Greetings from the girl who officially has had one two three pub dates.
This week, there has been a resurgence of articles about authors lauding their friends and reviewers not being critical enough because of connections via social media. Of course, writers everywhere struggled with this after reading — we all have war stories that speak of the contrary. Many saw the tweet from an author who promised she would write a scathing review of another's book. There's not a person I know that can't point to their scraped knees and bruised egos, disillusionments and perceived betrayals. But as my friend J. said today, and I agreed, there are just as many stories of amazing and wonderful things happening because of our connections to each other. Community is a good thing. Support is invaluable. Things seem to balance out eventually.
Everything has its season.
While no one knows where this new direction in publishing will lead us, here is what we do know after a few years of analyzing and dissecting: 1. You're required to do a job that you haven't been trained for—promotion. 2. It requires a completely different skill set than writing a book. 3. If you master the skill set or are born with it, you are rewarded in many ways. 4. Though you have to do it, it may not come easy. 5. If you're not careful, it can make you feel like you'll never succeed in this environment.
Why? Part of the answer might lie in the secret sauce. What is in the secret sauce? Just ask an ENFJ.
I'm talking about the Myers—Briggs Scores as they relate to writers in social media.
I recently took the test (I'm on the E-I border, and am not the lauded ENFJ) and did some quick research. Here's what I found: ENFJ's are good at everything: FB, Twitter, etc. ESFPs are better at Facebook than Twitter. And then, there is my beloved LinkedIn (everyone knows why they're there — I like the straightforward approach to engagement). It's affirming to be able to quantify this on some level. If spinning PR pirouettes across the online tightrope doesn't come naturally and even makes you cringe at times, it shouldn't make you suspect or mean you're inept. You just might be better suited for another forum.
Does the current environment reward writers with a specific personality type? Is this a passing trend? Will there be a revolt and will the ISTJs inherit the earth? Will there come a day when you can once more sink into the quiet of your work, delighting in the muse and in the process of creation and still hope to be read?
We all know that the support of community and connection feels good, pure and simple. Reaching out to readers and enjoying feedback is inarguably helpful. But I wonder — five years ago, no one would have believed that authors would be working to create tweets of 140 words or less. What might a decade hold? Two decades? One day, scientists predict, telepathic communication will be our main gateway. Then the quiet ones, the ISTJs will be in demand because they appear to be masters of the pure pursuit of craft. They do their work under the radar, allow others to concentrate, and perhaps they've developed super focusing powers in the absence of noise.
The trick, I think, is to figure out where your personality strengths are and then use those in aptly matched forums. If you're not an "E", but can hire an "E" to supplement your efforts, do so. That way, you get to do what you really love, what you're good at, and perfect your own secret sauce.