As a writer in the modern world, I’ve often been told I need to have a ‘social media presence’.
As someone born in the 1970s, I’ve always felt an aversion to social media in terms of not really understanding it and having no interest in engaging with it.
Then, in June 2023, I went on a writing retreat and met another writer, who has inspired me to build a social media presence – for my giant teddy bear, Stanley!
Stanley and I wrote a book together last summer, and I’ve been trying to help him find an agent or a publisher ever since – to no avail.
The most positive response we received was from a very well-known publishing house in the self-help sphere, which read as follows;
“While we enjoyed reading your submission, on this occasion we do not think it is quite right for our list. Because the bulk of book sales now happens online, we require authors to have a substantial online platform (such as an email list or social media) to promote their work in conjunction with our own marketing and PR efforts.”
This was depressing news – but my fellow retreat attendee convinced me I could build an online platform and email list for Stanley, and self-publish the book, once he had enough followers to ensure some pre-orders.
Throughout the rest of the retreat, my subconscious crew took hold of this idea and absolutely ran with it, coming up with countless ideas of all sorts of ways I could help Stanley find followers online.
I built a Trello board of all my plans and, on my return home, started to work on them, one by one.
Within two weeks, Stanley had an email list set up, a landing page on my website, an active Instagram account, was regularly posting on Twitter and Mastodon, had set up a merch story, and had signed with a self-publishing service to hopefully (paws crossed) get his book out by Christmas!
Stanley posts meditation and self-help videos twice per week, puts out a motivational advice blog via his email newsletter once per fortnight, posts cute pictures of himself being amazing online, and has made lots of friends (a lot of whom are other awesome social media plushies, but also some great humans).
We’ve got at least six months’ worth of social media content planned out – and so far, it’s all been tremendous fun.
Stanley’s online platform can’t yet be called ‘substantial’, but it’s growing day by day, and I figure as long as we’re amusing ourselves, and hopefully helping and entertaining a few other people along the way, it’s all to the good.
Somehow, when it was about promoting my amazing, wise, supportive, inspirational bear, approaching the dreaded social media turned out not to be such a problem.
I think Stanley would have something to say about that, since he would want me to find it as easy to promote myself – but one thing at a time.
Anyway, it’s been a fantastic journey so far and I hope it will continue that way for a long time to come.
You can find out more about all Stanley’s activities here.