I was browsing through Facebook and noticed something that got me thinking. Many of my friends are writers, editors, publishers and agents. What I see on my Facebook pages are others, like me, sharing the good news of their work with the world. We may promote the fact that we are teaching, speaking or launching a new work. We are excited and are looking for encouragement.
But, now and then, some pious person gets to ranting about the “commercials” they have to endure on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. They chastise with words meant to stop the posts of these “shameless, self-promoting writers.” They don’t take into account the fact that publishers and editors have encouraged these writer’s to promote new works via social media, nor might they understand that some readers do enjoy sharing in the writer’s journey.
I thought about the people who are disgusted by the many “freebies” and “buy me!” posts and wondered if their hope or joy had been diminished by their own book’s poor sales or unflattering reviews. I was saddened by the lack of understanding. So, I decided I would do something about it.
I found myself looking up the ranter’s work. I bought it, read it and wrote a review. The work was good, not wonderful, but decent. My review was honest, and encouraging. I then Tweeted my review and posted a note on their website, words I really meant, words of encouragement, words meant to lift the spirits of the ranter.
A few days later, a Facebook note appeared from the ranter. It was a post encouraging another writer with a review and commentary that was uplifting and positive. I could imagine the joy the targeted writer must have felt. I felt that same joy as I read the ranter’s words and caught myself smiling.
God means us to be supportive of one another. He means us to encourage each other in any way we can, even in social media. I’m not above shamelessly promoting my work, as it has been successful. I also know that as I learn to utilize Facebook, I have shared in the joy of watching writer’s children grow up, when before this social media site, we had little contact. I have heard the heartbreak in the words of writers I care about as they share the dissolution of a marriage or the joy of a successful cancer operation. I have felt spiritual need welling up in a fellow author whose faith had been diminished by an ungodly world, allowing me to sending prayers in their direction. I have laughed with friends whose political differences deeply divide us, yet still shared in the joy of their new home despite our one-sided opinions.
In between, I send notes of praise and encouragement when a new writer lists their accomplishments, publication dates or “free” book days. My “shameless” promotions are not just about promoting my work. It’s how I’ve learned to care for each writer I know as a person, not a book sale.
Now, when I read a negative post about the use of social media for promotions, I take a minute to send an encouraging note to the person who wrote it. I have learned that they might have a need or a pain they can’t share and could use a few kind words.
So, I guess you’ll be hearing from me again when my next giveaway or “shameless” promotion needs to be done. In the meantime, know I’m watching you grow and bloom. I’m listening to your joy and pain and I’m cheerfully praying for your success. After all, we are in this together!