Friday, September 02, 2016

Social Media and Cross-Pollenization

Self-promotion — or any promotion, for that part — for the arts requires a presence on social media. That is a given in this day. Of course, one also needs an online presence separate from the social media platforms, that is, a web site. Even if it is combined with a blogging platform (Word Press, for example), one needs something with ones own brand on it.

I have been on many of the social sites, MySpace in its heyday, FaceBook now, Google Plus, various Yahoo Groups at one time (my first forays into social media), and so on. Some were useful, some were a waste of time. To some degree, this depended on what aspect of ‘me’ I was attempting to promote. Steve as artist? Steve as writer? Steve as musician?

Some are better for one thing, some better for another. Twitter is pretty useless for a painter, and FaceBook is only slightly better. Both are not much better for an author, really. A musician, however, with lots of gigs to announce, can find them rather useful. Unfortunately, my musical ‘career’ has been on the back burner for quite a long time!

I do tweet some and have two Twitter accounts — one for me, personally, and one for Arachis Press. There is really not much to say other than occasionally announce a book release or the like. And, of course, I FaceBook. A personal account, some pages, even a group to which no one belongs (that’s for the literary mag, if I ever have time for it). The personal page is to keep my name in front of people, primarily. I don’t expect to sell many books through it, nor anything else. And the bulk of my friends there have ties to music in some way. As long as I am at least peripherally in the Florida musical community, I shall continue to be there. But I recognize that it is not a very constructive use of my time.

In truth, Google Plus seems more useful for the writer and/or the artist, especially if it is tied to a blog (or blogs). I have had this Lucky Lad blog going for a rather long time and I’m sure that search engines have brought more visitors to me and my work via its pages than being on FaceBook ever has or will. As a social media site where one interacts with friends, G+ is not really as good as FB, but that is not my main concern.

I also do Tumblr. I don’t know if it is very useful but it does let me network a little, mostly with poets. That is what I concentrate on there. Pinterest? Yeah, I put up some pictures there and promote the books some. How useful it is, I couldn’t say but then I don’t put much effort into it. And there is GoodReads and a bunch of other niche platforms that may have some usefulness.

But blogging — that’s really the effective approach, I think, for a writer. After all, we write, right? :) And those who buy our books (we hope) like to read, so give them what they want! I put up most of my early draft poems, musings on this and that, occasionally talk about writing. The important thing is to keep providing interesting content of some sort.

Incidentally, I pretty much concluded along the way that it is best to throw everything together in one blog, whether discussing my latest book or what is growing in my garden. I do, however, keep Arachis Press separate.

Then there is the cross-pollenization I mentioned in my title. Every online presence feeds the others, naturally. Be certain to include links from one to another! But there is also the ‘real’ world interacting with this. I give you my niece, ‘Mean Mary’ James. Well known as a musician but also an author, including four novels co-written with Jean James (her mother, my sister). Would these have sold nearly so well had she not already a large following for her music? Shoot, I’ve probably even had a bit of a coattail effect just from being related.

This is one reason I do get out and perform, if only at open mikes. It is a form of advertising for all my other endeavors. Be assured, I mention my books; indeed, I have some songs in my repertoire that were actually written for the novels (five of them, appearing in the Donzalo’s Destiny books). I should probably record them as a sort of EP.

So, I’ll be seeing you on line, here and there, and possibly off line, as well. It all works together — or should!

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