Authenticity and Algorithms
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with social media. As a writer, it's a necessary tool for marketing and connecting with your broader community. It's also a time sucker, intimidating, frustrating, and can aggravate imposter syndrome. I don't care about going viral. I just want to connect with other writers and readers and booklovers.
We used to run a social media business and here are my thoughts on how to make yours work for you...
Don't just try to sell books or get followers. Stop putting on the face of the person you think will be accepted on social media. In essence, open up your vulnerability, get a little real with who you are and your writing journey (even the bad stuff), and start to actually tell your story. Someone said to me recently, "Yes we want the big agent and the publishing contract. But that's not what it's about. It's about the journey of connecting with our community. With our friends and peers." That really hit home for me because this writing community is needed. Every writer out there who has something to say is needed. And if you don't put your authentic self out there, who will ever hear your words? Who will hear your story?
Being a writer means constant interaction. It means reading work from published authors, indie authors, unpublished, querying, or nervous newbies who don't know where to start. If all you do is write books, you won't stay in the game very long. We need each other. It's personal. People want to support writers. Artists. They want to be part of our journey. So let them. Let each post tell a piece of your story. A piece of the authentic you.
Back to algorithms. They are weird. No one really understands them. I recently saw a Twitter post that you should tweet 7 times every day and comment on 20 other posts to meet algorithm parameters. Nope. I seriously cannot spend that much time on Twitter, and I don't think I have that much to say. I prefer to say it when I mean it. I would rather have a solid interest in a smaller group than blast everyone in trying to become an "influencer." Those Twitter posts that ask things like, "Do you wear socks?" make me sigh. Loudly. With an eye roll. Getting followers does not equate to selling books. Nor does it mean you're connecting.
You know those profiles that are cringe-worthy to watch? It isn't because they are awkward or silly. It's because we can tell they aren't real. The ones who are truly awkward in real life? Those are lovely to watch because we can feel through our tiny iPhone screens that they are authentic. Be you. Unabashedly. That is what people respond to. But to quote Brene Brown, "Remember, live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability."
So I will keep supporting my writers in any way I can. I will keep reading your work and liking your Tik Tok videos, and buying your books. But my energy goes to the ones who lay it all on the line. Be you. Because we can tell.