Many of us in the North East spent the weekend prepping for Sandy. I have cooked, prepped the freezer, checked flashlights, staged candles and nagged the husband. I’ve sent the poor man out for everything from a generator, to hummus, to a raincoat for the dog. BTW…he was only successful in the hummus. Apparently it was like War of the Worlds out there yesterday! Like so many other writers in the region I have also made sure that I’m ready to roll, as in ready to write! The laptop is fully charged. Pads of paper and pen are at the ready, because baby, I plan to write my way through this storm! In addition to the worry, this storm also means time off from work. Hopefully that will mean time spent cuddling with my girl in front of a movie, catching up on a few shows with the husband and time spent devoted to developing my next manuscript. Please note: I’m hoping that I will NOT spend time in the next few days on damage control, but you have to be prepared.
The Social Media Consumer: My Experiences
The storm prep made me think of navigating the stormy seas of the Social Media Terrain. A fellow writer recently posted the following article by M.J. Rose on Social Media Suicide as it relates to the role of self-promotion for authors. For those of you who are not authors you may be unfamiliar with what this article addresses. Here are some positive and potentially negative experiences I’ve had as a book consumer as a result of social media. I’d been putting off joining Twitter because I feared that it would become a time killer. As a full time working mom, I need to focus as much of my time on the actual business of writing. In all honesty, it has been a time killer, but from a knowledge perspective regarding the industry it has been invaluable as well. I have found many wonderful YA Blogs like Reader Girls Blog and Bookalicious. Both phenomenal sources for great YA books. Young Adult is a rapidly growing and exploding market. As a writer who is hoping to one day be published in this YA Market, it is important to understand what resonates with readers. Had it not been for these blogs and Twitter I wouldn’t have read some fabulous YA books like Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris or Matched by Ally Condie, nor would I have added several additional books to my growing To Be Read pile. I am proof that you can sell books via twitter. But here’s the important part, none of the authors provided the promotion that led to my purchase of the books. I was led there on the recommendation of a trusted third party. On the flip side, there are authors who tweet non-stop about their books. When I first joined Twitter I added one book to my Goodreads list as a result of an author’s self-promotional tweet. It sounded really interesting to me, so I decided to check it out. It is still on my TBR list and I will read it mainly because I find the premise very interesting. The author however is becoming dangerously close to alienating me. Every day, at least ten to twenty times a day, she tweets the exact same types of things that first drew me to her book. I get it, I do. Twitter is a fast medium. You can post a tweet with a link to your blog and 30 seconds later you are out of the feed. The reach is constantly changing, so I understand the repeated tweets to a certain extent.
What is the elusive balance for authors?
With social media, I think that it is important to remember what first drew us there in the first place. I joined FaceBook a few years ago mainly to stay in touch with family. 95% of my family lives a long distance away. From that perspective FB has been great. I feel like I’m a part of the daily lives of family and friends. I’m right there praying for those that are gunning for new jobs, and I cheer on and congratulate the announcements of good news. I feel like I’ve met and know the babies of my cousins thousands of miles away. FB is also a great medium for info sharing and communication among my mom groups. From there, I branched out and it is now an equally beneficial medium to share information with writing friends near and far. In short, it is a great way to stay connected, just like FB promotes.
As authors we have to be smart about how we spend our time. As of now, I don’t have a book to promote. I only have a writing journey that I’ve invited my immediate and extended world to rally behind. The blog has cultivated followers and new blogging friends beyond my immediate circle, for which I feel truly blessed, but isn’t the blog, the FB and the Twitter, to some extent preaching to the choir? Aren’t these people already within my reach as potential readers of a hopefully published book?
I’ve heard that the publishers want you to have that online presence. They expect you to be out there stomping the keyboard, tweeting away, participating in blog tours, and kicking up a social media frenzy. So, in our busy worlds, what in all this will really work? How do we approach the tools available to us that don’t result with an in-your-face, BUY-MY-BOOK and potentially alienating rant? For me, I’m more inclined to click on a link to either a blog post or an article in a tweet that provides some sort of useful information. From there, if I find the article interesting enough, I’ll click on the person’s profile and if they sound like someone who shares interesting writing tips or world views, I’ll decide to follow them. I’ll even go to their author page and check out their book page. The other types of posts that capture my attention are those that provide me with some sort of entertainment; a video link, or a similar political view.
I’m very curious to know, what resonates with you in social media? Have you ever purchased a book based a tweet or a FB posting, and/or has an author ever turned you off from purchasing their book due to oversaturation of your newsfeed?
Speaking of oversaturation, the yard is looking mighty wet at the moment due to Sandy. The house is still running on all cylinders, so I best get back to the main form of promotion that is ingrained in every writer at every writing conference and workshop: write the best book I can! 🙂
Stay safe and dry during the storm!