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I’m Kate MacNicol and I write Scottish Time Travels set in the early 16th century. I’m weirdly excited to be here. Weirdly excited because a year ago, I was afraid of social media. I was busy and simply wanted no part of it.  I kept reading blogs by writers and social media experts waiting for someone, anyone to say, “Hey, it’s all a mistake! You don’t have to do this social media thing, just write your books.” The message never came. Social media for authors is not going away. Check out author Richard Mabry’s informal poll of agents and editors on the topic of social media. http://rmabry.blogspot.com/2011/07/will-my-social-media-presence-help-my.html

I subscribe to Kristen Lamb’s blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/  and I’m a huge fan of her humor and her unique way of delivering great content. Kristen is a social media expert who genuinely wants to help writers. During the first few months of reading her blog I’d visualize her as a wee fire-ball of energy in a sparkly onesie who would come at me like one of those crazy tumblers on America’s Got Talent if I didn’t get going with this social media thing. That was a good thing. I needed a fire-ball.

But my fear kicked in, big time. What did I know about marketing, branding, starting a blog and Twitter? Writers are supposed to work on manuscripts not tweet. It’s all about a writing a great book. Right?

You’re right if you think it’s all about a great book but you’re wrong if you think you can write a great book and throngs of people will find and flock to it. There are too many choices out there, especially with the explosion of people turning to self-publishing and the e-readers. Social media experts, agents and editors are trying to tell us that social media can increase the chances of readers finding your book and buying it.

I continued following the media experts but I moaned about how the heck I would find the time. When I “found” time by dumping my addiction to The Nancy Grace Show and SoapNet I still wasn’t done torturing myself. I started focusing on my techno-challenges which sadly are many.

Then came all the yada, yada, yada that bubbles up when I’m trying to protect myself from walking over the line of my comfort zone to what feels like free-fall. We always have a million reasons for not going outside our comfort zones even when we know in our hearts it’s the right thing to do.

I had to weigh what I wanted, the best possible chance for my books to make it on an already crowded market against not changing a thing and sending my book out there and hoping for the best. To quote Dr. Phil: “this is where the rubber meets the road.” I could either learn social media which puts me in control or continue hoping and we all know hoping is…well… hoping.

 It feels so good when we say yes, when we commit, set goals and find ourselves moving outside the feelings that are holding us back. There’s a level of confidence that comes with knowing we said yes to something that was difficult for us and later kicked it’s sorry butt double-time.

New YorkTimes Bestseller Bob Mayer often discusses comfort zones on his blog http://www.writeitforward.com/ and if you need extra help finding the courage to keep moving forward he’s also written an excellent book on conquering the fears that hold us back in Who Dares Wins.

Have you accomplished something that was way outside your comfort zone and now you feel great about it? Please share! Are you struggling with something that you know in your heart would benefit you but you just can’t seem to make the change? Share that too. It helps to talk it out. Let’s kick our comfort zones to the curb and move on to better things. Just say YES!

P.S. if you’re more of a “hell yeah” kind of girl or guy make sure you check out one of my favorite blogs to find inspiration http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/the-hell-yeah-roundup-your-turn/