A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I started on Twitter on 24 November 2008. (I had to check and didn’t really know this off by heart!) If you’re not already following me, find me – I’m @LizUK on there!
Like many others I had no idea what Twitter was and what to do with it as things were still new and not that many people were on there. Not many publishers either, to be honest.
Slowly but surely I got used to Twitter and I saw it as a place to follow authors whose books I liked. I also followed friends and friends’ friends and so the people I followed grew and I gained more followers. I was a blogger back then, so I talked about books A LOT. I talked to everyone about everything.
Discussions ranged from TV to movies, to writing, to books, to politics (never very heavy) and of course, I spoke endlessly about my obsessions like Teen Wolf. I met loads of other bloggers and publishers due to my blogging and, by accident, I fell into talking to a lot of writers too because everyone is just that damn friendly. I learned how to navigate social media by watching others far more au fait do it. And I trusted my own instincts. If I wasn’t prepared to say something to a person face to face, I would never use social media to say it.
The thing about social media, and interaction with others, is never to be an idiot. I have seen and blocked and muted so many writers and wannabe writers because of the utter bullcrap they promote on their timeline. There is nothing of themselves on there, just promote promote promote. Yes, you have to promote your book but really, you want to have your personality reflected in your social media, so chat to your followers and join in on conversations.
I’m currently editing my new WIP, an epic fantasy, and it’s fun but it’s hard work. I tweet about it, but I don’t go on and on and on about it endlessly. In my off-time I’ve started journaling and art journaling and I’ve opened an Etsy shop too, and it’s all still new to me and so I’m careful not to make an idiot of myself by talking and promoting it endlessly.
I also love Instagram. I love my bookish time on IG. People take tremendous pains to photograph books and talk about books. Loads of people also talk about food, yes, but then I love food so that is no biggie for me. Instagram is probably the easiest social media platform to fall in love with. Everyone loves taking photos of stuff and things and it’s not just selfies – and really, if you feel you look bloody awesome today, why not take that selfie? – and once you learn to tag your photos (#nature #selfie #wip #whyiswritingsohard #sendhelp) you’ll notice an increase in people following you because people find tags of things they’re interested in and follow people who actively IG about it.
The biggest thing about social media is to remember to be yourself – it is hugely inclusive and it can seem incredibly daunting but, I promise you, reach out to fellow writers and bloggers and others interested in what you’re interested in, and you’ll find that we are really a super friendly bunch. We enjoy talking about everything. For instance, I had NO idea so many of the people in my life via Twitter and Instagram are into journaling and bullet journaling, because they never talked about it openly. And so there I am wittering away about BuJo’s and journaling and washi tape and stationery and suddenly all these people are there going OMG I LOVE THIS STUFF TOO and that circle of friendship just gets a bigger nod of approval because we can connect on even more levels!
I know, sometimes, that it feels like you’re talking in an abyss on social media. If that happens, take a break, refresh your mind and reconsider who you’ve got as friends on those streams. And remember, crucially, that you are allowed to curate your streams. If you have people who disturb your calm on your social media streams, mute them, unfollow them, block them. This is your space and you don’t have to let people into your life who wipe you out emotionally. This counts for Facebook too, of course.
I realise this blogpost spreads its web quite wide and is quite general but I hope it’s given some information / encouragement / something to think about, to those of you hesitant to dip your toes in the whole thing.
Also: just have fun.