Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spending Time in the Social Media Basement by Johnnie Alexander

How do you describe yourself to best fit your online presence and, in turn, help you in marketing your work? Author Johnnie Alexander recently received some great advice and she's sharing it with us. -- Sandy

Johnnie: “I feel like I’m climbing out of a basement,” I said to my daughter, Bethany Jett, who is also a writer. “Soon I’ll be on the first floor, and then I can build.”

My imaginary first floor is more commonly known as my social media platform. It’s made of the usual planks: Facebook, Twitter, a website and blog, Pinterest, Goodreads, and so on. The widest is Facebook where I connect daily with friends and followers on my personal profile and author page. The widths of the others vary, and that’s okay. At least they exist.

You may be wondering why I’m in the basement if I already have a planked floor.

Good question.

I’m in the basement, climbing upward step by step, because several of the planks have been neglected in the past few months. My focus, which isn’t marketing-centric at the best of times, has been on completing a novel, going through the edits, writing a new proposal, and attending a writers conference. When I wasn’t involved in these writerly activities, I was catching up on what was neglected while I completed that novel, went through the edits, etc.

Confession: After writing the novel, I also watched TV, read a few books, succumbed to allergies, and napped. Both my body and my brain needed the rest.

A couple of things happened to snap me from the funk.

First, I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference where I strategized with my publisher’s marketing team and received insights during my appointments with the publicity pros who were there.

Second, I followed Melyssa Griffin’s advice for updating a Pinterest profile. After a very long brainstorming session with my daughter, I finally clarified my online presence—who I am and what I do.

If you write fiction, you know what a difficult task this can be. Often we don’t have a specific topic to blog about and promote. (Though, as my daughter can attest, even nonfiction writers can find it a challenge to incorporate all their interests under one umbrella.)

Melyssa’s first tip: find two keywords or phrases that identify you. Melyssa’s is Entrepreneur and Blogging Tips. I chose Book Buff and Road Tripper.

Melyssa’s second tip: use keywords to write a short bio and call to action. (Click on these links to see Melyssa’s Pinterest bio and what I came up with for mine.)

Invigorated with a renewed energy and fresh ideas, I’m working behind the scenes (in the basement) to update all my planks with my Pinterest bio as a basis. I’m also creating a workable plan that builds up the most appropriate planks while leaving me time for imagining and writing new stories.

I have a list of items to accomplish, but one by one they’re getting done. My head should be poking out of the basement door before too long.

And though the planks will still be different widths, I’m confident the floor will be strong. 

What two keywords or phrases best describe your online presence?



Johnnie Alexander imagines stories while raccoons and foxes occasionally pass by her window. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, was a CBA bestseller and has been translated into Dutch and Norwegian. Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series #1), her first contemporary romance, was a Library Journal Pick of the Month. Recent releases include The Healing Promise (Courageous Bride Collection) and When Love Arrives (Misty Willow Series #2).

Johnnie is marketing director for the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference and president of the American Christian Fiction Writers Memphis chapter. She lives near Memphis with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees those pesky raccoons whenever he gets the chance.

Join Johnnie at to experience the charm of country living, the love of random travel, and the joy of treasured memories.

When Love Arrives Buy Links: Imbedded Hyperlinks

Amazon Author Page 


  1. Hello, everyone! Thanks to Sandy and the Seriously Write team for having me here today. I'm at Prince Edward Island this week and going to Green Gables today.

    But I'll be popping in to say hi so please be sure to share your two keywords or phrases. Or just say hello!

    1. Glad to have you, Johnnie! Have fun on your visit to PEI! See, your Road Tripper phrase fits! :)

      Loved your advice: "find two keywords or phrases that identify you." I'm racking my brain, but all the "branding" and "who is your audience?" tends to give me a headache. I know it's a good thing in the end, though. :) I finally (after years) came up with a tagline for my writing: Love and Faith in Fiction. So maybe my phrases could be Fiction Lover and Faith Writer? IDK, I'll work on it some more.

    2. I love both those phrases, Sandra! If it wasn't for my daughter's help, I'd probably still have a headache from thinking about it, too.

  2. Christian fiction :)

    Because that's what I read, write, review, and edit.

    As an author, I say I write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist (meaning that I'm from New Zealand, because we call ourselves Kiwis).

    As a freelance editor, I say I'm helping Christian writers achieve their publishing goals.

    As a reviewer, I'm reviewing what's new in Christian fiction.

    So different things, but all Christian. And all fiction.

    1. Hi, Iola. Perhaps a longer phrase would work for you: Christian Fiction Writer & Reviewer. The keywords are still there. You could add "Reader," too though that's implied.

      As a fan of the LOTR movies, I'm always thrilled to "meet" someone from New Zealand. That's my dream vacation destination.

  3. Yikes! Slacker came to mind. I'm not claiming that one. How about Book Writer and Westie Lover. I definitely reserve the right to rethink. LOL

    1. Love your phrases, Terri! I immediately know something about you. Plus "Westie Lover" provides something beyond books and writing to talk about. My nephew and his wife have a westie, and though I've never owned one, I love dogs. So we have that connection. I think that's the whole idea--to provide our followers and readers something in common with us. Great job!


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