Am I a good social media user, or a creepy stalker?

I’m a little weirded out. See, there’s this guy. A writer. A good writer. And he’s about six steps ahead of me at all times. I feel like I’m accidentally following him wherever he goes. I wouldn’t blame him for worrying he’d picked up a stalker in me.

(Do you think I’m stalking you Hunter?)

It all started when I was a lonely blogger, at a loss as to how to find like-minded individuals in the great-big-blogosphere. I wandered in the void until I found wordpress’ topic search. Of course I typed ‘paranormal’ into the little box. (And chickens into another, and retro into another, and home-school into another … I have an eclectic blogroll.)

But back to Hunter.

A writer, Hunter Shea, came up when I searched paranormal, so I went to his page. Hmmm. Interesting. Oh look, he does some paranormal investigating too. Except he’s actually completed a couple. Cool, a man with experience. I subscribed. I noticed he had a Facebook button in his sidebar – and because I was just starting my own Facebook pages – I clicked that too.

In truth, I didn’t pay much extra attention to him, until a familiar-sounding snippet jumped out at me from his ‘about’ page: “I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night StalkerThe Twilight Zone and In Search Of. Luckily, I’ve managed to make a love of all things ghostly and beastly into a career.” – Hunter Shea.

If you’ve read my Dark Touchstones page, you might remember seeing this: ‘As a child, I chose to immerse myself in an In Search Of ~ Ripley’s Believe It Or Not ~ Twilight Zone kind of world. I read Nancy Drew“true” supernatural stories, and any horror novel I could sneak into the house.” – Renae Rude.

Okay, I thought. It shouldn’t surprise me that two horror writers of an age had an interest in the same kind of things when they were kids. No biggie. But I’m going to keep a closer eye on this dude. A few weeks later, he mentioned that he listens to music by Midnight Syndicate when he’s writing. Whoa! I thought I was the only one clever enough to do that. I broke my own rule, about not posting links to my blog into the comment section of other people’s blogs, because I just had to show Dark Touchstones to this guy – we had so much in common. There I’ve made contact with another horror writer. Mission complete.

English: Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Com...

“Leonard Nimoy really messed us up.” – Hunter Shea

Another few days passed. Then Hunter posted that Midnight Syndicate had given him a shout-out at their webpage. (Follow that link. Note that he’s the first author on the list. Now, weeks later, it appears to be a trend.) Wow, I thought. That’s so cool. Good exposure. … if I were a bit further along this road, that could have been me. Sigh. (Didyasee that little bit of envy creeping in? Yeah. It gets worse.)

Of course he continued to promote his new book on his social media sites. Curiosity made me look into his method of publication. Samhain Publishing, huh? ‘Wonder if they are the kind of market I’ll be interested in. Clickity-click. They have Ramsey Campbell?!? Oh yeah I’m interested. I should probably read this Hunter guy’s book … someday.

A while later, on Facebook, he offered to name a character, in his next novel, after anyone who bought his e-book, or pre-ordered his paperback, on that particular day. That’s a little weird, I thought. When I was driving home today I was thinking I should buy his book next Friday. I guess I won’t wait until payday, because – hey – who doesn’t want to be a character in a novel?

(Smart Hunter. Very smart. How many books did you sell that day?)

So I ordered Forest of Shadows. I started reading it – even though I was already half-way through a couple other books – just to get a taste. I thought, This is good. Dammit. Wait!  … I mean, cool, right? … This should be inspiring … if he could do it, so can I. Right? … Oh shit, I’m now officially cowed*. Why did I follow this guy in the first place?

I flipped my e-reader to – Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer by Kristen Lamb; I needed my social media mentor to sooth me. Sure enough, lesson seventeen – with it’s clear discussion of why we build platforms – snapped me out of my useless envy. (As did my vague memory of Kristen assuring me, somewhere else in her book, that writers aren’t in competition with each other. People can, and do, buy books from lots of different authors.)

Renewed, I decided to spend the evening tackling twitter in a more organized fashion. I began by popping into each blog I read, to look for a twitter handle. I followed everyone I could find. Then I turned my attention to some hashtag groups, where I cherry-picked folks that seemed interesting. Lists were made. Tweets were sent. I followed Kristen’s advice (be nice, promote others) as best I could.

About half-way through this process, something strange started to happen. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, you might not know that when you go to someone’s profile to consider following him/her, Twitter shows you who (amongst the people you follow) already follows the person you are considering.  Guess whose name showed up on most every page I visited?

Hunter Shea had already been there, done that. Damn he’s good.

I’m on the right track, I thought. Cool.


*I wasn’t sure ‘cowed’ was the exact word I wanted, so – as I am wont to do – I went to I decided to stick to my first word choice, but the list of synonyms there was awesome.

 WrMoProg check-in: 0 + 18 = 18/200


12 Comments on “Am I a good social media user, or a creepy stalker?”

  1. Hunter Shea says:

    See, proof positive that great minds think alike! Seriously, a lot of times I feel like I’m stumbling in the dark, throwing darts on a board I can’t see. Sometimes I hit the mark, other times the wall, ceiling or floor (and once, my cat…we call her ‘Limpy’ now). I’m always happy to help share my war stories! Let’s hit the best seller list together.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyable, dear friend. I love it.

  3. eyeLaugh says:

    I know what you mean. It’s rather annoying. But all you have to do is be confident in your work, and truly know that you are the better artist – I MEAN, writer 🙂

    • I’ll settle for be as-good-as. I’m not particularly competitive. (My friends would laugh at the understatement of that – I don’t even play games unless they are cooperative games.) Sometimes I wonder if my bunnies & rainbows attitude is gonna be a disadvantage in the publishing world.

  4. I guess that explains how you found me, too!

    And how funny…I had a contest on my FB page where I’d choose at random anybody who posted a review of my novel on Amazon, and name a character after them in my next book. I guess writers all think alike, lol.

    • Now I’m trying to remember exactly how I did find you … yeah, probably the paranormal search. I don’t think I’ve got your FB … off to check. (Don’t want to miss out on any more chance’s to have my name in a novel.)

      That would be a weird hobby, wouldn’t it? Persuading writers to slip your name into their work, then collecting the books. Hmmm. We’ll just see how that turns out.

      K. Back from looking at your social network tabs. Got your Twitter, no problem. Is your FB open? It looks more like a personal site. I could make a friend request from my personal page, but I can’t ‘like’ it from my writer page. Or I could be doing something wrong. There has been a hell of a learning curve as I try to figure out all these social media doo-hickies.

  5. Anonymous says:

    True confession time, I’ve got a few authors/writers/fellow bloggers that I stalk regularly. I do it for the inspiration that I need, the need to see how other folks are doing things online – things that I’m doing to – except that they are a few steps or a few years ahead of me – and because I can. And, because it’s “Social Media and it’s expected!” How cool is that?

    • That last little bit, “how cool is that,” made me stop and think. It’s incredibly cool – and I don’t just mean it’s cool we have a common habit. Social media is something of a miracle, isn’t it? When I was a young, midwestern, horror-fan, writer – I felt so alone in the world. I am repeatedly surprised (and pleased) to receive evidence that I’m far from alone … that, in fact, I have a tribe. I envy the young ones coming up behind. For those with an … uncommon personality, the world is a better place.

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