Posted on December 16, 2013
This is Mia again. Just checking to see if this works… fingers crossed
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My Journey into the Unknown: An Author Joins Facebook at 49 Years of Age
I had absolutely no social media presence. None…as in zero, unless you consider an online account at American Eagle Outfitters where I could rate the jeans under “product reviews”, as social. I comforted myself by thinking, No worries, Mia. After all, you’ve mastered the art of the email and the text message. What else could you possibly need to get by in the 21st century?
As it turns out, when you are an author, and you are ready to release your third, fourth, fifth, and sixth novels in as many months, the time has come to take the step. To join the hipsters, the cool (or at a minimum, the merely up-to-date) portion of the public, in the world of virtual conversation. So I took the step.
I will spare you the agonizing details but on the day after my forty-ninth birthday in September, my seventeen-year-old daughter and I set up a Facebook account under my pen name Mia Kerick. (“Mia”, however, has become more than a simple pseudonym for me; I find myself signing checks and birthday cards with the name of my alter ego.) My daughter only cried once during this painstaking process, and I only spooked the cats by bellowing “is this **** really necessary?” twice. Okay, maybe three times. In any case, no thanks to my own technical or creative skills, the ****ing thing got set up. Showtime, Mia!
All four of my children contributed to the…uh…the success of my transition into social media. Urgently placed, and patiently replied to, phone calls and texts to my sophomore daughter at Georgetown University, my daughter who is a dancer in NYC, my high school sophomore on her lunch breaks, my eighth grade son halfway through his after school basketball games, were all instrumental to my initiation into this new world. And I must not neglect to mention my fellow Facebook-ers who taught me how to make smiley faces and hearts, how to copy and paste links, how to send private messages. And who clued me in to what ROTFLMAO means. (Don’t you wish rolling around on the floor, completely consumed with laughter, actually worked to rid you of a portion of your ass?) But, to make a long, and at times, laborious, story short, within a few weeks I had mastered the basic skills necessary to communicate on Facebook with other authors, readers, and reviewers.
I started out by simply posting my feelings and impressions. “I can’t think of anything important enough to say that any of you would want to read… I mean, I’ve got absolutely nothing…” was how I started. But soon I began enjoying the clever repartee, and I’ll admit, it wasn’t long before what I refer to as a “mild addiction” to Facebook commenced, and from what I hear, I’m not the only one suffering. The people I met were just so cool, so fun, so honest…with me, a “virtual” stranger (LOL). But there were harder lessons in store, like the ones that I’d struggled to absorb back in kindergarten: just because Mia likes person X’s photo of a kitten, doesn’t mean person X is gonna like Mia’s photo of an equally adorable kitten. And I relearned my Middle School lessons, as well: there are cool kids and there are smart kids and there are artsy kids and there are kids who let you in and there are kids who keep you out. Mia, I had to remind myself pretty much hourly, remember your purpose. You are here to meet readers and authors and to promote your books, so stop with the “I’m not cool enough to interact on the worldwide web” lamentations, and get back to it.
So, I shifted into gear by posting my awesome cover pictures as well as the Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink blurbs for my books, which somehow made me feel technically accomplished. Then I moved into the “shameless boasting phase” where I constantly posted my Amazon Rankings, my DSP Bestselling Rank, and my most glowing reviews and…well, yeah, the list goes on and on. (Forgive me, but I often find myself slipping back into this mode. In my defense, I feel that I am more truly celebrating Brett and Cory’s, Kai and Jamie’s, Robby and Tristan’s, and Timmy and Ben’s popularity, than my own.) At my one-month point on Facebook, I had managed to connect with the most witty and clever and interesting and, at times, snarky, people imaginable, and I’ll put it to you plainly: these people were quite distracting. My first month on Facebook was my least productive, in terms of my written word count, since I started penning stories.
When the Boston Red Sox made it into the World Series, I lost every last bit of self- restraint on Facebook. I celebrated and ranted and partied, virtually, of course, with fellow New Englanders, displaced New Englanders, and others with the basic good sense to be Red Sox fans. Yeah, Sox-tober was a HUGE, red-Speedo-clad distraction for Mia Kerick.
But I got my nose back to the grindstone as soon as my heart stopped pounding from the thrilling Red Sox win, and I focused on how to best use Facebook as a tool for me as an author, and not simply as an overly social middle-aged woman. So I looked at what other authors were doing with their statuses and timelines, and I saw art and photos of nature, lots of adorable animals, references to music, reviews of other authors’ books, and inspirational quotes. And there was commentary on life, in general…lots of that. I decided that I would continue to play on Facebook (because it is fun) but I would play with purpose, if you catch my meaning.
At the moment, I am in a good place with Facebook. I’ve started to promote my books in creative ways that I have a lot of fun with. I’ve made friends—real friends—in fact I met some for lunch in Boston. Others I call on the phone and still others have sent me holiday cards. I also feel less isolated as an author, but the best part is I’ve met readers. The people for whom I write the books and with whom I intended to connect when I joined Facebook.
So, I encourage you to friend me on Facebook. I would be more than happy to virtually meet you. We can chat and play, and you can like my further attempts at publicizing my novels. Or not… your choice.
Just don’t Tweet me. I’m not there yet.
HOWEVER, I now have a website/blog http://www.miakerick.com thanks to Author Assistant Agency!!!
Be patient with me while I figure out how to use my blog.
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