I’m slowly working my way through the 2012 edition of The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese, in the forlorn hope that I have learned enough since I wrote it to come up with a “new and improved” version. Not the final word, mind you. The world of publishing is changing too fast for that. But perhaps some important updates will help next year’s writers.
Yesterday I was looking at the chapter on using social media,and I noted that my emphasis was all on numbers — how many followers I had on various sites. Did I really believe back then that all a writer had to do was sign up followers and instant fame and fortune would follow? Egads! True, my numbers have almost doubled and sites have multiplied, — and yes, my sales figures have followed suit. But a session at this year’s Military Writers Conference reminded me that the most important factor is not numbers but name recognition.
As soon as Maria Edwards, the speaker in that session, spoke those words, I winced. Do people who wander through Facebook or Twitter really know my name? Do they see it and think, “Oh, yes, she’s the one who writes all those great Civil War biographical novels.”? Maybe a few on Facebook do. But what about my followers on Twitter? Probably not!
Why? Because I’ve committed a huge error on Twitter. I’m registered there as “Roundheadlady.” A the time, I thought I was being clever. The Roundhead Regiment was the one my Uncle James joined in Pennsylvania, and the subject of my first Civil War book, A Scratch with the Rebels. So I was the “lady who wrote about the Roundheads” but out there on Twitter, most folks are still saying, “Who?” I even compounded the error by using that name on my Pinterest account as well. A slow learner, I am.
What’s worse, it’s probably too late to correct the errors. Oh, I could go into those accounts and change my user name, but the chances are great that followers of “Roundheadlady “ would simply figure that I had died or faded away. Would they make the connection and switch to following "CarolynSchriber"? Certainly I have one Facebook friend in Missouri who affectionately calls me “Roundhead Lady.” She'd find me no matter what name I used. But for most readers, the name recognition is simply not there.
Take-away lesson: If you want people to buy your books and talk about them and recommend them to their friends, you need to make sure they know your name.