A Writers Guide to Being a Writer Part 3: Using Social Media, or I'll Like You If You Like Me

Kay, my permanently grumpy marketing guru, has this week given birth to a beautiful little girl after a 20-hour labor, described by her gyno as "epic."

I take this to mean I can catch up on my reading, or perhaps my laundry. You see whilst not lazy as such, most writers, myself included, can safely be described as flighty, jumping at any opportunity to do something other than what we should. Facing one prominent and unmovable deadline for a national paper I once painted my kitchen Tuscan Sunset, which Alison, my long-suffering girlfriend, insists is just orange.

But no, the woman was on the phone six hours later, firing off suggestions, which to the uninitiated might sound suspiciously like orders. This is because, as previously mentioned, I've become an accidental e-book bestseller. Accidental in that no one, including me knows quite how I've done it. This strange enigma vexes Kay, who has made it clear that one of us will not rest until we know how we did it. So my attention turned to using social media with the dark warning, "I better see some new f*****g likes."

When it comes to social media everyone has a preference. Some like the cuddly, friendliness of Facebook, others the relative anonymity of Twitter, some even enjoy the thick-skinned masochism required for posting on Reddit. However, in my experience it's the most trial and error part of book marketing; a field that's already all about stabbing in the dark. Everyone in the publishing industry, make that everyone in every industry, is obsessed with social media right now, offering as it does a window into our very souls for anyone with a product in need of peddling. However I'm just not convinced anyone really knows how to use it effectively. Lots of people think they know, even more claim they do, but it's still the modern day equivalent of a message in a bottle; someone might receive it, it's even possible that the right person might receive it, but it comes with absolutely no guarantees.

The problem is we've reached 'Like' saturation. Every time we access social media we're asked to comment, follow, respond, reply, and share. To like is to associate, to comment is to involve ourselves, to share is to take ownership. Through this endless barrage of cats playing in hammocks and pictures of people's lunch we've become desensitized, building up a heavy callous on our like finger, so that we're now less inclined to use it.

But I dutifully followed orders/suggestions, which is always safer than angering Kay, which in my experience is like poking an adult crocodile with a very short stick. So I set up my Google+, updated my LinkedIn, and even enrolled in Pinterest, but then got distracted by pictures of cute dogs.

But then I had my epiphany.

Perhaps social media was actually invented to help people avoid work; I mean, just ask any boss. Perhaps by embracing it fully and completely I can get the same warm, fuzzy feeling I get cleaning the grouting or mowing the lawn when I should be writing and avoid having to face the wrath of a vengeful Kay. So I pinned pictures of cute puppies to my virtual board, liked, commented and shared until my calloused finger went numb, butted in on dozens of perfectly innocent tweetversations before Instagramming the s**t out of myself doing it.

And am pretty sure I sold the same number of copies I would have anyway.

But to anyone out there reading this. I'll like you if you like me -- @bezerkskhaus -- www.facebook.com/filthystillnovel

Next week: Welcome to the Fourth Estate.