When writing my first two novels the country was changing so fast that by the time they were ready the material could feel almost obsolete. Your characters go to book a flight in a travel agents but when your story is finished, everyone gets their flights online. People don’t call each other on landlines anymore because they all have mobiles and when they get lost, the reader wonders why they don’t just use Google Maps; except nobody had smartphones when you were writing it.
Smart people at the time were incorporating technology and trends into their writing. Their stories centred around MySpace, Bebo, Nokia 3310s, Digital Cameras and The Walkman. Then along comes Facebook, Smartphones, iPods and iPhones and now everyone’s shaping their works in progress to incorporate the modern trends – as if that’s what’s important.
The other problem is that everyone suddenly thinks they’re a marketing specialist. Jane’s got 5000 subscribers on her e-mail list. Gathered them up using her Facebook page, setting up a Social Media Company. Waste of time, says John, Instagram’s where it’s at. Use ads and Hashtags and grow your followers. Fuck that, says Paddy, you need Twitter. More professional. You want profession, says Mary, you need LinkedIn, that’s where the real business happens. The rest is all juvenile. I hear Snapchat’s good now, says Tom, lots of influencers using it. You want influencers, says Jerry, you need Youtube, only way to go. Everyone’s making videos and setting up Adsense with Google. Get yourself enough hits and your start making money. Real money. No hard work needed, just watch the dollars grow. Simple really, don’t know why everyone’s not doing it. What about blogging? No way, says Joe, not professional. Too much work. Write every day? Are you mad? Much simpler just to use my phone here to connect with people. Here, let’s take a Selfie. We’ll put that up on Messenger now. Everyone can look at it then, see. Like it if they like it. Exposure’s what it’s all about. Try get something viral. Especially videos. People making big money at that. Just need to be funny and original. Did you hear they have a course now – on Social Media. How to use it. How to utilise it. Thinking about doing one of them. But what are you going to promote? I don’t know. Stuff. It’s easy. Just share and like. And connect. Big money in it.
Big money in what? You end up with 50,000 social connections and not one customer for your book, or CD, or Film or whatever you’re trying to promote. It’s a crowded space, made worse by ease of access. Every lunatic is doing it and there is no unique selling point. An e-mail blast to 2,000 people is worthless if you’ve never met any of them, or if you don’t bother to respond when they ask you a question. Worse, when you do respond you simply send a link and say: ‘Here, read this it should answer all your questions.’
You’re much better off with a mailing list of 100 people that are interested in your work and whom you can connect with on a meaningful level. That’s your unique selling point. Human interaction. And there’s no point at all if you’ve got nothing to talk about. No book finished, no Poetry written, your film’s been in development for the last five years. Where has all that time gone? Taking Selfies? Sharing links? Retweeting? Connecting? Building your Client Base? Reaching out? Establishing a presence? Vloggng?
Have you tried writing yet?