OK, I'll admit it, I'm a social media addict... I'm all the major platforms (Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+), and I especially love Facebook - both for personal and business reasons. I love that I have old friends I can chat away to who now live in Japan, France or 2 streets away and how I can sell my products and services not only at home, but to America and Australia too - effortlessly!
And if it wasn't for social media, I probably wouldn't be a published author right now...
I run Peachey Days - my own coaching and HR consultancy, as well as being a Director of Damsels in Success (a personal development community for women). And one of MY major social media 'moments' came when I realised that people around me were posting about doing business challenges like recording a video a day, for a whole month. "An impressive thing to do" I thought, "but not for me... So what WOULD challenge and stretch YOU then?" continued this thread of thought and there it was - clear and simple: "you are a writer, so write!"
Now at that point I was someone who always knew she was a writer, but didn't actually write! Yet within minutes, I had a concept, I had a title and decided that since February was fast approaching, I would challenge myself to write a 'Love Letter to Life', every day of that Valentine month and post them on a blog - www.peacheyletters.co.uk.
Like so many flashes of inspiration it could have easily fallen along the wayside of life - so many other plans, creations and schemes born in my brain never saw the light of day. But I know that when moments like this come, it is most definitely time to act...
At the time I knew nothing about the ins and outs of blogging, so got a technical whizz to set a blog up for me. Then I wrote my first 'Love Letter'. It was addressed to my dear dad, who left this world over 30 years ago. I loved writing it, but then got cold feet at the thought that other people would get to read my personal and emotional stuff.
The thing with social media is, that it doesn't have to be public, there are closed forums and private areas, where you can safely share your stuff with people you know and trust (on Facebook and Linked-in). So I posted the link to my first letter in the Damsels in Success private Member's Forum. It was midnight and I went to bed cringing - what had I done - the cat was now out of the bag?!?
Next morning I came to slowly and when I switched on my computer, saw that I had masses of notifications on Facebook. In fact I had 30 comments from people who had read my 'Love Letter' to my dad - they loved it, it had made many cry and it had touched their hearts. And a couple of them said 'this would make a great book'...
A month later I had written 29 Love Letters, one every day for the month of February, - to the people and phenomena who had helped to shape my heart. I wrote to people living and departed, to food, photos and the whole panoply of my life...
My month long challenge was stirring, scary, enervating and emotional. I shared my stuff, exorcised my demons and saw love in every aspect of my life - in every experience - be it good or bad, and in every person who has walked this path of life with me.
Next I wondered how to go about getting my letters published... At the time I knew just one publisher and one day when I was browsing Twitter I responded to one of her tweets: 'How do you turn a blog into a book'? I asked, 'I don't know' she replied 'but let's talk about it'. So talk we did and a year later my first book 'Peachey Letters - Love Letters to Life' was published by Panoma Press.
Being a published author is an amazing experience and a dream come true. I have learnt the ropes of writing, publishing and marketing. So now I am passionate about helping other people to achieve their dream of becoming a published author too. I coach people in how to blog / write and run a 'Blog to Book' Programme, which gives delegates the opportunity to produce and market test a manuscript as well choose from a range of publishing options.
As a result my book and I have been featured in local and national press, including Psychologies and The Lady and I regularly appear on the BBC. I still have to pinch myself, regularly, but without the power and reach of social media, my beautiful book probably never would have happened. I'm so glad it did though...
Sandra Peachey is a Writer and Business Coach with her business Peachey Days. Her book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ published by Panoma Press, is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle.
Her websites are:
www.peacheydays.co.uk; www.peacheyletters.co.uk; www.blogtobookprog.co.uk; www.damselsinsuccess.co.uk/burtonontrent
Her social media contacts are:
Facebook: sandra.peachey; PeacheyDays; PeacheyLettersAcademy
Twitter: sandiepeachey; peacheyletters
Linked-In: Sandra Peachey