We’ve reached the final day of my week-long series on great gifts for writers, and I feel like doing little happy dance in my underwear. If only I had the ones I blogged about in Tuesday's post.
Now that we've got the requisite underwear joke out of the way, I want to tell you about a book. Not just any book, but hands-down the best tool I’ve seen for authors exploring the world of social media.
Since you’re here reading this blog, I can conclude you’re at least dipping your toe in the social media world. Maybe you have a blog of your own, or maybe you tweet and skype and facebook and all those other things that sound kind of dirty when you use them as verbs.
When my amazing agent first lured me into the world of social media with promises of ponies and candy, I was hesitant. I went out and read as many books and articles as I could so I wouldn’t end up looking silly.
Then I decided to build my platform on being silly, which simplified things.
In doing my social media homework, I couldn’t help but notice most resources aren’t targeted specifically at authors. That’s why I perked right up when I first heard about author Kristen Lamb’s book WE ARE NOT ALONE: THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA.
The book covers everything from the nitty-gritty of setting up your Facebook account to the best strategies for using Twitter. One thing I love is that Kristen doesn’t advise authors to embrace every social media trend with the vigor of a beagle humping the mailman's leg. She has a very realistic approach, something she explained in a recent blog post:
Personal trainers are a happy energetic lot, and they will tell you all the benefits of eating algae and tofu and getting detoxed with the latest cleanse. They want us to be just as happy and healthy as they are. But there is often a huge problem. We might desire to be 6% body fat and a size -0, but we have jobs and families and need to sleep.
A person who makes her living as a personal trainer can live this way because it is already in sync with her goals and her life. For the mother of two who works as a teacher, becoming fitness model thin is a HUGE time commitment with a lot of sacrifice. Can she do it? Of course. But for most women, just being a healthy weight is already a struggle. If we shoot for fitness model fitness, we likely will give up before we ever see real benefit.
Social media experts do social media for a living. So to advise a writer that they need to be on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkdIn, Flikr, YouTube, del.ici.ous., Squidoo, Digg It, and on and on and on is natural for them. Why? Because that is their life and what they DO. They do social media because they love it and like the fitness trainer, they want us to love it that much, too…
...I am a writer first. I love social media and I love teaching writers how to use it in a way that doesn’t totally disrupt their lives. I think that there are a lot of cool sites out there and if you love social media then ROCK ON! But like working out, we have to be careful. Social media works best when we forge relationships, when we create networks of people who know us, support us, and are emotionally vested in us.
Her book is chock full of more great information just like that—wisdom that’s tailored to the specific needs of authors from a fellow author who admits right up front that she learned many of these lessons the hard way.
I loved this book. It made me want to pick Kristen up and squeeze her and shake her and slobber all over her with gratitude (which is evidently not the best way to make friends).
No matter where you are in your writing career—from crafting that first manuscript to signing the contracts on your next big book deal—I guarantee there’s something you can learn from this book. Do it for yourself, do it for your writing career, go get a copy of this book.
Are there any resources you’ve found invaluable in the writing world? Books or blogs or articles or Magic 8-balls? Please share.
And in the spirit of sharing, please let me know if there are any great writer gifts I’ve left off the list this week. Obviously I didn’t hit them all, so I’d love to hear your recommendations.
That reminds me...I'm still waiting for the ponies and candy.