does little to get the word out about what you're doing, would like to do or have done.