I went book shopping yesterday, which isn’t uncommon at all, I’m a bookworm, devouring words wherever I can find them.
In place of choice at the bookstore was a book called Did I Mention I Love You, but to be honest, I didn’t even look twice. So what am I doing writing about it? Well, I was doing some research for a potential job opportunity, and what do I see? An article about Estelle Maskame, the author of the aforementioned book!
Which isn’t weird or anything, I guess, but she is 17 for Christ’s sake!
Now, I know that at 17, you are practically an adult, or at least, I was. I had my Baccalauréat/ A levels/ High School diploma/ whatever you want to call it with a focus on Economics and Mathematics in my pocket and a flight to New Zealand booked. I was about to start my adult life, and I felt very, very grown up.
I am sure Estelle Maskame feels the same way, after all, she’s a published author. But seriously? Maybe my “older” self is just bitter, but what the F happened to the world for 17 years old to be writing books and publishers to release them into the world?
It seems, Social Media happened. Because that is what this particular author credits for her success: Twitter!
Firstly, I have to admit it makes me feel very old to think that anyone, anywhere, would actually GET Twitter. I use it, sporadically, I also had to use it at work, quite a lot, and believe me when I say, I never enjoyed it.
Twitter is everything that is wrong in this world (I exaggerate not). I’ve never understood or seen the point of Twitter. But I guess I am doing it wrong (I apologies to my old boss), because it apparently gets you a publishing contract. Go figure.
I spent all night trying to figure out how a platform that doesn’t let you use more than 140 characters, which feeds are so fast you never get the chance to actually see or read anything (unless you spend every waking moment on it, and even then, by the time you’ve checked something out there are 20 000 new things that were happening when you weren’t looking) and on which nobody seems to ever say anything very interesting (how can they? They only have 140 CHARACTERS!) can lead to anything more than some procrastination or a headache.
This is hilarious, of course, because I also, yesterday, got an email asking me if I would be interested in “running some Twitter accounts” for a couple of companies. I guess if they read this they won’t give me the job, but oh well. I probably wouldn’t do the best job anyway. They should really get some teenagers, THEY get it. I don’t.
I am not completely useless though. I understand social media. I get Facebook, I use to get Myspace (yes, I’m that old), LinkedIn is brilliant… But Twitter? The idea that some kids are actively enjoying the platform and seem to be using it on a day to day basis, even (and I fantasise here) wait impatiently to go home so they can log in and tweet is beyond me. Mind you, they probably don’t wait til they get home. They probably tweet all day from their iPhones FOR FUN! Ha.
But let’s go back to Estelle Maskame. She got readers from Twitter, and directed them to Wattpad where her stories were. Fair enough. Well, I have no idea how she did it, but I will pretend I believe it wasn’t voodoo or witchcraft and move on.
From 4 millions hit on Wattpad, she got a publishing deal. And that is another WTF moment for you right there (I swear a lot, it’s part of my charm). If 4 millions people (hits and people are not the same, yes, yes, I know, but still, bear with me); if potentially 4 millions people had ALREADY read her story, why would ANYONE pay to get it on paper? Granted, I have multiple editions of a lot of books, and I re-read some books almost annually, but I think I can probably be safe in saying that Did I Mention I Love You isn’t Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter. How many people who haven’t already read it will be genially interested?
Because she used Social Media, and, whether I like it or not, EVERYONE is active on some kind of platform nowadays, she probably already reached a lot, if not all of her potential target audience.
Which is to say, God, I AM old! Teens (so not me) just don’t care they read something already. If it isn’t on their school booklist, they’re ready to spend the cash and pick up a hard copy of whatever is “trending” at the moment, provided the cover is pink and there are some hearts somewhere in the design… So Estelle scores, at least if you believe everything said on her Twitter. Teens CANNOT wait to get their hands on her books.
Why, I don’t fucking know. But somewhere, someone is doing something right. And I have a feeling that someone is Estelle Maskame.