Decades ago, when the internet was first becoming a “thing,” the husband of one of my acquaintances would spend most of his day sitting and staring at a computer. It seemed that every time I visited, there he was, staring at this big clunky monitor with a glazed look on his face and I wondered, “Why would anyone do that to themselves?”
One day, having noticed that he never seemed to leave that computer, I asked my friend if her husband was unemployed because I just couldn’t fathom how he could stare at a computer all day and still have a job, too. She laughed and explained that he was trying some new online money-making thing a friend had introduced him to called “blogging,” but it required him to spend many hours every day just to keep up with everything he needed to do to promote it. I didn’t really understand what he could possibly be doing, but I knew *I* would never take a job that required sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen all day. Perish the thought!
Now, here I am, not only staring at a computer and writing fantasy fiction novels, but also trying to figure out how to use a website, two blogs, a twitter account, and a Facebook page to market my work so I can pay the bills and keep writing. And…it is a lot more challenging than I ever would have guessed.
I opened a Twitter account in 2013. I didn’t actually start using it until a few months ago. Less than an hour ago I finally figured out how to send a Tweet FROM my Twitter account. No joke. I’m doing a little bit better with the Quest of the Guardians Facebook page since I’ve been a Facebook addict for years. (Is there a Facebook Anonymous somewhere? Because I need it…) But these blogs are by far the most challenging of all…because I never know what to SAY.
You may find it difficult to believe that a writer wouldn’t know what to write, but it’s true. We writers tend to be hermit-like creatures who poke our heads out into society from time to time because we do have to buy groceries once in awhile, but for the most part we’re solitary creatures who get lost in our own heads and we just can’t imagine that anyone would be interested in reading about our everyday lives. Why would they do that when they can read our books? You know, those carefully crafted works of art that we’ve written, revised, edited, and polished into something we’re not embarrassed to show the world.
There’s always that moment of horror when you release your baby into the world and you’re just certain everyone is going to hate it and you’re going to be the laughing stock of society. But, then we retreat into the safety of our writing caves and hide… Until we realize the baby is helpless. It’s just sitting there on our websites or at Amazon or Nook or any number of online book sellers…gasping for air… crying for love… begging for attention… and we realize our baby still needs us.
That’s when we spend hours glaring at our monitors, trying to figure out how to do an email campaign… or think of something to post on our official Facebook page… or writing a blog about writing blogs… all in the hopes of getting your baby in front of others so she has a fighting chance at life…and you develop a whole new respect for those brave souls who dedicated their days to pioneering online sales and marketing during those early days of dial-up and DOS because they are probably the internet gurus of today. Looking back, I wish I would have asked more questions. Or at least stayed in touch…