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  • Writer's pictureblaine daigle

Self-Marketing In The Age of Social Media

The plight of the first-time writer in 2023 may as well be titled Selling Your Soul Through Social Media For Dummies.

As with any new venture, gaining traction among potential consumers is the heart of any successful business plan. In the current state of our society, social media is the prime source for gaining any kind of following. We can debate until the end of time whether that is right or wrong, but the fact of the matter is that it's true. This presents many opportunities and challenges for new writers looking to break into a crowded literary scene.

It is especially complex for someone like me.

Self-promotion makes me uneasy. Even in real-life, around people that I know personally, I can get very tight-lipped when discussing my writing. Even avoid eye contact while discussing the matter. There are a few reasons for that. For one, I write horror. I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't crossed my mind what people who know me might think of me after reading my books. I don't think anybody who knows me well would be surprised or upset...but what about the myriad of acquaintances who don't know me that well? How will I be viewed in their eyes? And should I care?

Then there is the fact that I feel very uncomfortable pumping my writing up, especially since it is something so subjective. Whether I'm a good writer will ultimately be judged by the strangers who read my work, and in that regard, I'm very hesitant to promote myself in that way. I realize this is incredibly counterproductive to the career that I hope to build, but it is something I can't help but feel. Do I need to work on it? Of course. But the feeling exists nonetheless.

All of this culminates in the main reason for this post, which is the issue of social media and the role it plays in self-promotion and self-marketing.

Let me get this out of the way first. I realize the potential positive impact that social media can have on creative careers, especially writing. It presents an incredible opportunity to connect with readers in a way that used to be impossible. As a reader myself, the idea of getting to speak to the people responsible for some of my favorite books is quite a nice one. The fact that all platforms also have ways for this interaction to be done safely and with as much anonymity as needed per the intentions of the creator is also a huge bonus.

But, as a beginner, the primary goal is building the following. And for someone like me, this is where things get awkward and slimy. Posting and commenting constantly in order just to get people to sign up to hear more of what you have to say just feels very...outside my comfort zone. Am I scrolling through Twitter to react to content that interests me, or am I looking for posts and cultivating some response in my head that might create the image of myself that I think people want to see? I am a huge believer in authenticity. Everything you do should be done in the most you way possible. That's what makes creators special. That's how you get the band that is playing the same chords as everyone else, but they just sound different. It's the vibe that is created between the creator and the witness to the creation that builds true bonds. It's how Iron Maiden still sells out shows. It's why when The Gaslight Anthem announced their reunion tour I literally yelled in happiness.

The method of self-promotion prevalent on social media platforms has always struck me as very inauthentic, and therefore it makes me very uncomfortable.

And yet, I know it's necessary. To a point.

All I can do is be as authentic as possible. I won't beg for followers on social media, but I will do my best to post often on topics that truly and legitimately interest me. I'll avoid all that don't. In the meantime, I hope anybody who reads this and feels the same way I do or felt as though my reflection was honest or touched some nerve, please feel free to follow me on the social media accounts linked to this page. I will be as much myself as I am in real life, and I would love for you to join me on this new journey.

I've got some really cool stories to tell. I hope you consider coming along for the ride.



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