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When I began expanding the social media campaign for my upcoming book about Norman Rockwell’s Vermont models, a troubling image came to mind. I pictured myself sitting in a small motorboat just off the seashore, wondering where in the world to cast my line. I felt overwhelmed by the vast ocean. I was aware that there are people who have electronic equipment and could tell me exactly where I would find schools of fish, but I didn’t know anyone. I realized it would be foolish to venture into the sea of social media without help, so I read 3 books on the subject, including Fauzia Burke’s “Online Marketing for Busy Authors.” I felt instant relief when she explained that many writers feel intimidated at the thought of social media campaigns. Writers are worn after we finish creating a book, and then we have to do THIS? Before social media, most writers took a hiatus to rest their weary minds between books.

Fortunately, all three books had similar information on how to begin and gave information on platforms that successful writers use. I also began asking friends, and they gave me practical information. I decided my platforms would be Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in. All sources agreed that for my particular book, CALL ME NORMAN, Stories of Rockwell’s Beloved Vermont Models, Instagram ultimately would not be productive because it’s targeted toward young people. I began inviting more people to my FB personal page, Stephen T. Haggerty, as well as to my author page, S.T. Haggerty, author. Many more people are now “following” me. Basic Facebook is fairly simple. You ask people to become friends and click on “like” or “love” if you enjoy their posts.

I am posting photos and quotes I think people will find interesting on FB, and most importantly, pictures of Norman Rockwell models that I know, or knew. I give links to the paintings they posed for, and include anecdotes about their lives and relationships with the artist. I have learned how to boost posts with FB ads. Because I am on the learning curve, I pay small amounts, like $10, for several days of boosting. It HAS been attracting post and page “likes.” I keep it simple because I have a busy life. I just cannot become one of “the world’s experts” because I don’t have the energy. But I’m gradually building up a nice following on Facebook by spending a couple of hours a week on that platform. I’ve also made some excellent contacts, who have been helping me in the process of finding a publisher.

I established my account on Twitter two months ago, and I am up to 600 followers already. (I know, I’ll need many more than that.) I’m actually enjoying it. I’m seeing some great art and learning about books that are being written, published, and promoted. I’m getting an appreciation for digital art. I’m tweeting (equivalent of “posting”) my landscape photographs, quotes, and pictures of Rockwell models. People are indicating that they like or love my Tweets. They are retweeting some for people their followers to view. I’m especially glad they are responding to my tweets about Rockwell models. I’m building some nice electronic relationships and giving and receiving some reassuring compliments. I hope to meet a few of my new “friends” in person.

LinkedIn? Well….I haven’t been as active posting on that platform. How much can a busy person do with social media? But I do have many Linked-in friends, and contacts have given me some useful information. I read articles here and there, and they have been helpful in understanding the current state of the publishing business. We live in an era that makes it difficult for new authors to find agents and publishers. They get a plethora of queries. I have learned some critical information about the effects of the Covid virus on agents and publishers. I have posted a few articles in which I offer insight into my process of writing fiction and non-fiction. Once I feel my Facebook and Twitter campaigns are running to my satisfaction, I expect to increase my time on Linked-in to develop more substantial relationships with writers, agents, book editors, and publishing executives.

Sometimes I feel pressure to create a huge social media campaign rapidly, and it does more harm than good. I have found it more productive to keep up a reasonable pace. I want to relax, enjoy this “fishing” excursion, and maintain quality of life. Thankfully, I am finding some good spots to drop my anchor and cast my line. I no longer focus on the view of the vast, intimidating ocean. I keep it mostly on the area around my boat and marvel at the fish I am reeling in. Sometimes when I do stare out into its vastness, I find that I want to explore it more. On the other hand, I don’t want to become an online addict.

#socialmedia #Normanrockwell #Writers #followers

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