I created a wattpad account this week. Because what I need in my life is more social media, right? Eight years ago, a friend persuaded me to join Facebook. I took baby steps at first, only to learn I loved the place. Always content to observe, I stalked my friends without shame. We shared the minutia of our lives on Facebook and stayed caught up with each other without ever dialing the phone. I don’t always say what I mean on my first try, so the editorial control of waiting to hit post until I developed what I wrote in the comment box into polished gems saved me from a lot of anxiety. I knew how to Facebook and I liked it. Click To Tweet
Social Media for the Introverted Author
All of the chatty voices on the internet stressed the importance of a strong social media presence for authors, so I created an author Facebook page and explored other platforms when I launched my first novel, Ellen the Harpist. And then, everything changed.
Facebook used to be this introvert’s dream forum. I friended people I knew would accept my requests. People friended me. I had no agenda. As an author, I needed to reach authors, bloggers, and readers I didn’t yet know, but when I created my author page on Facebook and an Instagram account, I reached out to my existing friends rather than look for new ones. This was the equivalent of talking to the same small group of people (read: my husband) at every party I go to. Not very social of me.
When I was three, my mother couldn’t figure out what I wanted for my birthday. She took me to FAO Schwartz and let me loose. I found a little boy. The two of us sought out a quiet spot and talked to each other, rather than run amok amongst the toys. As an adult, I’m far less likely to walk up to strangers and make friends. Admittedly, that is exactly how I met my husband, but as a general rule, being outwardly social lies outside of my comfort zone.
The scariest step in my social media coming out party was setting up a twitter account. I really didn’t want to sign up, but, like, all the cool authors and bloggers were doing it. When I tweet, I tweet into a canyon. With millions of people tweeting non-stop, and all of us clamoring to welcome our 10,000 followers, who has time to read what everyone else is tweeting? Finding friends, and them finding me, seemed impossible. Kirsten Oliphant of Create If Writing describes twitter as a huge convention hall. If you walk in the door and shout your news, no one will pay you any heed. Instead, you should approach a booth and strike up a conversation with the people you meet. It’s an apt metaphor, but it’s harder to turn it into a strategy. Without an attentive audience of readers, I’ve taken to tweeting about the veggies in my fridge for my own amusement.
Social Media is My Friend
I needed to think differently about social media as an author. Come to an understanding with it. And I suspect change is in the air. I’ve made some new friends — author and blogger friends! — on twitter, and now we’re hanging out in groups on Facebook and chatting. Some of my friendships have carried over to Goodreads. I’m finding peace with social media. Click To Tweet And now I’m trying out wattpad. As a beginner at making new friends on social media, it begs the question, “Why are you embracing yet another social media platform?”
One of my readers wished she could share Ellen the Harpist with her high school students, but because I include non-graphic adult (read: sex) scenes in my novel, it is not an appropriate book for the classroom. She expressed an interest in learning more about Ellen’s experiences as a student, and from her suggestion sprung my new novella. I have finished a draft of my teen-friendly novella and plan to launch it, chapter by chapter, on wattpad starting next week. I’m looking for readers to help me hone it into a publishable work. If you’re a wattpad user, you can find me on my profile page and follow my story as I share it. And read it for free! If you know other wattpad users, especially those who read teen fiction, I hope you’ll introduce them to me and my novella, Harpists Don’t Dance. Meeting friends of friends is my favorite way to expand my social circle, be it IRL or on social media. See you there!