I have a secret to finally share with everyone.
This has probably been one fo the hardest things to not share with everyone.Only a handful of people knew about the secret I was walking around with. For the past 16 months, I kept this to myself and my close family and friends. I admit, there were so many times where I had to bite my tongue because I would ALMOST let this secret slip out at conferences, meet ups, and social events.
I watched as others were celebrating similar accomplishments over the past few months. I congratulated them and was very happy for them. Yet, I kept telling myself – my time will come – I just have to be patient.
Now, my time has arrived. And I am able to FINALLY share with the world what I have been working on.
As Britney says – OOPS! I did it again!
Yep. I pulled another Beyonce move here. I did it the first time I launched my self-published book on Amazon, and I am doing it again.
I am extremely proud to announce my very first SOLO social media textbook will be published by Sage and will be available in August 2018!
I am following the footsteps again like my Mom (the original Dr. Freberg). This will be my third book. My first was self-published back in 2016, which actually really started everything for me. My second book this year with Emily Kinsky and Amber Hutchins was with TopHat on digital writing.
This third book (titled Social Media for Strategic Communication: Creative Strategies and Research-Based Applications) is primarily focused on bridging the art and science of social media and strategic communication. This is the book I felt needed to be written not just for strategic communication classes, but it could be used across disciplines.
How I decided to write a textbook
I used to think my dissertation (also known as Bruce Lee) was intense. I thought – wow! This is over 300 pages. That’s going to be the LONGEST piece of work I’ll ever right. Oh, young grasshopper! Little did you know you were going to write an entire BOOK by yourself along with teaching responsibilities, research projects, and conference presentations.
The thought of writing textbooks never really came up for me until a few years ago. I grew up seeing my Mom write her textbooks and I knew the process. Lots of time writing, research, and edits (and photo researching – that was fun to see!). I knew it was going to be a lot of work. In my mind, I thought – nah! That’s not really for me.
Until I started teaching social media and realized how there was not a book out there that really was the complete package. I felt at times I was like Goldilocks. This book was too theory based. This one just focuses on the practitioner side of things. This one is out dated and irrelevant. As each year went on, the more frustrated I got. That frustration led to conversations I had with my family and friends. Until – my parents said over the dinner table over the holidays – said something that stuck with me. They said:
Karen, you know what you need to do. You need to write the book.
I sat back and realized – yep! They were right. This was a few years ago. I felt it was necessary though to get my foot into the marketplace, and that’s where my first book came around. I was NOT at all expecting this to be a best seller or make a ton of money. I wanted to share a resource with others that may be helpful when teaching social media. Little did I know a $10 book would have opened up the opportunities I have today.
I submitted my proposal for my book to Sage in October 2016 (just as I was heading on a plane to go to a conference) and found out December 2016 my proposal got accepted. I was excited – and then I realized – okay! I have to write the book! I had 12 months to get it on.
2017 for me was not only a busy year for me as far as travel, teaching, and research, but for my book as well. I had to write essentially a chapter a month – so the time I found doing this was weekends, early morning before my half-marathon training and when I was on the go. I wrote on planes. I wrote in cars. I wrote all various locations around the world from the US to overseas in France and England. Any chance I got, I spent time writing and working on my book. Coffee was already a food group, but it became an essential part of my writing and brainstorming routine!
Looking at the pre-order page is really surreal. When my editor shared it with me, I did get a little teary eyed. All of the hours spent writing this book has finally created an actual book that will be published. I know seeing the physical book printed out will be truly exciting!
How to announce it? That was the question.There was only one choice and that was to share the news with a dear friend: Deirdre Breakenridge. Deirdre has not only been a great friend, but supporter of my work and her review of my self-published book actually helped me in many ways with this book. Deirdre has a great podcast called Women Worldwide, and wanted to interview me.
Deirdre is actually featured in my book (more on that below), and she asked me if we could talk about the book. I said not only yes – but it would be an exclusive and would be the first time the world would hear about my book.
The rest is history and here we are!
One thing people sometimes forget when they are writing a book. There’s the book (that’s important for sure!), but there are the additional resources. Professors and professionals want to have certain resources to make their lives easier teaching and working. In public relations, I know this was stressed heavily when we were preparing campaigns and media kits for clients.
The same approach is key, especially for social media classes. You want to make the lives of the professors as EASY AS POSSIBLE when teaching this class. They may be thrown into the mix and expected to teach social media, and that’s challenging if you have not done it before. That’s why I believe this to truly be a must have for social media books. If you do not invest in creating these resources for others, you are going to lose a ton of people and this is something they are desperately wanting.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect from this book.
- Features. Each chapter doesn’t begin with a case study, but a story from a leading professional in the industry. I called this the “Humans of Social Media” feature to provide everyone with an idea and perspective that social media is first and foremost – social. Yes, we have heard all about these various case studies, but we have to remember there are PEOPLE behind each of these brands and they are doing amazing things. I am THRILLED to have some of my dear friends and colleagues in the industry be part of the book.
- Balanced approached. I have always joked with people the fact I do not see myself in one camp of the other when it comes to being an academic or practitioner. I try to manage to balance the line between the two – that’s been my life in academia for years. With this book – I have taken the same approach in my writing. It’s all about bridging the science and art aspects of social media in a coherent and relatable manner.
- Writing and format of the book is not “textbookie”. This was probably by FAR my favorite comment in my reviews. I had several people say how it was an easy read, but one reviewer said it was a book that was not textbookie and that it would be a book she and her students would actually keep. Mission accomplished [insert Thor’s YES GIF from Thor: Ragnarok when he sees The Hulk!)
- Instructor and Student Materials. This was always my biggest pet peeve for books. Not may social media books provided resources or ones that you would actually want to use. When I started visioning this book, I realized if I wanted these resources, I had to create them myself. Most of the time, you do see some authors create everything fo their book, but this is not always the case. So, for this book – I have created and written everything. Slides, test bank, resources, exercises / thought questions and the instructor manual were all created by yours truly.
- Workbook: Did I mention also that there is a workbook for portfolio activities that has over 50+ exercises, rubrics and resources? Oh – well, there is that! Yep. This is different from the exercises and thought questions after each chapter – these are completed assignments and we are not just talking about one and done for each chapter. Most of them have 5+, so you are able to see which ones work, and which ones you may want to pass on. At least you all have options.
This is just the beginning and we still have a few things to finish up on. But I am beyond thrilled and excited to share this news with you all. If you have any questions at all about the book, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have. The book will be published and available in August 2018, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think about it.
Have a great day!