In 2010, I decided to attend a writer’s conference. My reasons for going had little to do with writing a book back then (but I returned four times). I researched the speakers and decided I would attend the class on character development, presented by Nancy Rue. In my research, I discovered a comment from someone who said “When Nancy is talking to you, she gives you her full attention.” This, I can attest, is true. She is never distracted–but that kind of intensity can be intimidating.
Thus, when I met her the first words out of my mouth were, “Hi, I’m Crystal, and you scare me.”
From that auspicious beginning, an incredible friendship formed. It’s been my joy to join Nancy and to learn from her as she guides ‘tweens and teens into the realization that who they are is enough. She is funny, she is kind, she is wise. Nancy is my writing mentor, my life mentor and an all-around amazing individual.
What a joy to be here as a guest poster on Muse & Meander, a blog I follow and enjoy and ponder. That’s a rarity for me because … I am a not a huge social media person. I LOVE people, but …
I never visit my Facebook profile.
I never go to other people’s Facebook profiles.
I don’t read people’s Tweets.
And when somebody starts talking about hashtags my eyes glaze over. If they KEEP talking about them, I break into a sweat.
If I weren’t a published author, I would probably stick to email and get my FB news from my husband who gives me a nightly update on family and friends. And I still draw the line at being shown cute puppy videos. OH. MY. GOSH.
But I AM a published author, and not long after social media became “the thing,” my publishers started to pressure me to get on there and do … everything. You would have thought they were introducing me to the H1N1 virus. I kicked, screamed and balked in every way possible. They balked back. Do it. It’s part of your job now.
So while I continued to whine that Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott never had to market their own books–they just had to write them! Hello!–while that was going on, I got myself a college intern and told her I needed to blog. Pamela was the soul of patience as she helped me set up the blog for tween girls which she named Tween You and Me. Pamela had to teach me that there was never an @ in an URL, and that a hyperlink wasn’t two people with ADHD hooking up. By the end of that summer, I had a community of tween girls who came to the blog twice a week. I had to admit, it was fun.
But that wasn’t enough. Why, my publisher wanted to know, wasn’t I on Facebook? My answer–because I don’t get the whole “friends” thing. The marketing person said, “You can do this, Nancy.” I said, “No, seriously, I can’t.” So that publisher hired a virtual assistant for me. Leah was nothing less than a saint. She whipped up that Facebook page, opened me a Twitter account, and walked me through the whole thing until the money ran out.
By then I had met Crystal. We clicked for many reasons, and as we got to know each other, she very kindly and gently and tactfully told me I didn’t exactly know what I was doing. I didn’t kick or scream or balk, and eventually being on line was, dare I say it, actually pleasant.
Aaaaand … that still wasn’t enough for my publishers. My now two blogs and my Facebook page were very nice, but I wasn’t selling books on there. What about some contests? Some promotional drives? Facebook party launches?
Yeah. How about I stress myself out to the point of throwing up?!
I’m not really putting my wonderful publishers down. I’m really not. The publishing world has changed and if we authors don’t do all we can to promote our own works, they’re just not going to get out there. But how could I reconcile my resistance to that P word–promoting–and still do my part?
After I resigned myself to the fact that I did have a part and it had to be done, I came to this conclusion. It was the awesome marketing team at Tommy Nelson who helped me come to it–by turning the market of the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy into an anti-bullying campaign–a way to serve rather than simply sell. THAT I could get behind. And in one instant that I don’t even remember now, it came to me–
It’s not social media. It’s SOUL MEDIA.
If I can post something on a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest that ministers to someone’s soul, I am so there. That’s it. Simple as that. And I can’t tell you how many fingernails that has saved. How many tossy-turny nights that has done away with. How many bitter scowls that has erased from my face.
Now I’ve surrounded myself with even more people who want to join me in touching souls online. We’re a team, and for the first time I am able to say, thank goodness for the Internet.
I’m even thinking it might be a God thing.
Blessings, Nancy Rue
Nancy Rue is the author of over 120 books for adults and teens, including Healing Waters, which was a 2009 Women of Faith Novel of the Year, and The Reluctant Prophet which received a Christy award in 2011. Nancy travels extensively-at times on the back of a Harley Davidson-speaking and teaching to groups of `tween girls and their moms and mentoring aspiring authors. She lives on a lake in Tennessee with her Harley-ridin’ husband Jim and their yellow lab (without whom writing would be difficult.)
Her latest titles include three with Rebecca St. James – The Merciful Scar, Sarah’s Choice and One Last Thing (Thomas Nelson) — and the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy – SO Not Okay, You Can’t Sit With Us and Sorry I’m Not Sorry (Tommy Nelson).