The natural and preferred habitat of a writer is solitude, ideally a country cottage in the middle of nowhere or deep in a dark wood off the beaten track surrounded by a magic mist that keeps the world at bay. My family are always joking that if I became a famous author I’d hate it because that would mean TV appearances, book signings and the possibility of having to interact with other people. The idea gives me goosebumps and I’ve had to think about what I want and expect from being an independent author. Having a bestseller would be nice, the money would be welcome too, I can’t deny that, but I write because I love it and when I get an idea for a story in my head I HAVE to write it. The characters, the plot, the locations don’t leave me alone until I get it onto the screen or on to paper. Often I wake up in the middle of the night to scribble down a scene or conversation before my scatterbrain memory forgets a really good piece of description or dialogue. So the whole idea of social media is anathema to me.
As independent authors we are told that the only way to build a platform, get our name out there and sell our books is to maintain a presence on social media akin to an omnipresent god. It’s exhausting and I hate it. We are supposed to endlessly tweet, post on Facebook, blog, spend time leaving comments on forum after forum interacting with others, but at the same time are warned not to oversell our wares or it will turn people off. Getting the balance right is not easy. A couple of weeks ago I came across a post by another writer who had decided that she wasn’t going to play the game anymore and was winding down her commitment to socialising both on and off the internet so she could do more of the things she wanted to do and reduce the stress in her life. She wasn’t worried about sales. Then I came across this post by Derek Haines, another self published author, that made a lot of sense.
Having struggled with social media it seems to me that the best thing to do is sit back, relax and let the universe take care of it. Those who find, buy and read my books were meant to find them without any hard sell from me. Of course, some kind of presence is still required, but why fret about followers? The answer is to keep writing, doing what you love to do and don’t force the rest.