Category Archives: Articles

Presenting Your Professional Self on Social Media

I wrote this in response to some very bad advice being given to new authors.  I hesitated to share it publicly because it’s from a conversation in a FB writing group and it got me blocked by admin and banned from the group. Apparently, it’s controversial. But, I stand behind my reply and want to share it with other professionals. (That is, anyone who deals with and sells product or services to others.)

The original post stated (paraphrased since I was blocked before I could screenshot it for accuracy): If you’re constantly posting negative things on your personal Facebook profile and it’s chasing away your readers, make a second account and post only positive, uplifting things there. Moreover, this was suggested specifically as a branding tactic so your followers see you as someone who is positive and admirable … even if you’re not.

Notice, this isn’t the same as suggesting that you keep your personal profile separate from your professional one to keep your personal life private. The poster was very specific about “constant negative posts” driving away readers.

DON’T DO THIS!

First, it’s against Facebook’s Terms Agreement. One account per person. If you’re a professional, you really don’t want some petty person report you and have your professional profile shut down.

If you want separate entities, your have the option of Pages and/or Groups. Yes, yes; I know: the algorithms are making harder to get organic views to push you to pay for “boosts” and ads. If you don’t want to use a Facebook Page, encourage people Follow you so they see only your public posts.

More importantly: If an author (or other professional) is constantly making negative posts on a their profile, they definitely should not friend their readers, clients, and fans. I’ll go a step further and say that (in general) clients, fans, etc. should not be on our profile or privy to our private life. They can “follow” and see only public posts, but your private life should stay exactly that: private.

And, what about readers, clients, and fans who are family and IRL friends? Plainly put: They don’t want to hear constant negativity, either. They love you, but ultimately they’re going to walk away from your drama for their own emotional well-being.

There’s a difference between sharing about the rough patch you’re going through or an unpleasant experience and making so many negative posts that other people no longer want to see your content. One is being transparent and relatable. The other is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Suggesting negative people start a second profile so they can pretend to be something else to their readers is NOT branding. It’s lying. If someone is an undesirable person in real life, that’s going to leak out.

We can’t hide our true Self.

If we want to succeed, we need to be accountable for what we post on social media. Even on our personal profile. Even if it’s private. It’s important to understand we can’t say whatever we want, whenever we want. There are consequences to being an unpleasant person and for authors and other professionals, it’s loss of support, sales, and reputation.

Instead of violating Facebook terms and risk getting your account shut down so you can LOOK professional, it’s wiser to actually BE professional. Even on your personal profile. Have class and be considerate of others – Just like you would be in real life.

We don’t just walk into a room full of friends, family, and colleagues and just spout off over and over. We need to actually control (and be accountable for) what comes out of us; whether it’s spoken to people in real life or posted on social media.

Instead of expending valuable time and energy babysitting a second account in an effort to be viewed as a decent person, invest your time in learning how to authentically connect and communicate with your audience (personal and professional).

If what you’re posting on social media so negative it turns people off of you and your product/service, the problem isn’t that you’re sharing personal trials. It’s YOU.

Take a moment to self-evaluate:

  • Are you dwelling in the negative?
  • Are you always in a crisis?
  • Are you attacking, complaining, cutting down, soap-boxing …?
  • Are you not authentic in your support of and/or connection with other people?
  • Are you making promises you don’t keep?

That type of behavior exhausts people emotionally. It mentally drains them. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re going to read your books. If your posts are regularly “taking away” from people, you’re going to lose them. Period.

I’m not saying you can’t be true to yourself on your personal profile. Or that you have to hide parts of yourself. I’m saying you need to take a look at how and what you communicate with others so you aren’t robbing them of their joy and peace of mind.

Before you post, think about what you’re about to put out to your social circle.

  • Is this issue going to matter in 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years? Will you even it remember it in a few month’s time?
  • Can you rephrase it in a more positive light? Or turn it into a positive learning moment?
  • Is it something you could discuss with a friend or therapist instead of blasting on social media?
  • Type it out, leave it for 3 days until you feel better. Then, consider rewriting or not posting.

This applies to political or religious post, as well. I know you feel strongly about it. How can you communicate your view without making others  feel attacked? You won’t necessarily change anyone’s mind, but if you don’t drive them away, you might be able to teach them something or open them to a new point of view.

If you sincerely cannot control yourself due to medical issues, I suggest your get someone to help communicate with your audience while you seek professional help.  I want you to succeed and if that requires taking workshops or talking with a professional to help you, then do so. You deserve a better life and by helping yourself, you are in a better place to help others.

However, if someone thinks they’re fine and don’t want to make the effort to change how they communicate …. Good Luck. A second profile to hide that they’re a negative person is like a Band-Aid on a gangrenous wound.

Readers Ask: “What’s the Best Advice You’d Give Someone?”

This is a tough question to answer, because I’m a very opinionated person and have bushels of advice on a lot of topics lol The one bit of advice I have that applies to  all aspects of life would be this:

☀️ ALWAYS trust your instinct. Call it your higher self, or super conscious, or whatever you need to, but it receives everything you experience, even if you didn’t consciously notice it. It processes the data, evaluates possible situations/outcomes, and sends you signals to let you know what’s in your best interest for survival (physical, emotional, spiritual). Trusting your instinct is actually trusting yourself, which is vital for you to thrive and blossom.

⭐️ If we trust your instincts and something didn’t work out, we have a tendency to start doubting ourselves. Don’t do that. Look around at the people you rely on. One of those people is not your ally. They may be smiling and saying the right things, but they are sabotaging you.

❗️Usually, it’s the person who wants to step up and “fix” your “mistake” or “comfort” you. They don’t want you to succeed because your success equals a loss of some sort to them (ie. they lose their victim, student, fan, advantage, promotion, etc.). Or, your victory puts you “above” them in their mind, which means they’re being diminished. In some cases, it’s as simple as: If your hard work pays off for you, they will be expected to put in an effort to better themselves or their situation. But if you don’t succeed, you’ll stay on the same level as them.

❤️ Mr. Rogers said his mother once told him: “Always look for the helpers.” That beautiful advice keeps us seeing the positive in humanity.

When you follow your instincts and do what you know is right, but “fail” or find yourself blocked,  Auntie Rosa says:

“Quietly look for the assassin and remove yourself from their sphere of influence.”

That advice keeps us being the positive in humanity.

Side Note: Some of us were raised by “assassins” who undermine or override our decisions, block our autonomy, and blame us for “failures”.  We grew up not trusting ourselves because we’re always “wrong”. We were groomed to surround ourselves with other “assassins” who keep us off balance and second-guessing ourselves. If this is you, please get help to learn what a healthy relationship with others (and yourself) looks like. Then prune your social (and family) circle accordingly.

Don’t Skimp on the Meat

Father’s Day is coming up and I want to share something important I learned from my dad:

Don’t skimp on the meat.

I remember the conversation between my parents when my dad said those words. I thought it was a silly argument at the time. My dad was a miner. He worked long, hard hours in a dangerous situation to keep a roof over our head, food on our table, and the bills paid. One of the few things he asked for in return was that my mother not skimp on the meat in his sandwiches. I remember him saying:

“I don’t want to be filled up with bread. I want a lunch I can enjoy and will keep me going until the end of my shift.”

That’s how my dad lives his life. He busts his butt to get a job done. Any job. Every job. He doesn’t slack. He doesn’t skimp on what he gives others. In return he wants lunch meat piled high on his sandwich. He wants dinner to include a decent-size hunk of meat.

As an adult, I look back and see that he takes that philosophy into other aspects of his life as well. He doesn’t skimp on meat of his life, so to speak. He enjoys his recreational time. He makes sure there’s something to enjoy on his vacation, during his family time, and in his home. He doesn’t skimp, but he’s smart about it. He doesn’t go overboard or put himself in debt to enjoy life. He simply refuses to skimp. Those are things  I equate to being wealthy – in all aspects of life.

I picked up that habit to a certain degree. I like my sandwiches with a lot of meat and when I make sandwiches for other people I don’t skimp on the meat. But unlike my dad, I have not made that philosophy a concrete part of the other aspects of my life. Particularly now that I have children. I skimp on my “Me Time”. I skimp on time with the kids.

I’m a single parent trying to earn an income as a writer so I can stay home to raise them. That’s a big responsibility I take seriously and I bust my butt every day working towards that goal. It’s easy to skimp on the meat in this situation. And that’s not fair to myself or my children.

Are there areas of your life where you been skimping on the meat? They are all important, otherwise what’s the point of working so dang hard? How do we get back on track so that we can enjoy those aspects?

… First, I’m going to make a sandwich. A big one with lots of meat. Then, I’m going to plop down on the sofa and spend time with my kids. I’ll tackle the rest one thing a time <3

Pushing Boundaries With Fantasy

Fantasy writers often ask:

“How far outside the box can I go?”

No box in the ‘Verse can contain fantasy. I love that fantasy can’t be contained! It has so many wonderful and exciting sub-genres.

BUT – you must have rules to define the reality you are creating and you must stick to them. If you break any of the laws of reality you established, you need to have a darn good explanation. Then, you need to explain it to the reader in a way that makes them accept it as logic. Otherwise, you create a disbelief with the readers. This means they won’t trust you or your story any more.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!

Beta Reader Checklist for Useful Feedback

A while back, I wrote about How I Found My Beta Team for Eyes of the Hunter and promised to share the guidelines I provide my beta readers with to help them give me useful feedback. This is that post 🙂

When looking for beta readers, I target honest and dependable people who enjoy the manuscript’s genre. I also make sure they are familiar with both good writing techniques and important elements to the craft.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, I need to know exactly what I want from my beta readers. Then, I make sure that they know by providing them with a clear list.

 

 

Below is the basic letter I give my beta readers, which I tailor per project and person. You can also download the template for the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf] for future reference.


Dear Beta Reader;

Thank you for being part of my Beta Team! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help me make improvements to [Book Title]. Please, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues; an editor is helping with those. The feedback I’m concerned about centers on continuity, character development, dialogue, flow, and completeness:

  • Is the story interesting?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Any plot holes?
  • Does the story flow?
  • Is the continuity okay?
  • Did I miss any important information or opportunities?
  • Do you get a solid feel for the setting and people?
  • Do the characters unfold well?
  • Do any of the characters need more development?
  • Is the pacing okay? Does it lag anywhere?
  • Is anything clunky or awkward?
  • Are there problem areas that need more attention?
  • What worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
  • … And, of course, anything else you feel I should know.

 

Specific concerns I have for this book are:

  • [Specific feedback needed]

 

Please, be as specific as possible with your answers. Your honest comments will go a long way in helping this story be a success. I need your notes by [date]. I look forward to reading them and thank you, again.

Sincerely,
Rosa

Download the Beta Reader Checklist [pdf]


Need more information about what a beta reader does? Check out Duties of a Beta Reader, which includes a handy pdf to download.