The gift of changing your mind

I’m supposed to be cooking dinner, but Elfwyn (I finally came up with her screen name!) is asleep, and Scout is out back with Grandma. So I’m granting myself twelve minutes to crank out this post that I’ve been mulling over.

In the past couple of weeks, my respect for two different authors has grown enormously because of their willingness to publicly admit that they made a mistake. Not only that, they both took steps to correct what they had said wrong.

Our world today seems to view any change of opinion as weak, wishy-washy, spineless. But the thing is, no one on this earth is perfect. Not even super awesome authors. Sometimes we say dumb things, do dumb things, even believe dumb things. And when these dumb things are pointed out to us, our first instinct is to defend ourselves. After all, nobody likes to be called out, especially not in a space as public as social media.

It takes incredible strength to bite down on our pride and admit that we were wrong. Or even that we might be wrong. It takes self control to stop talking long enough to listen to another who has a different perspective than us. It takes greatness of heart to try to view the world through another’s eyes.

But the effort is worth it. When people seek to truly understand each other, everyone comes out of it changed, even if they agree to disagree in the end.

I’m going to leave you with this great paragraph from Neil Gaiman, because the man knows his way around words:

“What I tend to see happening more and more is people retreating into their own corners. People seem scared to get things wrong or be shouted at so they form villages in which they agree with every other member, and maybe they go out and shout at the people in the next village for fun, but there’s no interchange of ideas going on. I think we have to encourage the idea that you’re allowed to think things. I have thought a great many stupid things over the years, and I can tell you that there’s not one stupid thing that I ever thought where I changed my mind because someone shouted at me or threatened to kill me. On the other hand, having great discussions with good friends, possibly over a drink, has definitely changed my mind and made me try to do better. You’re allowed to do better, but we have to let people do better.” (source)

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The slow descent into a Twitter addiction

I can’t believe I just opened a Twitter account. This is so dumb.

What are you even supposed to say in 140 characters? Maybe–nope, how about–still too long–GAH!

Whatever. I don’t have anything witty to say anyway. I’ll just link to my blog.

What’s with all the cat pictures?

OK, OK, I’ll tweet, but I’m NOT using hashtags. I don’t even get how those work.

All these other writers are using the #amwriting hashtag…I guess that one’s harmless enough. I’ll try it.

HOLY CRAP, like ten people just followed me! That, like, tripled my followers!

…aaand most of them are spam bots.

Why do people even like looking at Twitter? All I see are the same self-promoting tweets sent out about five times a day.

Wait, you can mute people who don’t do anything but scream “BUY MY BOOK”?

Heyyyy… That’s better. Some of these people are actually kinda fun to follow.

Wait–one of my favorite authors just followed me back! Eee! Must–control–fangirling…

Favorite author just REPLIED TO MY TWEET! Stay calm… Don’t blow it… Say something cool… In less than 140 characters… Is it OK to abbreviate when tweeting an author? Is she going to judge me? How else do you get under 140 characters? There’s not enough room to reply to her comment AND tell her how many times I’ve reread her books. Should I tweet her twice? Is that annoying?

Dude. I’m totally Twitter buddies with a super awesome author.

Actually, there are a lot of awesome authors on here. Follow… Follow… Follow…

And agents! Look at all the agents!

And #MSWL! Whaaaat?! Coolest thing EVER!

NETWORKING! WRITING COMMUNITY! TRIBES! CAT PICTURES! (OK, no, I still don’t get the cat pictures.) TWITTER FOREVER!

Internet Marketing

Do you know how easy it is to make an author happy?

“Like” a blog post, a Facebook post, a tweet.

Want to really send some joy their way?

Comment! Reblog! Retweet! Share!

I have been amazed at how easy internet marketing can be with willing participants. With a few shares, a link can reach hundreds of people. Just after I started my Facebook page and invited all of my friends to like it, my cousin invited all of her friends to like it. My number of likes doubled. (It might’ve had something to do with the fact that she threatened to hunt down any of her friends that didn’t like my page, but that’s beside the point.)

I’ve made an effort lately to be more vocal on social media about what I like–reviewing on Goodreads, sharing blog posts, posting links on Facebook, etc. I try to share plenty of info for authors I like or friends working toward a goal.

We live in a world where word-of-mouth marketing has turned into word-of-social-media marketing. Often, all it takes is the click of a button to spread word to a few hundred more people. So why not? Go take a few clicks and do some marketing for your friends!

Social Who?

When I was fifteen, a family friend told me I spoke like a thirty-year-old woman. I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment—at least, that’s what she told me. But anyway, by her reckoning, I would now be closing in on forty, which means it’s okay that I’m totally clueless about social media, right?

As it turns out, authors aren’t allowed to be clueless about social media. And thus, my Twitter account. My very, very blank Twitter account. So here’s my plea for help: if you have a Twitter account, please let me know so I can follow you and figure out what to do with my 140 characters! If you’re interesting in following what will eventually be updates on my trilogy’s progress, my Twitter ID is @ehbates.

Ready set help me out, folks! And thanks in advance!