Monday, 4 November 2013

Virtual world…there are people out there!

Hubby gets a phone call from his mate across the road, “Did you know your wife is all over the internet?”
Hubs replies, “Where do think I got her?”

Which of those two lines is true? Behave! The first, obviously…

I have been hearing time and again of the importance of having a social media presence as a new author. Have to say, I wasn’t keen. There is stuff on Facebook and Twitter that is inane, embarrassing, or downright exposing as people forget to use their social filter and think about how public the information can become. (An aside: it’s like mobile phone conversations. People have got so used to talking aloud in the street, they no longer stop to think about what passers by might hear. I have been party to news on bank balances, abortions and domestic violence!)

Anyway, since the launch of my novel, I’ve had to seriously get to grips with a bigger virtual world than Facebook (which is genuinely people I actually know). Yes, it was time to Tweet.

Well, I’ll be honest. I felt like a right plonker talking random nonsense to nobody out there who wanted to hear. And although I want to stir up interest in my book, I don’t just want to be a repetitive advertisement. Then I had a helpful hint from Twitter suggesting I build a sort of profile that indicates my interests. That began to make sense as I have noticed increased traffic to my website followed with messages that indicate that it is often some aspect of yourself that people warm to, which in turn leads them to notice your work.

This does take us back to the question of exposure. You want to widen your appeal, but not sell your soul. It can be done (I hope). For example, on my website is a link to a filmed speech I made to the NHS at a conference a couple of years ago, talking about the role of carers when their cared for is in hospital. It’s a passionate plea. It’s already out there in the ether, so I might as well own it.

What’s that got to do with a sexy, lesbian led coming out story? Nothing. Except that straight away you can see that I’m not just a raunchy cougar delivering mummy erotica (imagine!!), but a complex woman with a busy life. That’s a lot easier to relate to. 

Well, it’s been a funny couple of weeks on Twitter, because guess what I discovered? That virtual world has people in it! And those people are talking and sharing, and spreading the word so much further than I could do alone. I am grateful. I am impressed.

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