“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go …”
I may be showing my age here, but I’m part of the WWW. generation. The people who went from teenagers to adults in an era that literally blew up with technology. I was 18 when the world-wide web took off, and the idea of talking to others online was quite interesting and amazing. Back then chat rooms were the thing. I have no idea if those still exist since we have so many other options with all the social media outlets available, but at the time, chat rooms had a certain appeal. My friends and I used to “hang out” in them, talking to people we didn’t know. Of course that was before things went wild and you had to be more cautious about who you befriended. I can honestly say, that I’ve never had a bad experience. Well … maybe one. Although, I don’t consider it bad. Freshly out of high school and “hanging” in a room, I had a married couple ask me to join them for some extracurricular activities 🙂 or let’s say I assume they were a married couple. Who knows, they might have been two ex-con’s ready to kidnap me if I’d agreed. I politely declined, they politely apologized and that was it, so no harm done. It wasn’t until years later that fears started to rise. Kids running away to meet strangers, identities stolen, lives forever changed. I think it’s pretty safe to say that kids nowadays are taught from an early age the dangers of being online and us adults have become overly cautious about our activity, so much that we ensure that our social media sites are private and secure. After all, the world is full of people waiting to prey on other’s. Right?
If becoming a writer has taught me one thing, it’s that the world isn’t as terrible as most of us believe. There are also some really good people out there. And social media isn’t only filled with criminals waiting in lieu to steal your information. It’s also filled with an array of folks who are genuinely good-hearted and genuine. I know this because I’ve met some of them, maybe not physically, but some that I truly care for and hope that their days are filled with happiness. I know Twitter and Facebook can be fairly fake at times. There are a lot of people I follow and who follow me back that are only interested in hoarding a bunch of followers to try to sale their books, promote their music, deliver a message or whatever else their cause and reason may be. Maybe that’s the way to go. Maybe a mass of followers will get you a best seller. I haven’t figured out the key to that since I’ve only published one book and I’m confident in saying that it hasn’t made any kind of “list” yet.
However, I do look at every person whom I follow profile page. And if I share their stuff, it’s usually because, they are one of those people I call a friend or because they’ve shared something of mine and I’m returning the favor or maybe it’s because it caught my eye and was something that I really liked. Yes, I know some just retweet everything that flows through their feed and again, maybe that works for them. I’m no professional and in no position to be doling out advice, so I’m not going to say what is right or wrong. All I can draw from is my experience and that is, to interact with people. In by doing so, you’ll not only gain a few followers, you might gain a few friends that are willing to pitch in and help you along the way.
So what does any of this have to do with Dr. Seuss or the places you’ll go? My personal Facebook page recently had a spike in friend request from people I don’t know. As I said, I always look at a person’s profile before I add them and usually I can make the connection of where they found me by friends we have in common. I can only be hopeful that maybe these folks want to be my friend because because they’ve read my book and think it’s super awesome. Honestly, I’m really not that entertaining, so they’ll probably be disappointed. I post the occasional picture of my kids, update the goings on of my book, but other than keeping up with what everyone else is doing, I don’t interact a whole lot there. So when I received a friend request from a lady in Australia and we had no friends in common, I was a little leery of clicking the “add” button. That was until I received a message saying that she’d read my book and really enjoyed it. Wow! I thought. Not only because she read my book and enjoyed it, but because she’s from Australia. Australia! I’ve never been to Australia, but I’d love to go. When I asked her how she’d come across my book, she said that she’d seen it on a post I made on Susan Mallery’s page. Do any of you know who Susan Mallery is? Her Wikipedia page say’s she’s a New York Times best selling author of more than 80 books. To me, she’s big time 🙂 I love her Fool’s Gold series. She’s one of the authors I follow simply because I love their stuff and enjoy reading their post. She’s also very generous and is constantly hosting giveaways. One night, she even opened her Facebook page up to other authors, allowing them to post links to their books and asked any readers that liked what they saw to make sure they let the author know that. Taking a gamble, I posted mine. The result … at least one book sold and a new friend. I am truly amazed by the generosity of others. People you’ve never met that reach out and befriend you and are willing to help you promote your work. Those people that I now consider friends.
“Oh, the Places you’ll go …” Maybe I haven’t been to Australia, but my book is there, so does that mean since a piece of me went into writing that book, that I’ve been there too? If so, then I’ve also been to England, Canada and New York and even parts of Kentucky that’ I’ve never visited. “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” -I’m sorry Dr. Seuss, I have to disagree with you here, sometimes you have no say in where you’ll go, because with the help of some good friends and generous folks, there is no telling the places you’ll end up.