Drowning in the Seas of Knowledge: Social Media World-building

This has been my week to make a stab at getting my act together on-line.  The end of the year is approaching fast, I’d hate to miss out on my resolutions.  So now my blog has widgets, my Facebook page actually exists, and I still need to figure out why Goodreads isn’t showing up properly (or maybe this is just me, ’cause my computer is antique).

I’ve also been looking behind the scenes.  I’ve noted that I feel like a noob in the social media realm.  Now I have all of these dashboards and statistics to scrutinize, not to mention new systems to learn and integrate into my already busy schedule.  But the process is not unlike world-building for a book.

I start out with some basic knowledge, maybe an idea I want to play with.  So I started with a bunch of general knowledge about England during the Medieval period, and was able to generate characters, plot, twists and settings for a whole book that way.  As needed, I researched specific areas where I needed to know more, to refine what I had written, to understand the material better and make the character stronger.  So far, so good.  Now, the series is expanding into areas where my basic knowledge is pretty slim.  Less stuff to bounce around, collide and transform into concrete scenes that will carry the book forward.

Social media is the same thing.  There’s a surface level at which I know enough to get along.  I can tweet, post on Facebook, write up a Goodreads review and even send it over here without much trouble.  But in order to use this stuff better, I need to know more.  I need to understand the dashboards and widgets, just the way I need to understand the politics of Medieval Rome if I’m going to write about it effectively.

I find Guelphs and Ghibellines, widgets and dashboards equally arcane and suddenly essential.  And in both cases, I have the same problem:  I have no patience with my own ignorance.  I want to already know exactly what I need so I can just leap right in.  Doesn’t work.  My brain is not plug-and-play, no matter how hard I try.

Any advice on how to shorten one’s learning curve?  Or perhaps, to learn to accept it?  In the meantime, I shall endeavor to keep my head above water.

About E. C. Ambrose

I spend as much time in my office as I possibly can--thinking up terrible things to do to people who don't exist.
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5 Responses to Drowning in the Seas of Knowledge: Social Media World-building

  1. susanannwall says:

    You’ll probably find that just when you’re getting comfortable with all this social media, it’ll all be drastically changed and you’re back to square one! At least you won’t have that issue with the politics of medieval Rome!!

    • Sadly, I think you’re right. Just as I get all my widgets in place, everyone will shift over to some new, amazing site and I’ll be wishing the Holy Roman Emperor would just ride in and subjugate the entire internet.

  2. termitespeaker says:

    I’ve been messing around with this social media stuff for a little over a year now, and I still don’t know what I’m doing half the time! I use Blogger, which is more intuitive and less complex than WordPress, but then you can’t do as much with it, either. I still haven’t figured out how to get a “like” button on my posts. I’m finally getting somewhat accustomed to navigating Goodreads – you and I are friends there, I think – but it remains a real pain. Every time I go in I have to figure it out all over again! One thing I have discovered is that joining some Facebook groups is helpful in forming contacts. Here’s three of them where you can advertise your blog: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/thewriterspost/
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/226345834136720/ (Share a Blog)
    I’m also in a couple of conlanging and conworlding groups, and there are most likely groups for historical fiction if you search. Google+ also has groups – I just joined the Fantasy writers group and I’ll bet there is a historical fiction group there, also.
    And you might get a big surge of views on your blog if somebody puts it on Reddit. I didn’t know anything about Reddit until somebody put my first Conlanging for Beginners post on there, and I got 1000 views in one day! I was floored! I read that it’s called the Reddit effect.
    You, however, have an advantage over us poor self-published blokes – you have a commerical publisher who will take care of most of the book promotion for you (I’m assuming)!
    Btw, you never “liked” me on my own new Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/#!/Termitewriter 😉

    • Thanks for the group ideas–I wasn’t aware of that!

      It remains to be seen how DAW will handle promotion. So far, I’ve been very happy with them, but promo is the area where many publishers drop the ball. They often put huge resources behind their top names (who don’t need the help) and neglect new works and mid-list authors. Hence, I am preparing to do as much promo as I can to make the book take off–and hopefully DAW will chip in more than I’m expecting.

      As to the rest. . . will email you.

      • termitespeaker says:

        I couldn’t find a historical fiction group on Google+ but you can find the list on the sidebar. And you can form your own group if you like! And now I’m disillusioned! So a publisher won’t automatically promote your book as much as you’d like! Not much advantage to self-publishing, then, is there? Except for distribution, perhaps – I presume they would distribute to bookstores, supermarkets, etc., if the book is put in mass market format. And possibly send it to reviewers in different media (e.g. my local newspaper won’t even think of reviewing a self-published book). I think of DAW as mostly mass market paperbacks.
        You can sure publish more books when you self-publish. I’ve done four in the last year. Why does it it take a commercial publisher two years to publish one book?

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