M is for Media

ImageAs I hit the midway mark in the  A to Z Blog Challenge  I realize how much harder and time consuming this actually is. As a teacher, I was never at a loss for words, as many of my past students can attest, and yet, as I contemplate the next topic, I keep wondering who really wants to read this stuff? In front of the classroom, I had a captive audience–they were stuck there, whether they liked it or not. Did they all listen? Of course not, but in my ignorance, I assumed some of my knowledge would sink in by osmosis.

Is there actually anyone out there who cares what I think and say on a daily basis? As an ebook author, I truly hope there are people waiting to hear what I’m going to talk about next, but as a person who has a hard time believing I could be interesting enough to grab your attention, I sincerely doubt it. So, if you are one of the few waiting to hear what marvelous wisdom I’m about to spout, I hope you won’t be disappointed.

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “M”. So many great things start with that letter– Matthews, memories, money, mothers, mistakes, marriage, movies, monsters, me, and media. What to choose? I thought I’d write about media, in particular the social media that seems to be the be-all and end-all of a budding author’s career. I wanted to be an author and discovered I needed to be a publicist as well. 

When I decided to write Fire Angel,the only social media I understood and participated in–in a very limited way–were Facebook and Twitter. I had a personal Facebook page and that was it. I used it primarily to view pictures of my grandchildren. I might visit FB once a month, but even that was a stretch. The only reason I had the Twitter account was to pitch Fire Angel in a Twitter Pitch event. Condensing everything I wanted to say into 140 characters wasn’t easy, but Jennifer wanted the book, and the rest is history.

Where to begin? I needed to establish a media presence, but knew next to nothing about such things. This old dog had to learn some new tricks. My contract asked for a bio, and social media links. The first thing I needed was a fan email address, separate from my regular email address since it would be posted on the publisher’s website and in my book. Next, I needed a blog address. What the heck was a blog, and why did I need one?

I asked around and found WordPress. I looked at a few of the blogs posted there. You wrote about different things. In essence, it was an online diary you let anyone read. I was pleased with myself when I managed to set it up on my own with actually very little trouble. At first, remembering to blog was a challenge. As time passed, it got easier, and I blogged not only on my own Living the Dream site, but on others too. I joined blog hops and even managed to give e-books away to generate interest in my writing. Eight months later, I’m hosting guest authors as well as boring people with the minutia of my daily existence.  As they say, I’ve come a long way, but have I come far enough?

I’d heard horror stories of people being stalked online. I wouldn’t want some individuals admiring and stealing pictures of my grandchildren. Deep down, I didn’t believe it possible, but recently I’ve  learned that people do indeed live down to your lowest expectations. So, I needed author sites where my fans could learn a little about me and my books. I managed to create a Facebook Author page and to date, have over 1200 likes, two marriage proposals, and a few other weird personal messages, but so far, so good. I also set up an Amazon author page and  Goodreads author page. By the grace of God, and thanks to my wonderful techno savvy son, I have  a  Webpage, a glitzy wonder to which my son manages to link everything and keeps updated. If I blog, it’s on my website. If I sell a new book, it’s there too. Imagine in one year, more than 11,000 hits have gone to my website, 3100 of them unique hits. I have 652 Twitter followers as well. All of this from someone whose media presence didn’t exist a year ago. 

What about the old-fashioned media? Well, we have a newspaper in town, and I managed to get Interviewed for it too. 

I’ve learned a lot in a year. Have I got a big enough media footprint, probably not, but I keep at it. Who knows? Someday, I may make it.

Don’t forget to check out the other  A to Z Blog Challenge

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