Perhaps the most universal advice an indie author will get is that they need to be on social media to build a platform. For me, this is like saying to a person terrified of water that they have to learn to swim before they can be successful.
I am, by nature, an introvert. I have a ton of social anxieties that go way back to when I was in elementary school and the target of pretty much all the school bullies. Because I was an introvert even then. I was also the classic nerd: socially awkward, glasses, acne, poor fashion choices, and an obsession with academic excellence that other kids despised.
I spent my childhood daydreaming. Dreaming up stories. Oftentimes, it was the only escape I had from the social nightmare of school. Back then, video games were about hand-eye coordination, so I wasn’t very good at them (I’m better at that now, but still prefer RPGs over action platformers), and we only had one game console that my older brother dominated anyway (he was very good at them, so I rarely got a chance to practice).
This left books and daydreams as my only escape, and I used both liberally. I needed these outlets, just to get through each day. I would spend every second that I had with my nose either buried in a book, or scribbling notes for a story. You can imagine how popular this made me. 😉
Social interactions nowadays are quite a bit different, but no less fraught with emotional peril. It’s quite easy to find yourself embroiled in an online battle royale with just a single tweet or post. I’m much thicker-skinned than I used to be as a child, but that’s because some of that thick skin is composed of scars.
Despite that thick skin, I’ve been conditioned by experience to avoid situations that can quickly and unexpectedly devolve into a nightmare—you know, that dream where you find yourself at school naked. There are other reasons I avoid most social media like the plague as well (like social laziness and a desire to focus on writing my books instead of tweets), but this is the one that stands out the most to me. I don’t want to say or do the wrong thing and suddenly find myself in the center of a firestorm of negativity.
So, even though I know I should have Twitter, and Instagram, and Google+ and every other possible social media outlet I can sign up for, I only have Facebook and my blog (and I don’t check or update Facebook nearly as often as I should). I only spend one day a week even on the social media I do have, which is why it might sometimes seem like I’m suddenly extremely active online for a brief spurt and then nothing. A week on the Internet is an eternity.
I know what I have to do, as an indie, to grow my platform and spread the word about my books, but at this point, it’s still on my “To do” list, and will probably remain there for a while. I’d rather spend the majority of my focus on writing my books. According to all the advice and wisdom out there on indie publishing, this is undoubtedly not the way to do things, but I’ve never been very good at fitting in anyway. Some things never change. 🙂
What do you guys think? How is your relationship with social media? Do you consider it a burden or a blessing? I’d love to get feedback on this, because sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who hasn’t wholly embraced it, but I’d also like to know what you enjoy about social media, because perhaps it will give me a new perspective to make things easier for me.