Saturday, November 08, 2008

Getting "Out There"

I'm a very private person. Given the opportunity (which I rarely am), I'd be happy sitting at the computer for long periods of time, just writing, occasionally surfing the web, sending and receiving emails, and in general hiding out. But, like all authors, I recognize the need to put myself forward in order to promote my writing. At least that's what they tell me.

For me, some aspects of this are good. For example, as the author of The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, I am frequently invited to speak about grief and loss. I did this just last week, spending a couple of hours with an Ecclesiology class at Dallas Theological Seminary to try to help these pastors-in-the-making prepare to minister to their church members in times of crisis and loss. Will that cause any of them to buy the book? Maybe, maybe not, but that wasn't the object of the meeting. I consider this a ministry, just as I think the book represents a way to serve others. I don't call that marketing.

On the other hand, I also write fiction, and if/when it's published, I'd like for people to buy it. One way for that to happen is for them to recognize my name. So, today I signed up for Facebook. My friend, Brandilyn Collins, once called Facebook a "stalker's dream," but she's signed up so I figure it's not a bad deal. I'm still not sure I should have done it or what I need to do next. For example, apparently I have a "wall," but I don't know what it represents and whether I'm responsible for painting it and putting up pictures. Nevertheless, authors are supposed to get their names "out there," and apparently a blog isn't enough. So I'm now on Facebook. Do I need to do even more? Probably, but I think I'll stop right there, at least for now.

Some of my friends are enamored with Twitter, which, as best I can tell, is sort of like a nationwide party line where everyone knows what everyone else is doing at all hours. I can't see the appeal, but my friend BJ Hoff, an admitted technophile, has urged me to join her in tweeting. I'd appreciate hearing from any of my readers about their experience with Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networking sites. But right now I feel as though I've taken the "do not disturb" sign off my door and opened it to let the world in.


~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Actually it was Twitter I called a stalker's dream. But you wait--one day I'll even join that.

My Facebook page is paying off. I don't go looking for friends, but they seem to come looking for me. Writers, readers, people from my old schools, hometown, friends of friends. For every person who asks to be my friend, as I confirm I send a message inviting him/her to join the Fans of Brandilyn Collins group. That way the group keeps steadily growing. I will give away books through that group and generally keep them aware of my releases. I have gained readers from Facebook already, and I haven't been on all that long--a couple months, maybe.

Richard L. Mabry, MD said...

Sorry to have misquoted you. I should have learned by now not to trust my memory. Since yours was one of the first faces I saw when I signed up, I knew I was doing the right thing.
I've been on Facebook less than 24 hours and have already become "friends" with lots of folks, many through mutual "friends." I've also discovered what it means to write on a wall. Of course, in my earlier years I would have been spanked for writing on a wall. Don't know if I can get past that or not.
My biggest surprise was finding that one of my sons has a Facebook page. Of course, he'll probably be surprised when he finds that his old Dad has one, as well.

Anonymous said...

Facebook and Twitter are fun. I reluctantly joint Twitter just recently. Oh, and Shoutlife. I've been primarily FaceBook. LOVE FaceBook. It's great.

You'll like them eventually, as you get to know them. I've gotten a lot of blog traffic from FaceBook.

And Brandilyn is right, I'm one of her new readers! Until I found her on FaceBook and heard of her at ACFW, I hadn't read any of her stuff. Now I'm a fan. :-)

Anonymous said...

So, Richard--have you joined Twitter yet?

Incidentally, Brandilyn is there now, too!

Just so you'll know, I resisted this madness for months until email buddy and webmaster, Kelli Standish, twisted my arm beyond my pain threshold. I have declined to join ANY and ALL social networking services except for Twitter, however. The main reason I gave in to Twitter is that I discovered you can "tweet" no more than 140 words at a time--keeps the time to a minimum--and also because I really like their direct message feature, whereby you can send a private, direct message in less time that you can instant message or email. I do use that.

As for FaceBook--many have tried, but none have succeeded in luring me into that maze. Talk about a "stalker's dream." For an introvert like myself--an EXTREME introvert, I might add--it's a nightmare. You will never see me there! Nay, nay, never!

But I'll be watching for you on Twitter ...