When my kids were growing up and social media was becoming a thing I had two concerns.
First, what crazy whack jobs could potentially be stalking my children.
And second, what are my children projecting.
I've been doing a lot of thinking regarding social media these days. We've all seen people go on-line and behave badly. We see the political debates turning into the ugly bashing of people's opinions. We see a lot of mean girl type behavior. We see it all on social media, literally. We also see people posting all about the good things and how perfect there life is. Kudos.
I recently had a conversation with a couple of fellow authors about putting our best foot forward when showing ourselves on social media. Authors are using social media to promote their brand. Their business. Their livelihood. So, during the discussion, the question then became: where do you draw the line between being professional, being authentic, and crossing the line?
How I behave in a business setting is very different from how I behave in a personal setting. With my friends, I have the mouth of a truck driver. I like to swear. Do I do that in business? Nope. Do I do it on social media? Sometimes, depending on the circumstances. When I'm hanging with my girlfriends, I'm not concerned about how I come off. I'm being me. My friends accept me, faults and all. But do my business associates? Probably not because they aren't my friends.
So, what am I to do on social media? Do I be myself? Or do I curb my personality traits that others might find offensive?
I do the latter. Why you ask?
Because people are watching. My Facebook page is public. It's not private between me and my friends. It's out there for the world to see. For editors, agents, other industry professionals, and readers. Does that mean I'm not being authentic? Absolutely not! I'm still being my weirdo self. I'm just doing it in what might be considered a less offensive way. I liken it to getting dressed and putting on make-up when I leave the house over staying in my PJ's all day with my hair in a messy bun. When I go to a conference, I dress a certain way. I don't wear what I lounge around in the house in and I don't go decked out as if I'm going to a nightclub. Two things I will do in my personal life.
Social media has merged social and professional. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I have no issues with people posting political opinions. I won't comment on them, because it's their opinion and I'm good with that. I don't need to agree, or disagree and it has nothing to do with worrying about what others think and everything to do with separate personal from professional. It's a fine line in today's world, but it's one I still believe we need keep in mind when we're posting things on social media.
I teach a workshop on building your brand. Everything you do on social media is part of your brand as well as an extension of your personal self. You want to balance being your authentic self and being a professional. Why is that different? Your authentic self might fart at the dinner table, but does that need to be posted on social media, no matter how funny it might be? That said, do you need to be completely well-behaved? God no. This is a fine line that anyone who uses social media to promote a business or us authors promoting our books. One of my author friends asked why I so readily post some of those name games that show me as a bitch, or something else when I feel so strongly about straddling this line between showing your ass and being professional. I answered with the the idea that it's good for my readers, as well as other industry professionals, to see me outside of being on my total best behavior, but not having to hear me sing in the shower.
I say to you, beware your audience. Not everyone is going to like us but for those we have to work with, why ruffle feathers? And remember that even if you delete something from social media, it takes a while for it to go away, and if you feel the need to delete it, than maybe you shouldn't have posted it in the first place.
Now, on the flip side, only posting ourselves at our best can have an adverse reaction to our followers. We need to be ourselves, to a certain extent, but we also need to make sure we are being professional.
And that is my rambling for today.
I believe the first animal I ever used as a character in one of my books was the horse Boots in TO PROTECT HIS OWN. The hero, Jake, had left the farm, his father, his horse, and the love of his life behind after he uncovered a betrayal so deep it hardened his heart. But when his father's life is threatened, he returns home. His horse, Boots, has missed him terribly and has become sort of a rouge horse. He pouts and often acts out by stomping at his stall door, or not doing as requested, or even kicking for no reason. He's pretty darn happy when Jake returns, but Boots is concerned his owner might not stay...
Boots was so much fun to write and I'd been wanting to write more animals into my stories. So, when my good friend Laura Benedict called and introduced me to Carolyn Haines and her ficational pet detective, Trouble, I jumped on the chance to join this fantastic world!
I was worried it would be difficult for me to copy the voice of a black cat from Wetumpka, Alabama, who has spent his time watching Sherlock Holmes and pretty much thinks he's from Britain. I read his Point-of-view from all the other books in the series, studying his various movements. Surprisingly, I was able to get Trouble's voice down pretty quickly. And, oh what fun did I have with him as he helped Ethan and Annabel with a Wedding Caper.
I hope you will check out Trouble and his adventures!
Whenever I sit down to write, one of three things happen.
I could either be on such a roll, that the words are flowing faster than I can write them!
I could be sitting there struggling, but still getting a few words down.
Or, I could be totally blank and need to go for a walk!
When I sat down to write THE LOST SOUL, I was at a loss. This is one of the few series I've written where it really is best to read them in order. Each book has a stand-alone romance, but the plot thickens and evolves with each new pairing. I know exactly how the series ends (which by the way, it doesn't end! There will be a spin off!). However, something happened in the second book that took the series in a turn I had not expected. Now, I'm a planner/plotter, so I have lots of notes and outlines. I often write out all the turning points long before I write the first sentence. But when THE LOST SOLDIER took an interesting turn, some things needed to change in book 3 and that, for a while, had me scratching me head.
I wrote three false beginnings before I realized that I had to bring Alexis and Hunter into the real world. Once I did that, the story flowed!
I hope you really enjoy this book, and the series. It's been so much fun!
Through January 4, 2019, THE LOST SISTER will be FREE on Amazon.
Through January 8, 2019, THE LOST SOLDIER will be 2.99 on Amazon.
On January 4, 2019 THE LOST SOUL will be released. Pre-order today!
I have never been a fan of New Years Resolutions, so, I don't make them. I do, however, strive to be a better version of me. I LOVE that saying because we can't change other people, only ourselves. At 52, I find myself reaching into the past, remembering the young girl I once was, the young woman I became, and the 'of age' woman I am now. I have not lived an interesting life, but I have lived a life. A good one too, no matter the ups and downs. I strive to ride out the downhill slope of older years much the same way I climbed the hill to middle age...striving for something.
In 2019, I will strive to exorcise more. That means more than walking and riding my bike.
In 2019, I will strive to be a better writer. That means taking workshops on craft, reading books on craft, and stretching my writing.
In 2019, I will strive to take better care of myself emotionally. That means staying away from situations that cause me a great deal of anxiety and stress.
In 2019, I will strive to be kinder and more forgiving.
In 2019, I will strive to learn new things and go on new adventures.
In 2019, I will strive to be a better friend. Over the last few years, I have developed some fantastic friendships, that need a little attention from me.
In 2019, I will strive to be more social.
In 2019, I will strive to NOT make the same mistakes I made in 2018.
Wow. I remember growing up as a kid in the 70's and 80's, thinking 1999 was so far away and now I'm typing 2019. Weird.
What will you strive for in 2019?