City Slickers and Social Media

Hello and welcome to the World of Writers in what will now be referred to as the Wild Wild West of Publishing.  Let me introduce to you our panelists who will cover the vast opinions circling social media today:

Patrick McGilligan, Film biographer and Social Media Nay Sayer. If you'd like to know what he thinks about something, please just email.

Josie Brown, Fiction Women's Lit Author and Social Media Champion. Click the image to link to her blog, facebook, or twitter account.

Judy Molland, Non-fiction Writer, Parenting and Social Media Advocate. For answers about teaching, parenting, writing and social media, Judy is your lady, and it comes with a genuine British accent!

Jim DeRogatis, Music Critic and Rock N'Roll Know-It-All, If you want the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God, Jim's your man. User of social media, pays someone else to do it, but it's definitely NOT his agent!

Wrapping up Saturday at the Writers Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, was a panel on Social Media.  Like old time wanted posters, these four pioneers of authorship sat in the front of the room, sharing their opinions and travels through the Wild Wild West that is today’s publishing process.  Patrick was kindly allowed to speak first, fully knowing the rest of the discussion would come back to charge him like the bull he was.  Patrick, luckily, is a man with a specific area of expertise.  He is a film biographer.  His agent and his publishing house let him submit a list of ideas to write about, they circle one, he does it.  Patrick sees no need for the extra work that goes into maintaining a website, blogging, facebook and twitter, and to him it’s all just that, WORK.  I should tell you that Patrick was pretty honest about not desiring to have it all either.  He makes a decent living for himself and he’s comfortable with that.  He doesn’t actively promote the sales of his books because in his mind it only accounts for about 10% more anyway.  Are you thoroughly depressed or angered yet?

For those of you that are, Josie’s got your back!  Full of biting quips and interjections, she personally forges the way for writers of today to get involved with their audience by allowing the audience to get to know them.  She blogs about things that inspire her and will hopefully inspire her readers.  She tweets, she uses facebook.  If you saw Josie riding through the rough terrain of the open range, her horse would have her newest book branded into its butt (assuming it didn’t harm the horse to do so, she strikes me as an animal lover).  The words ‘author’ and ‘platform’ are common terms in her vocabulary.

Judy is a teacher through and through.  Her opinion may lean strongly to one side more than the other, but she still wants you to play nice with the other kids.  Her experience led her to be in the middle of social media without fully realizing it.  She began in journalism, she was writing articles for parenting magazines, and then blogging, and now it’s just what she does.  The use of social media allowed her to work on her passion, the site www.care2.com, an activist site that helps people find ways to get involved, donate, and stay educated about causes.

Finally, you get to Jim.  Patiently smirking throughout all the banter of this rodeo, he’ll tell you, Yes, you need to be involved with social media, but don’t ask him how to do any of it.  He voices his opinion on his radio show, Sound Opinions, with Greg Kot.  He says writers do need to market themselves because most agents, including his, aren’t going to do it for you.  He has no idea what his agent actually does, and yet he earns 15% of the sales.  I actually got to chat with Jim for awhile before the day started one morning and he was very affable, happy to sign the book of his I’d purchased, and chatted with me about authors to check out and his band, Vortis, a delightful three piece band of “agitainment.”  Jim may not know the ins and out of html code (which for some of us is comforting, raises hand), but he knows the people to get him there and makes himself very available to the public.  (He told me to email him!)

This post may not have answered all your questions about social media, but it shows there’s a broad spectrum of opinions about it, hence the Wild Wild West of Publishing…and Platforms…and Print on Demand…and oh hell, gang, grab a pair of chaps and a lasso, we’re going writing!  I’ll be your host, Jess Witkins (picture Jack Palance with red hair), Perseverance Expert and Social Media Pony Show Captain.  Come along, subscribe.

For more in depth information on using social media check out the Social Media Expert, Kristen Lamb and her book We Are Not Alone.

What questions do you have about social media?  How are you using it or not using it?  What do you wish it was doing that isn’t yet?

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14 responses

  1. Author Kristen Lamb | Reply

    Many writers don’t like social media because they are overwhelmed, and they don’t understand it. Often, they launch on to Twitter or FB with no prepared content or a plan, and no clue how search engines work. Thus, they are putting out a ton of effort, yet seeing very little in returns. That is a formula to get discouraged and give up.

    I joke that I should have named my first book, “I Made All the Dumb Mistakes So You Don’t Have To.” I launched on to social media with little idea of what I was doing. Soon I was hating life, my computer and wishing Facebook would sink into hell.

    But that was because I didn’t know what I was doing. Social media is critical to our success, but the simple truth is that if we hate it, others will feel it and so we are doing more harm than good. I have made it my mission to make social media simple, effective and most of all FUN. We need to see genuine results for our effort. We need to enjoy what we are doing. We need, most of all, to have time left over to write more BOOKS, and if we re running like hamsters in a wheel hating what we are doing? That will affect our creativity.

    Thanks for the mention and for your amazing and enthusiastic support :D. Great post!

    1. When I first started up a blog, I had no plan. I shuffled my feet around and whispered “I um write a blog.” But after reading your blog and especially attending the Writers Institute and better understanding the author platform and why it’s important to get your voice out there, I’m proud of my blog. It’s an active and ongoing step I’m taking to get to know people and let them get to know me, the woman who wants to be a writer. Bad eating habits and all! LOL. It’s like your post on likeability http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/the-skinny-on-l-a-one-big-question-does-likability-matter/ it’s great to see how available other writers are. It’s important that we encourage the community of writers because often it’s a lonely career, simply because much of our work happens “behind the scenes” it’s nice to engage with other writers/readers when we can.

      P.S. Please make and patent a bumper sticker of a writer/hamster on a wheel with one of those giant red slashed circles over it immediately! I want one.

  2. Jack Palance with red hair…:-D

    When you have it all figured out, let me know what to do next. 😉

    1. *tips hat* Sure thing, Miss Lady, ma’am.

  3. Little by little, day by day, I am becoming more confused about the publishing business and the future of authors and publishers. I’m chillin’ out for now. I’m not ready yet. I hope the lasso lands somewhere and takes hold by the time I’m ready. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you, Jess…

    1. To you too Carol! We’ll ride through the wild wild west together!

  4. I’ve got the whole Facebook thing down cold, but Twitter is something I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate so that it will work for me. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

    1. Oh I held out a long time on twitter. I’m still not using it to the fullest potential probably, but I’m still learning. It’s not as scary as you think, but it is as addicting. LOL

  5. It occurs to me, Jess, that you need to put the Tweet button on your posts so its easier to spread the love!

    1. I keep trying, I don’t know how to do it. Must find technical guru or REALLY good book on blogging for dummies at the library. Is it a free service or extra one you pay for? Send all help my way!

    1. OMG, I even went to the settings page on my dashboard, and at the time it wouldn’t let me move any of them. Somehow now it worked. You are a good fairy sent to make me smile today! Thank you!!!

  6. […] The DFW Con is my second writing conference.  Last year I attended the Madison, Wisconsin Annual Writer’s Institute.  You can check out my conference posts if you like:  The Do Re Mi of Conference Attending, Creativity? How to Force More of It and Have Fun Too, and City Slickers and Social Media. […]

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