In 2004, I quit writing. As I’ve mentioned before, Life intruded. A combo of events led to stress, more stress, and though I tried to write through it, I finally gave up. For the next four years, I barely kept up with email and my RWA chapter’s loop. No energy. No writing.
When I came back, sometime in 2009, so much had changed. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace. Huh? Blogging? I felt like the techno-clueless Gibbs on NCIS. My brother-in-law joined Facebook so he could show off his fishing skills. 😊 Hubs joined. I resisted. I’d heard so many horror stories about FB. After peeking at Hubs’ page, I saw the “light” and gave in. How wonderful to connect with family and long-lost friends. Gradually, I connected with fellow writers and saw other benefits of FB. Around that time, I also returned to writing—for fun, at first, then seriously.
When I joined an online group called Authors Helping Authors, I learned about the world of social media. Holy cow! I was overwhelmed and ignorant. A tweet? What was that? I was supposed to write a tweet for others to share? How was I supposed to do that when I didn’t even know what it was? With the help of patient people (like our own Alicia Dean), I learned. This old dog learned a lot of new tricks.
All right! I mastered (sort of) Facebook and Twitter. Cool. Then, I heard about Pinterest. A bulletin board where you pinned pictures? Huh? I’d heard about people doing that with pictures from magazines taped to poster boards. I didn’t have time for cutting and pasting. But how did that work online? I understood how it might be useful for crafters, mothers with young kids, but for a writer? No idea. Until I read a blog post about how authors could use Pinterest.
A whole new world opened up. A visual world. I created boards for each of my books then added pins of things that provided inspiration for the book. When I started, I worked backwards. The book was written when I added pins that went with it. For example, for my first book, Switched, (originally pubbed in 2001, re-issued in 2011) I added the following pins (pictures): a farmhouse and farmland (the story begins and ends on a farm), starships, Kaylee (the mechanic from Firefly because my MC is a mechanic), posters from the movie Vertigo (my hero has acrophobia). If I found pictures of actors that I’d choose to play the main characters, I added them, too.
Then I found more uses for Pinterest. Besides being “inspirations” for my story, the pins could be topics for blog posts. In my science-fiction romance, The Protector, my MC thwarts a trafficking ring then captures the ring leader. On my Pinterest board for that book, I added info on human trafficking. When I did a blog tour for The Protector, I wrote a post on human trafficking. I even have a board with pictures of the authors who’ve visited my blog with a link back to their post. (I really need to update that board.)
Once I caught up with the already published books, I began to use Pinterest for ideas for works in progress. That’s when the pins really did provide inspiration. The most fun I’ve had so far is finding wedding dresses for my work-in-progress board “Inspiration for Alex O’Hara #4.” Not just wedding gowns but bridesmaid dresses and mother of the groom dresses, and ideas for bachelorette parties.
Of course, I have more personal boards. Before we built our house, I looked for pins for the “home of my dreams.” I loaded my own pictures from vacations. Tampa Tourism used a picture I took of a dolphin in Tampa Bay for their board—without giving me credit, I might add. I have boards for travel, favorite places and those I want to visit, Dollar Store hacks for the home, recipes, quotations, and books.
But, here’s the kicker. There are only so many hours in the day. Writing is primary. Promotion, next. Can’t forget family and home stuff. Using social media to promote ourselves and our books takes time. I use Facebook and Twitter (add in Triberr, which amplifies the reach of blog posts into tweets). Other social media like Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. sound interesting take more time—first, to learn how to use it, then actually using it. At this point, I can barely keep up with what I’ve already joined.
Of all the social media that I’ve tried, Pinterest is my favorite. I figure if I’m going to use time not spent on writing, I might as well have fun doing it. If you’d like to check out my boards (and pins), here’s the link. https://www.pinterest.com/dmburton72/boards/
What social media do you like best?
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 16th and 30th of each month. She shares snippets from her stories every weekend on her blog. Her latest release is NUMBERS NEVER LIE, a romantic suspense, available at Amazon, free on Kindle Unlimited.