Social media – and being active there – can become one of the biggest drains on an author’s day. It can turn into a relentless monster that devours your time, destroys your confidence, and distracts you from writing. It can end up controlling you, instead of serving you.
So how can authors tame the monster who blocks their path to a healthy social media presence? By admitting to their biggest fears and tackling them head on.
The fear of being seen
I’m not just talking about actually being seen in photographs, although that is an aspect of this fear. What I mean by ‘being seen’ is showing up online, blowing your own brass instrument, and getting people to notice you.
As an author, you can find yourself dancing about between “Here! Look at my book!” and “Sorry. You’re obviously not interested in the drivel I write. I’ll leave you alone now”. You believe in your book and you want to share it with the world, but you’re also scared of attracting too much attention to yourself.
You’re afraid that if you are seen:
- you and your book will be rejected
- you’ll be outed as a fraud (impostor syndrome)
- people will say you’re arrogant
So you make a half-hearted attempt at poking the social media dragon and are disappointed when no-one notices you’re there.
The answer? Look at it this way. Why did you write your book? Was it to beat yourself about the head with? No, you wrote it because you believed that readers would find value in your words and be keen to read more. That’s the thing to keep in mind when putting yourself and your books out there on the social media grapevine. Believe in yourself, and others will do the same.
The fear of ridicule
You’re afraid that if you post about your books and your author-life on social media, people will laugh (and not in a good way). They’ll poke fun, put you down, or even troll you.
Social media has proved an excellent addition to an author’s marketing toolkit, massively increasing your reach and improving your chance to connect with a wider audience. But the downside to this increased visibility is the fact that it opens you up to equally increased criticism.
And while, yes, all of the above could happen, isn’t the prospect of building an engaged audience on Twitter or Facebook or wherever else you post more important? That’s why you show up online after all; you want to get the message out to the right people.
Trolls and the people who poke fun aren’t the right people. They don’t matter. Ignore, block, or mute.
The fear of not being as good as others
I hate the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ because I think perfect is impossible to achieve and just isn’t a desirable result. However, the more you post on social media, test the results, and reconsider what you post and the purpose behind it, the better you will become and the easier it will feel.
Comparing yourself to others won’t help; in fact, it’ll probably make you feel bad about your online presence. It can be all too easy to think that other authors are just more interesting than you or so much more talented at marketing. Don’t do it.
Most of what you see on social media is other people’s highlights, the parts of their life they want to share. You’re already fighting a losing battle if you compare your entire life to another person’s best bits.
So how do you handle this fear? By doing (social media), learning as you go, and remembering that your book and you are valuable and worthwhile of your audience’s attention.
You do you. Let those other authors do them.
Building your author online presence can be scary – the same as anything that yanks you out of your comfort zone – but like any fear, it can be faced, fought, and tamed. Turn that monster into your pet and take it for a walk.