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:
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.
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?