by Laurie Alice Eakes
I have no scientific or statistical data to backup what I’m about to proclaim and explain. What I have is personal experience and three years of observation.
Four years ago, I joined Facebook. A year ago, I joined Twitter. Somewhere in there I signed up for Linkedin and Goodreads and probably other social media sites I’ve forgotten about. It is the right thing to do as an author. Promote. Promote. Promote. Yet promoting oneself and thus one’s books is not about making announcements of one’s releases, signings, accolades, etc.
Duh, you say to me? Of course it’s not.
Perhaps I’m slow. Perhaps I only heard part of the conversation, the part that said one must join all these social media sites to network and promote. Whatever the reason, only recently have I come to realize that Facebook and Twitter have a far more important role than the rather cold, calculating business aspect of networking.
Social Media is about relationships.
When I say relationships, I don’t mean those cold, calculating business relationships of quid pro quo-you do something for me; I do something for you. I’m talking about people with whom you connect on a personal level. The networking follows.
When figuring out how Facebook worked, what the community was all about, back when I personally had met every one of my friends, I took note of their status reports. They posted a quotation, a Bible Verse, an inspirational saying. They told me what they were having for dinner, the amusing or concerning things their children did, their struggles with family, career, life. Sometimes they received lots of responses, more often, the reactions were mediocre. The ones who got the most responses asked a question and got interaction going.
Wanting to see if my theory was right, I started to post different statuses. Yes, the questions tended to get the most reactions from friends. Face it, we like giving our opinions. And I liked hearing them. I liked hearing even those with which I disagreed. I started responding.
That’s when the light began to dawn on me. Facebook-and now Twitter-are not just about saying things like, “I sold another book.” It’s a great place to do it, and the congratulations and “likes” pour in. Very fun and heart-warming to an author.
The true difference between vague networking connections and relationships began when I interacted on my statuses and those of others, started conversations with the commenter’s. It’s all highly time-consuming, yet ultimately satisfying, for from these people whose “friend” requests I accepted, I have rediscovered old friends. I have discovered new friends, and, for those who remain acquaintances, they are more to me than names on a page. I cry when their kittens die, and laugh over their children’s antics. And I am more likely to go to the blog, pick up a book by, or vote in a pole for a fellow author who has taken the time to interact and build a relationship rather than simply make announcements.
My conclusion: Although social media is a good way to network with industry professionals, learn things, get one’s name out into the cyber world, in the end, the relationships you build by taking a few extra seconds to pay attention to those same connections is far more valuable.
“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author. with the release of Choices of the Heart, The Midwives #3, she sees her twelfth book published, in addition to two novellas with more novels and novellas releasing over the next three years. Laurie lives in Texas with her husband, dogs, and cats, where she enjoys long walks, rainy days, and knitting-rather badly. Find Laurie Alice on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LaurieAEakes.