April 4, 2016 by Renee
I read a lot of author tweets, statuses, blog posts that complain about social media. The evil, tempting, corrupting spawn of something satanic that we must use to promote our books. If we didn’t have to use it, well we would be happy. We’d write more. We’d do more shit outside. If we could shut our social media accounts down and never venture into those waters again, we’d totally do that.
You would not. Maybe some of you would, but most of us don’t really hate social media. Why? Because it’s not evil. It’s opened up a vast landscape of awesome (and also terrible, but that’s not the focus today) that has been fantastic for indie authors. Hell, it’s been awesome for all authors. The key word in social media is “social.” 100% of your target audience is people, unless you know of a dog or monkey that reads, this number is pretty accurate. By engaging, networking and reaching out to people, you grow your brand and you establish a platform. When you have a platform, it’s easier to sell books, get published, all those wonderful things you want to do eventually. True, social media alone doesn’t sell books. It’s a tool in a marketing toolbox that you’d be a fool not to use.
Think about it. If not for social media, you wouldn’t be here, on this page, reading my little quasi-rant about your lies. You wouldn’t have read my previous post, where I let myself go on a full-on rant regarding something I had strong feelings about. Without social media, you wouldn’t be able to follow this blog at all, because as social media, it wouldn’t exist.
And I have to mention how much I appreciate the irony of authors lamenting the evils of social media on their blogs and their Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is rich, guys.
I will never say I hate social media. I LOVE IT. Without Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, blogs, and the like, I’d never have pursued publishing. Perhaps some of you are wishing I hadn’t. You all can piss off.
Anyway, without social media, I’d never have met my writing mentor, Carlos, or my online besties (too many to name, but the longest and most supportive would have to be Katrina Monroe and Hanna Elizabeth). One of these besties (Hanna) introduced me to DeadPixel Publications, which is a pretty fucking awesome gaggle of writerly types, and through DeadPixel, I met Brian Braden, who gave me a shot with my column on Underground Book Reviews (which I have way too much fun with). Without social media, I’d never have sold a single book outside of Canada (if at all). I love my Canadian family, but I have to be honest, the majority of my sales are NOT in Canada. I sell the most books in the US and the UK, so yay foreign sales!
If not for social media, I’d never have known about new favorite authors I’m so thrilled to have found. I’d never have branched out beyond the genres I’m comfortable with and found the greatest of all genres; comedy. I’d never make new friends, because let’s face it, I’m not the most likeable person in real life. Sure, I’m chatty, but I’m also awkward, a little weird, and prefer to sit at home. Okay, so maybe that’s not healthy. Whatever. I still can’t blame that on social media, since I’ve been me long before the Internet was invented.
Yes, I get distracted. Yes, I’ve spent hours on the Facebook and Twitter, wasting time and just scrolling. I should be working. It’s not social media’s fault, though. It’s mine. I lack the focus to police my own self. Has nothing to do with social media or the Internet being evil. It has everything to do with my limited self-control and my addiction to Candy Crush.
Without the social corners of the interwebs, I’d never know all of you and you would not be here, reading my shit and being at least marginally amused by it.
But Renee, you say. Social media has causes so much trouble. It lets trolls have power. It makes people nasty and mean. It is a platform for everyone, including people who shouldn’t have a platform. We must stomp it out for the greater good!
Okay, so jerks are jerks with or without social media and the reality is, social media is what you make it. It can be a deep black pit of ugly shit, or it can be a useful tool for promotion and play. It can be negative and stressful, or it can be fun and educational. You make it what it is for you. It’s not an entity that can alter your life or ruin it unless you allow that to happen.
So stop hating or pretending to hate. The only person you’re fooling is yourself.
Oh and follow me on Twitter. I’ll also be writing a more in depth, rational article for Miller Time, where I tell you all how to avoid fucking it up on social media. I can tell you’re eager to read that one.