One of the mediums people use now to talk about themselves in the social media universe is Twitter. We all hear about what is on it and what is #Trending and know what it is even if we do not use it and don’t care too. I am certain this site will cause the #Hash tag# button on laptops to eventually wear out as fast as a space-bar and E (which is statistically the first letter to die on a keyboard…or so twitter told me).
The Twitter-verse is filled with random and pointless info unless its info you actually want. Things like what #KimKardasian is wearing and the crazy things #Bobsagat says…things of that nature. Or things like what your favorite author is saying or doing…including eventually famous ones like #MichaelMelville and super famous ones like #NicholasSparks and #DanBrown. Twitter has nearly created a new form of the English language in just a few years as we have learned to say as much as possible in 140 letters of less. Writing professors who preach the need for brevity and conciseness probably get moist with this site sometimes. I actually did have a writing prof use a few examples from Twitter in this regard once.
By the way, if you are looking for a concise writer you might want to move along because I am not and never intend to be #winning
We writers often use Twitter to our advantage, or try, as we utilize this site by bringing it into our “author platform” (*angels sing*) which helps us…in theory…sell books (*angels sing*). It is something I get and something I also take part in…like it or not we (upcoming greats) really do have to do it. Unlike already super famous authors who can ignore such petty things or pay other people to pretend they are them…. #JamesPatterson. Despite the complaints, there is NOT a better option for this kind of micro blogging and free advertising and will not be anytime soon I think. However, as an author and Twitter user there is something that annoys the shit out of me…..
And that is other authors Tweets….
We authors are people, with lives and interests that extend beyond that of writing, publishing, literary interests and advertising…or we should be at least; I hope to fuck we are. I know I have a world and life beyond writing otherwise what the fuck would I write about. Just before writing this blog I looked at one Indie authors Twitter who I follow and the last time he posted anything personal (and this is his only twitter account) was 14 days ago. Does that mean that he has not seen, done, read or felt anything interesting in 14 days that extends beyond schlepping his books in some shape or form? I know I know “How dare you Michel Melville go against the accepted order of things in the modern literary world…you are an asshole,” I am sure someone is saying somewhere maybe.
Before I was a writer, I was just a reader, a guy buying books that I liked just as most writers were. I always wanted to know about certain authors. Things like their everyday lives, likes and dislikes, favorite movies, books they are reading or read what they ate and where they travel. I envied them and their abilities. Moreover, as a reader and fan I guess I wanted to learn how I could relate and connect with them on some level personally, so I could understand what inspires or inspired them. As an author and still a reader (with limited time), I do not see that as often as what I should or would like.
One friend of mine the author Richard Long, has a sick sense of humor (yes we converse on FB…he knows who the hell I am). Richard frequently Tweets about random life events and thoughts not related to writing at @RichardLongNYC. He posts these insights about himself on Facebook as well and they range from movies too thoughts on Autism, his kids and many other things. I rarely see him schlep his books on FB or Twitter. His Novel Book of Paul is amazing but I appreciate his human side that he is not afraid to share. A few other others I follow do this but only a few…it is sad. If we as writers are supposed to connect to our readers or potential readers and build that “platform” (*angles sing*)…how do you connect with them (readers) when you have no personality or interests they might find interesting and relate with? You cannot! I am not saying you should not schlep your books on Twitter but try talking about the weather or something else sometimes.
If you only post ads schlepping your latest book/s and weekly sales or reviews for your books taken from another site how is that getting people interested in YOU as a person, as a mother or father, an artist or as a human fucking being or someone real that they can relate to and see value in your writing. Why should you and your books matter to them? I think today authors, indie or otherwise need to do more to set ourselves apart from one another in the eyes of readers. Our platforms must include US as individuals not just the stories we write and the tales we tell. Who we are in our normal lives are in fact part of our brand.
As a reader, I ask myself “is this a person I could see myself having coffee or a drink with” or “If I see this person on the street will I get tackled by security guard or a publicist if I ask for an autograph or a picture with them?” Asking questions like that matters to me as a reader. Authors!!!! WHO YOU REALLY ARE DOES MATTER TO YOUR READERS…
The only way to do that is to be an actual person with lives and issues, bullshit life drama and be honest about our faults and failures, and not be afraid to talk about it. We are still people so why do some authors hide that part of their lives. Why are so many writers and authors so afraid being like “well I can’t stand bra shopping with my wife” or “I got rear-ended by dumb fuck today FML” on Twitter or Facebook. This is 2013 NOT the 1920’s we are not Hemingway and paling around with Ezra Pound in Paris and thinking too much of ourselves.
Why are so many authors and writers so afraid of coming across to readers and fans like “hey you and me are not that different, I ate 4 donuts today and feel chubby. I want one more before yoga class”. We are writers, we write stories, articles and blogs just like stay at home moms and whiney little hipster kids. We are not the Dali Llama or #kimkardasian. We do not live or die by the Hashtag.