Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Daily Archives: May 18, 2011

Welcome to WANA Wednesday, the day I dedicate to helping you guys rock it hard on social media and based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Many writers groan when I tell them that they need to blog. In fairness, I can’t blame them. Writers have been hearing that quite a lot. The problem, however, was that no one was teaching them HOW to blog. Oh, because writing is natural. I mean functional literacy is all that’s required to write….right?

Well, it seems that is the general perception.

Remember the 80s? The group Dire Straits had a song called, “I Want My MTV.”

That ain’t workin’. That’s the way you do it.

You play the guitar on the MTV.

That ain’t working. That’s the way you do it.

Your money is for nothin’ and your chicks for free.

Recently, I heard this song and it struck me that most people do not perceive the creative professions as real work. Look at this song. So learning to read music isn’t work? Or learning how to play a guitar? Bands tour the world in 6 months, working 18 hour days with no time off. Frequently, they are hospitalized for exhaustion. Yet this is the public perception:

Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it.

Lemme tell ya, that guy ain’t dumb.

Maybe get a blister on your little finger.

Maybe get a blister on your thumb.

This song made me think about how most people feel about writing….worse, how many writers feel about writing. I know I was guilty. I had a job in sales and a 9-state territory. I drove 1200 miles a week. Hey, being a writer was the LIFE! I could sit at a laptop and wear a beret and get to be creative all day…

…or not.

Do I have a point? Yes. Too many of us feel like because we can slap a sentence together we can write a novel. We made As on our English papers, so we are ready to take on NY publishing. Hey, I thought so, too. Reality punched me in the face on that one. But many of us feel the same way about blogging. Again, you think I would have learned, but um….yeah, no. I have this penchant for learning the hard way. Took a year of writing less than stellar blogs for me to get frustrated and start studying what successful bloggers were doing that I wasn’t.

Most writers, when I mention blogging, promptly develop dizziness and nausea. WHY? If we think about this for a second, writers should LOVE to blog. Really. We got into this profession so we could do what we love—WRITING—all the time. So, why this aversion to blogging?

I will tell you my theory. Most of the blogging advice has tried to overlay traditional marketing onto social networking and it DOES NOT FIT. Many PR people and social media experts tell writers to blog about themselves, their characters, their books, because our novel is the product that will be for sale. They advise, “Get out there and talk about your book. Offer free downloads. Entice customers. Talk about your writing process.”

Okay, I am going to apply a little logic here. Since when is talking about ourselves non-stop EVER been a good plan when it comes to social discourse?

No wonder writers feel queasy when told they need to blog. On some intuitive level, we know this kind of narcissism is a bad plan. Not only that, but for blogs to be successful, they need to be posted frequently and long-term. So now we are supposed to talk about ourselves MULTIPLE times a week….FOREVER?

No longer a mystery why writers feel verklempt when I mention blogging.

This approach is crap. It is a formula to alienate others and undermine our platform. Applying traditional market norms onto a world ruled by social norms is like saying, “Your blood type is A positive? Well, all we have is B negative. But, hey, blood is blood.”

Mix two different types of blood together and what happens? Sickness and possibly death. Same with blogging. Try to use a blog for advertising and we are mixing traditional marketing with social networking, and the effect will be sickness or even death of our author platform. Same with Twitter. Want to see who gets ignored? The person who only tweets about herself, her ideas, her thoughts, her opinions, and her blogs. The most popular people on social media serve others first.

I have been truly amazed at the sense of community we have created on #MyWANA. Writers are coming together as friends, following each other, talking to each other, and offering unprecedented support and encouragement. Yet, spend a day watching #MyWANA (or any other # discussion) and it is easy to see who is ignored….those who post like a spam bot.

Here is my blog.

Here is my book.

Here are my ideas.

I’m not here to make anyone feel badly. Remember, I made all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to. I listened to the “experts” in the beginning, too, but after weeks of failing to connect? I tossed their ideas and started looking for what worked and WHY. And I don’t think these “experts” stay up all night thinking of ways to make writers go even crazier, but I DO feel like many of them are not writers, so they can’t appreciate our unique challenges. We must connect on social media if we hope to get anything out of it. It is called social networking not social advertising.

So back to my original point. How do others—friends, family, society in general—feel about what we do?

That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it

You write the novels on your Mac PC

That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it

Your money is for nothing and your perks for free.

Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it

Lemme tell you those geeks ain’t dumb

Maybe get a blister on your spacebar finger

Maybe have your legs and butt go numb.

Others can feel this way about what we do. That just means we do our jobs so well it looks easy. They key is to make certain WE don’t feel this way about our work. Writing is TOUGH. We have to research, read, outline, study, blog, and all of that on top of the writing, which is often ON TOP of the regular day job. We also have to learn about social networking. This stuff isn’t imprinted on our DNA. Just because we can type doesn’t mean we understand how to really use these amazing tool (blogs, Twitter, FB).

This is why I hope you pick up a copy of my #1 best-selling book, Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Blogging isn’t as natural as breathing. It is a skill that can be learned through two years of trial and error and chocolate…or it can be learned by taking a day to read my book.

Writing is tough, but now we have #MyWANA to make is easier. Blogging is social, and should be fun. Let’s leave the advertising to McDonald’s and Nike. Blogging mixed with friendship (like #MyWANA) is the best combination and can keep you energized to write. Blogging can help us be tighter, faster, cleaner writers who are much better at meeting deadlines. Best of all? Our blogs can make us friends with people we, otherwise, might never have known.

So what do you guys love about blogging? What makes you hate it? Dread it? Any advice or suggestions?

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of May I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Important Announcements

Make sure you join our LOVE REVOLUTION over on Twitter by following and participating in the #MyWANA Twibe. Read this post to understand how this #MyWANA will totally transform your life and your author platform.

My book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media hit THREE best-seller lists on Kindle last week. #2 in Computers & Technology, #13 in Authorship and #17 in Advertising. THANK YOU!!!!! This book is recommended by some of the biggest authors AND agents in New York, so make sure you pick up a copy if you don’t have one already.

Also, if you want to learn how to blog or even how to take your blogging to a level you never dreamed possible…get your copy of Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer today. This book hit #1 on the best-selling list in less than 48 hours thanks to all of YOU!!!!! Not only will this book help you learn to blog, but you will be having so much fun, you will forget you were supposed to be learning.

Happy writing!

Until next time….