How to Manage the Tone Of Your Author’s Page

Written by A Guest Author | March 14, 2018

— Lizbeth Meredith

Glimpse my social media and you’ll notice my posts mimic those braggadocio holiday newsletters I’ve come to loathe. The newsletters that incessantly boast things like My daughter won the lead in the Christmas play! My son is an Olympic gold medalist! Our family went on three exotic vacations this year, and they were all exquisite!

Exclamation point. Exclamation point. Exclamation point.

While creating spaces on social media where I engage with readers and promote other authors’ works along with mine, I’ve ignored the full spectrum of experiences I’ve had since publishing my memoir.

A sampling of my Facebook author posts this past year looked like this:

 I had an essay published in The Feminine Collective!

Jane Friedman included an essay of mine in her blog!

 I won three different book awards!

I had a rousing time at my bookstore signing last night!

Yay, me!

But that’s just the half of it. The truth is, I’ve had plenty of disappointments, disasters, and ding-dong moments.

Here are some headlines I could have posted:

Today was the third author event I’ve had this week with no books in stock due to a shipping glitch!

Apologies for today’s striptease when my pants slid down my hips during my reading. (Tips are still welcome!)

An excuse me is in order to all who attended my memoir workshop last night. I had no idea the jalapenos I ate at lunch would have me tooting my own horn.

Indeed, for every essay I had published, there were three others rejected.  But my greatest horror came when I realized that the contest win I’d announced online was fake news; I’d actually misread the winners and losers column.  By the time I realized my error, my post had received shares and likes from across the globe.

In this world of social media where writers live out loud, how do we balance the need to celebrate our wins online while acknowledging our many challenges along the way? How do we move forward after a gaffe or a setback? How do we share the experience with our writing peers so that they don’t feel alone or exceptional when their portion of rejection or mishaps are meted out?

I’m delighted to introduce a system I’ve designed to address these concerns.

Here is the FART system:

F-Feel the emotion that comes as a result of the setback. Indulge yourself in feeling that emotion for no more than a half hour so you do not become engulfed in it. Whether it’s a missed opportunity, a wardrobe malfunction, shit happens. (So do farts.) You’re not alone.

A-Assess the damages.

Once you’ve processed your feelings, it’s easier to see what should happen next.

Does the situation need to be addressed publicly? Should it be ignored, or perhaps addressed quickly and quietly with a “Pardon me”? Assess the damages to strategize the best response.

R- Respond

Sometimes it’s important to post the correction on social media. “I apologize that some of you didn’t get a signed copy of my book at the launch party. If you private message me, I’ll get you one as soon as possible.”

Or, in the case of my misinformed acceptance, I used this handy meme.

 

T- Tell a fellow writer or two about your mishap. Or write about it. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to pick out the lesson you’ve learned or to have a laugh at yourself or the situation.

Writing is a lonely business, and we find ourselves filling so many roles to keep selling our books. Editor. Marketer. Event planner. Things are bound to go awry now and then.

Everyone needs reminders that they are not the only ones riding the roller coaster of successes and failures.

So go ahead. Relieve some of the pressure now and then, and FART.


Bio: Lizbeth Meredith is a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Her memoir Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters is a 2017 silver medalist at the IPPY Awards. Her work has appeared in Feminine Collective and in Jane Friedman’s blog. You can find her at lameredith.com, on Twitter @ LizbethMeredith, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lizbethmeredithfan/.