~ After the news came out in the coffee shop over the weekend regarding the upcoming release of my debut novel, a number of acquaintances started chiming in their ‘advice’ on what I should do, one person said,
“Kenneth, if you want to sell a lot of copies of your book you’ve got to get your brand going better! You need to restart your Facebook & Twitter and you’ve got to post on social networks every day in order to get as many people as possible to hear about your book!” he said
While this well intentioned person might have some great ideas, I have to be honest, I never started blogging or working on a book in order to get my name out to as many people possible…that was never my goal.
Honestly, I could care less if people know who I am.
Before I started blogging I had both a Facebook and a Twitter account and other than a handful of friends and relatives, I didn’t have a lot of “followers” or “friends” on my accounts. After I started blogging the numbers started to go up….a lot…and it started irking me a bit. Actually, it started irking me a lot.
–) What does it mean when thousands of people read what we post to Twitter or Facebook or other social networks?
–) How often do the things we say on social networks get taken out of context?
–) How often are social networks used as a medium for gossip, bullying, and other forms of mean spiritedness?
Most importantly, how are social networks changing the very way we think and communicate with each other?
One of the things I appreciate about newspapers, articles, blogs, and other long-form methods of the written word is that it allows both the author and the reader an opportunity to consider more complete thoughts and reflections on life.
Here in the United States, social networks have been a key way for politicians in this year’s election cycle to get their name out non-stop. Politicians on both sides of the aisle use Twitter and Facebook to comment incessantly about a whole assortment of issues, with their main goal being personal propaganda; they are a brand.
Just like Nike or Apple, celebrities, politicians and other “famous” people practice the art of personal branding. If you are an artist, musician, author, or have some particular type of skill or medium you want to get out to the world, there are a plethora of articles and books that explicitly tell you that your main goal should be to create yourself into a brand.
Is that really what the great artists were doing back in the day? Can you imagine Shakespeare or Melville sitting in a coffee shop trying to figure out how to better brand themselves for public consumption?
Honestly, the entire concept of branding and personal propaganda is a bit offsetting and it isn’t something that I want people to associate with me.
When I first started writing my novel three years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop one afternoon thinking about a conversation I was having with a friend of mine in which we kept running into a brick wall. I was trying to figure out a way to communicate some ideas to him in a way that he could better understand, and the next thing I knew I was writing a story, a narrative about some teenagers, technology, and where it looks like our world is heading.
You see, I didn’t write the novel in order that a million people would hear my name. I wrote the book because I was trying to explain something more clearly to a friend……that is what artists, philosophers, and writers do; they use various types of imagery to communicate ideas.
While it is definitely not a good business move, I don’t have any plans to turn my Twitter and Facebook back on. It’s been really nice being completely free of social networks and not checking status updates, not feeling the need to post little blurbs, and being free from what seems to be more often than not, a lot of drama. Social networks gave me a lot of unnecessary headaches.
So does this mean I will end up selling thousands of books less than I could….yup, it most likely does. Since I won’t be using Facebook and Twitter I can most likely kiss goodbye any chance of getting on the NY Times bestsellers list anytime soon. Social networks have become the all encompassing primary way that new authors and artists hawk their products….and if you don’t use them, you can pretty much expect to stay relatively unknown.
That is the sad reality of life, doing what is best for yourself doesn’t mean that everything will turn to gold. Thankfully I still have my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society