Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#writetip: to dare is to do

An INTP writer and the dilemma of social media

I’m not just an INTP, I’m an INTP Leo indie writer. Argh. I’m not into pigeonholing and labels, but I do like to try to understand how I feel about what I do. And I am not ashamed to say that trying to develop a social media author platform is driving me insane.
I write because I love writing, and I publish books because I have dared to admit that I do want to share my writing with people out there who might like and enjoy the stuff I write.
I’m an impatient reader and I write the way I like to read. Apart from the fact that I need to write to stay sane, I’ll keep going with the whole publishing and promoting my stuff thing because I have had some awesome feedback from people who have actually asked me to keep writing, people I didn’t know before they took the time and effort to get in touch, people who like to read the way I like to read – and write. It’s an amazing feeling.
But I’m a desperately private person. As an indie writer, it’s all up to you. Which is fantastic when you’re writing and editing with a blanket over your head. Not so great when it comes to the marketing and selling. I actually love going to comic cons. That must be the Leo in me. Online social media, though, frightens the life out of me. In case there are any other writers out there facing the same dilemma, here’s a rough guide to how I manage to do at least some of it:

Twitter: I love Twitter! I use it as a snapshot of what’s happening in the world right now. Social media has changed forever the way news is disseminated to the masses. It’s no longer the domain of the established press to tell us what is important. Now, if something’s going on, it will be trending on Twitter. As an INTP writer, I love the instant, said and gone nature of a Tweet. It doesn’t feel as if anyone is watching but if someone is, then they just see what I’ve said right then and it’s gone. Adding a quick favourite is a cool way of giving a nod and a smile. And I use Twitter to keep tabs on stuff I like and access to stuff I might want to go back to investigate further later. It’s very instant and it’s very unintrusive.
Here’s me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cghatton – I follow back anyone who follows me and I’m happy to engage in Twitter conversations. It’s kind of like having your back to the corner of the room, a drink in your hand and total control over how much you want to say. I can do that.

Pinterest: I love Pinterest! Pinterest is the place where I hoard all the stuff I like. I use it for inspiration, for gathering all the images and quotes that make me feel. It’s like having access to a mood board you can add to and peruse in the middle of the night. If you want to see what inspires me, check out 6E’s cool stuff board at www.pinterest.com/6ecreative/cool-stuff – that’s me. It’s like having your own personal art gallery. It’s great. Only warning, you can get sucked into Pinterest, especially at three in the morning, and it can devour away the hours.

Facebook: Facebook freaks me out. It’s like the crowded room, full of happy social confident people, that you walk into and want to walk straight back out of. INTP nightmare. I still haven’t figured it out. There are a few people I know and like that I can only contact through Facebook so I pop in regularly. But I still haven’t got the hang of what to say, how to say it, what to like or share without feeling creepy and it’s not somewhere I like to hang out. I have never liked to ask anything of anyone so the idea of asking people to ‘like’ my page or ‘share’ my post makes me incredibly uncomfortable. So I don’t do it. And I think you need to if you want to be part of the whole Facebook thing.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn freaks me out a bit too. I have a profile but I haven’t populated it with all the info I could because I’m not sure I want to post all that stuff so publicly. I’m sure it has potential – some of my most enthusiastic readers are people I know professionally, who found out what I do by accident. So I could probably use LinkedIn more. I mostly use it for the Spurs supporters discussion forums. They’re cool.

Blogspot: Having a blog is a tough one! There’s a really big part of me that wonders why anyone would want to read anything I have to say. I tend not to say a lot out loud. I’m trying to use it for the occasional bits of writing advice for other writers, in case anyone out there is struggling as much as I am, and an odd update for readers if I have anything going on like a new book or photos from a comic con. At the end of the day, writing books is what is keeping me sane. I love my little guys and I love my universe and I love giving them all a hard time and seeing how they deal with it, and I love it when they surprise me. If having a blog helps someone find my stuff that might not have done otherwise, then why not? And if another writer gets a bit of inspiration from reading that it’s not easy, then that’s cool. Life’s hard enough as it is. Living in the future doesn’t have to be impossible for us folk who’d rather hide under a blanket (a blanket with Internet access so we know what’s going on).

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sci-Fi Scarbs

I’m really pleased to be able to say that Sci-Fi Scarborough was as good this year as it was last year! A few people warned me last year that events can change from year to year, giving the invaluable advice that sometimes you have to just take each event as they come. But seriously, Sci-Fi Scarbs was great, just as welcoming and just as much fun as the first one.
What was really cool was that we met back up with some old friends for a lovely weekend and made some new ones as more people came up for a chat.
The orchestra was great, the live bands were cool, the cosplay was awesome, the quiz was tough and the atmosphere all weekend was buzzing.
The munchkins loved it too and worked as hard as they did last year, handing out bookmarks and discount codes for me and stalking the daleks. The little one was especially taken by the R2D2s who were the stars of the show. It was fantastic talking to Virginia Hey, Pam Rose, Terry Malloy and David Hine who all gave us lots of their time and advice, and it was a real opportunity for the munchkins to meet real people who dress up, act, draw and write for a living! It was a great weekend all round.
Writing is such a solitary affair, and there are times when I need nothing more than to throw a blanket over my head, sit under a tree and write, but having the chance to talk to people who know my books and like my stuff is amazing. I know I’ve said this before, but I still can’t explain how much it means to meet people who want to chat about my universe and all its goings on. I’m becoming more and more aware that I need to be careful what I say, having been accused of giving away spoilers for the first time!
Many thanks once again to my hubs and Andy and Steve for getting me out there into the world, to everyone who came along for a chat and some books, and special thanks to Lynn and family for looking after us last weekend. See you at the next one!

More photos on Facebook!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

In between books…

Being a reader and a writer is very peculiar. I know exactly what it’s like to be waiting for the next book in a series to come out, the anticipation of wondering what happens next, wanting it to be in your hands so you can jump back into the adventure with your favourite characters, knowing you have all those hours ahead of you to spend with them…
Thing is, as a writer, that exact same time is suddenly the time when you’re done and finished and missing those same characters, the guys you’ve just spent every moment of the past year with, inside their heads, feeling every hurt and drama, every twist and turn as it surprises you as much as it surprises them.
It’s a strange, in between, in limbo kind of time. You have all the plans and thoughts for the next book swishing about, but you’ve not jumped fully into it yet, not quite ready to leave the last one, even though what’s done is done. There’s definitely a touch of the expedition blues about it.
So here I am, looking forward to Sci-Fi Scarborough and getting book four out there, and really appreciating the messages from all the people who have said they’re coming and can’t wait for it, to find out what happens to NG and LC and Hil… But I’m already missing them. I need to get on with five and get back to giving them all a hard time!

See you at Scifi Scarbs!

Wilful Defiance (Thieves’ Guild: Book Four) is due out on Monday 16th March. Paperback copies can be pre-ordered at www.6epublishing.net