Romance Books Uncategorized

#GuestPost – “Homemakers’ Christmas” by Jill Piscitello

Social Media and the Introverted Author

It’s a fairly well-known fact that many authors identify themselves as introverts.  As a newly published author who falls into this category, I’m finding the world of social media to be quite daunting.  Until recently, my infrequent posts were limited to a small group of Facebook friends that I personally know, or at least knew, at one point in my life.  

A debut novel entailed setting up a website, a Facebook author page, a Twitter account, and an Instagram page.  Hashtags baffle me beyond reason.  Figuring out which ones to use, how many to use, and which app gets which hashtag feels akin to finding one’s way through the hedge maze in The Shining.  As a fairly private person, I’m left wondering what to post.  How does one go about finding followers?  And, what do followers want to follow?  

Extroverts are presumed to enjoy sharing personal details about themselves.  They expect that people want to know what they’re up to and what they’re planning on doing next.  I envision that information flowing freely from their fingertips into the open arms of their eagerly awaiting readership.  In stark contrast, this is when my worst case of writer’s block kicks in.

I’m catching on though.  My fellow introverted authors must have also had to force themselves out of their comfort zone at some point as I am doing now.  The key is figuring out what information you can share that will be helpful to someone else.  It may be book recommendations, a list of writing websites that you found to be invaluable, or your top ten marketing strategies.

There is one glaring problem.  Helpful articles can be great, but they often lack a personal connection to readers.  From what I’ve read, it’s that connection that draws people in.  This is where the real work begins for someone who typically shares within a small social circle.

The challenge is knowing which ideas will interest readers.  For example, who else out there might be wondering whether to continue a series with a stand-alone book or to continue to focus on the original main characters?  Self-publishing is growing rapidly, but perhaps someone might like to know about the value of working with a talented editor.  Would it help anyone to know that taking long walks outside is my single best strategy for sparking creativity?  The trick is being able to remember everything by the time I get home and jot the ideas down on paper.

Once I’ve managed to forge ahead and have something decent that’s ready to share with the world, another dilemma crops up.  Navigating social media platforms can be overwhelming.  I’m finding that it’s helpful to limit my posts to only a few outlets.  This decision has been serving me well as I attempt to interact with other people’s posts beyond passively hitting the “Like” button.  If I genuinely love someone’s book cover, I’ll tell them.  If a book blurb piques my interest, I’ll let the author know.  These efforts to connect are becoming easier as I notice that such comments seem to be well-received.  

When it comes to social media, all the world truly is a stage.  Some of the players are actors, but others are authentic.  I believe that the audience appreciates both.  We don’t all have an inner diva to channel, but most of us have something valuable to share.

Blurb:

A recent error in judgement has deposited Cricket Williams, her daughter, and a son spiking a high fever into a homeless shelter. A touch of Christmas magic is sprinkled upon her family when an eccentric volunteer invites them into her New England farmhouse. Blindsided with the proposition of a contractual living arrangement, Cricket is seized with renewed hope for her future.

Boris Glynn is in town visiting his grandmother but harbors a secret that will impact her life and the lives of his dearest friends. Complications arise when he is unable to restrain himself from pursuing his grandmother’s beautiful new neighbor.

As Cricket begins to succumb to Boris’s attention, her new world is shaken by a series of events that have the potential to destroy her plans for a fresh start.

Excerpt:

Full excerpt found here:  http://www.satinromance.com/authors/jillpiscitello/homemaker.html  

Cricket stifled an involuntary gag at the sight of the balled-up sheets in the corner. Visible stains made it clear that they were the source of the stench. Her eyes watered, and she wondered if she was supposed to do something with them, or if someone else would come and exchange them for new ones. The bed was completely bare—one bunk bed for three people. She and Max slept on the bottom bunk, and Ashling took the top.

Better than no bed, she supposed.

The kids hadn’t said much since they had arrived a week ago. She assumed they were in shock. December had just begun, and this was the last place she wanted to be with her family as the Christmas season got underway. She couldn’t envision a less festive place to spend the holidays than a homeless shelter.

No way to sugarcoat it, far as she could see: They’d be here for a while, so they better get used to it. Cricket figured it didn’t make much sense to stand around staring at the depressing sight any more than necessary and herded everyone out to the dining hall with hopes of finding someone to help remedy the bedding situation.

Scanning the crowded tables, she wished they could grab trays and head back to their room, but that wasn’t allowed. This meant Max would eat absolutely nothing. She’d once again be forced to hide his sandwich and a cookie in her pocketbook and encourage him to eat it later. Her mop headed six-year-old picked at his food in the best circumstances. He was more than reluctant to try what they served here.

After sitting down in three recently vacated seats with their full trays, Cricket scooped a forkful of bland mashed potatoes into her mouth. Ashling nibbled at her meatloaf and green beans. Mature for her thirteen years, she knew better than to complain about the food on her plate.

Although the meal lacked taste, it was the thought of staying here that Cricket couldn’t stomach. They hadn’t left much behind, but it had been theirs.

They certainly hadn’t been ousted from a palace. The freezer had housed a full-blown sanctuary of cockroaches, for crying out loud. However, the place had had a small kitchen, a living room where Cricket slept, a bedroom for Ashling, and another for Max (though it had technically been a closet). Despite its obvious shortcomings, it had been home. For years, they celebrated birthdays, holidays, and life in general in that apartment.

Cricket’s appetite evaporated as her eyes scanned the packed room, and she reflected on her two choices: Allow herself to be swallowed up in despair or make do with what they had and try to move forward. She had been struggling to choose the moving forward option, but no one was looking to hire someone without references. The supermarket didn’t want her. The convenience store didn’t need any help. The local fast food restaurants didn’t even want her cleaning their toilets. Hard not to take that personally.

Buy links:

Amazon ebook-kindle – https://amzn.to/3lfPR0f
Amazon print book – https://amzn.to/2SJYq7r
Nook Press (Barnes and Noble) ebook- https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homemakers-christmas-jill-piscitello/1137831589?ean=2940162645429
Barnes and Noble print- https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homemakers-christmas-jill-piscitello/1137831589?ean=9781680469851
Smashwords-ebook- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1046865
Kobo- https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/homemakers-christmas
Apple ibooks- https://books.apple.com/us/book/homemakers-christmas/id1535411041?id=1535411041&ign-itsct=books_toolbox&ign-itscg=30200

Author bio:

Jill Piscitello is a teacher with a passion for writing and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, traveling, and going on light hikes. Jill loves to try out new restaurants, but if truth be told, she will order a chicken Caesar salad wrap whenever possible.

Author social media links:

www.jillpiscitello.com
https://www.instagram.com/jillpiscitellobooks/
https://twitter.com/Piscj18
https://www.facebook.com/jillpiscitelloauthor