Back in October, I attended the annual Novelists, Inc conference in White Plains, NY. We all learned about something dubbed an author “lifeboat,” in which a group of authors support and promote one another through social media. Several authors, including myself, decided to form our own support group. Some of these authors I’ve known for years, some I’ve only met recently.
After much back and forth via e-mail, we coalesced into a group of eight. E-mails and posts via YahooGroups flew through the ether as we got to know each other and each other’s work. In the workshop we’d attended, it was suggested that we schedule a weekend for all of us to get together to share our expertise with each other. We decided on this weekend, and six of us met–four of us physically and two of us virtually (via Skype). The remaining two (who had planned to join us virtually this weekend) couldn’t make it due to (1) illness and (2) family commitments.
What was it like? Imagine deciding to take three days to earn a doctorate. Or maybe allowing three days to learn all of Bach’s sonatas when you don’t know how to play a piano. Or perhaps the most apt analogy would be to take the entire contents of the Internet and forcibly shove it into your ears in hopes you will actually understand what all that social media is for (cue the glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look).
And imagine you’re doing all of this in glamorous, luxurious Manteca, CA. Garden spot of the Central Valley. Kind of the official middle of nowhere, and you really don’t want to what Manteca translates into in English.
Well, not many distractions other than that glorious pool we did not dip so much as a toe into. We didn’t even sniff the chlorine wafting from the hot tub. But to quote what I posted on Facebook, here is what I learned this weekend:
What Triberr is and how to post there, how to use a list in Twitter to categorize tweets, how to grow my Twitter followers, how to tweet to Twitter and post to Facebook from Pinterest, that I need to include links in my indie-pubbed books to my other books, each platform will need a different file for different links, that reader street teams are pretty cool, that I can blog directly on Goodreads (and post a first chapter for readers to sample), that I can run contests through RaffleCopter.com and best of all, authors may be pretty crazy, but they are the best fun to hang around with.