I’ve never been a big fan of posting on social media, but as I attended meetings with my writing group this past summer, I realized the importance of having an online platform—whether it be a blog, website, or Instagram profile.
One of my dream goals is to become a published author, and in the publishing world, it’s extremely important to establish a brand or market—and an audience! The only way you’ll make money is if people actually buy your work, and more people will buy it if they know about it in the first place. That’s where social media (especially things like BookTok) come in.
So, this past August, I sat down with my sister and started writing down ideas for my brand—what platform I wanted to use, ideas for usernames and posts, how often I should post. After a couple weeks of putting it off, I finally put together a Word document to keep track of all my ideas and created my first public Instagram profile: @author.in.the.attic.
My hope for this page is to connect with other readers and writers, share my work and advice, and, most importantly, stay true to myself. I’m paraphrasing here, but one post I saw last week from @quillandcup said something along the lines of “It’s better to have 50 dedicated followers who really get to know you than 5,000 strangers.” Those 50 followers may not feel like a lot, but they actually care about you and your work and will support you however they can, whether by sharing your posts, offering writing tips, or buying your book once it’s on the shelves.
While it’s not always easy to be myself on social media— especially since this is my first public profile—I know I don’t want to veer away from my values and voice. I write all my posts as authentically as I can, share small details about my life, and offer writing advice along with pieces of my own writing. I think having this page is good practice for being published someday, because once my words are out there, there’s no taking them back.
But managing all this can feel like a lot sometimes. How am I expected to be my own marketing manager, social media chair, editor and writer? Aren’t there other people—actual professionals—for those things? Isn’t my writing enough?
Okay, there are pros who exist to help with all the other stuff besides writing—but that’s once you’ve established a name for yourself and are racking in some big bucks. For novices like me with nothing but a couple stories and poems to her name, the publishing realm is a bit more difficult to navigate.
But doing all the work myself can be overwhelming, which is why I also stress the importance of mental health and self-care in both my personal life and on my profile. Writers often feel alone and are cooped up in their rooms or offices, and it’s essential that we take time to rest and recharge away from social media—and even away from our books. It’s okay to take a step back, watch some TV, hang out with friends…whatever it is that helps you relax and revitalizes you for the next time you pick up a pen and paper.
For me, some ways I relax are by reading for fun, working out, listening to music, or watching whatever show I happen to be currently obsessed with. My ways of relaxing may be different from yours, but as long as we’re all taking care of ourselves and giving ourselves these healthy breaks, we’ll be able to bounce back with enthusiasm. And, in my case, I’ll be ready to tap on the Instagram icon again and scroll through my author page.