Advice, Marketing, My Books, Publish, Social Media, Writing

Just say no more!

Publishing The Brevity of Roses was the fulfillment of a dream … and then it became a nightmare. It’s been nine months since publication day, so I’ve had time to gain a new perspective on what I did wrong. One thing I’ve learned is that marketing advice—like writing advice—should never be swallowed whole.

Those of you still looking forward to publication are probably working to “establish an online presence” because that’s usually #1 on the advice lists. If you, like me, are not a social butterfly, you’ve probably discovered that being a social media butterfly is no easier. Well, maybe a little easier because you don’t have to worry about your hair and clothes—unless you go all out and do video interviews. In any case, it takes a lot of your time.

While I should have been putting all my time and energy into writing another book, I spent gobs of it on Twitter. Gobs. What did I accomplish? I amassed almost 1,700 followers! YAY—um, no. Most of those followers are other authors hoping to sell me their books. Yes, I have a few friends there. That’s good. That’s also maybe 2% of my “followers”. I don’t think Twitter has helped me sell many books.

I also created a Facebook Author Page. I’ve never really done anything with it. Who am I supposed to connect with there? My target readers? Nope. Haven’t seen any. Mostly it’s authors supporting other authors. That’s wonderful, of course, but I already have that here on my blog.

And I joined SheWrites, Women On the Verge, Google+ and LinkedIn because I was advised to get my name out there. Be visible is the command. And what about Tumblr? Hey, there must be a way to use Pinterest as an author. What next? What next? What next?

How much of the last nine months did I spend writing my next book? Not a lot. Here’s what I’ve learned: I put the cart before the horse. Maybe when I have three or four or five books published (and another nearly ready) THEN I should spend a big chunk of my time “socializing” as an author.

Until then, I’ve picked the single online place where I’m comfortable, which is right here, and I’m letting the rest languish. I’m the real me here. And just being me feels great.

If you’re an author, have you found significant time spent on social media to be a benefit or a drain?

33 thoughts on “Just say no more!”

  1. I think as a whole the concept of social media is pointless until you have an audience. At that point it may be useful, but I can’t imagine myself bothering until that point. Then again I doubt most of the people I have as friends on facebook have read a book in the last five years.

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  2. In answer to your question, absolutely not. Social media, I should say, aside from the blog, is undeniably useless to me.

    I built up my blog presence because it was fun. I have made a lot of friends, met a lot of colleagues, learned a lot by following agents and publishers, but other than that, Twitter hasn’t helped, LinkedIn offers me nothing. I figure if they don’t help, then all those others won’t either.

    Being on the blogs, commenting, having good content, and making friends is a good way to start. Word of mouth sells books, nothing else. I don’t care what anyone says.

    A few well timed guest blog posts, and interviews, along with a couple of good reviews has done it for me.And yes my reviews were written by my good friends, I’m not ashamed to say. If your friends can’t be happy for you and help you to get ahead then they’re not your friends right?

    Stick with blogging. It’s so much easier.

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    1. I feel the same way about blogging, Anne. I’ve made friends here, friends who’ve been very supportive on this journey. And I’ve come to agree with you about word of mouth — and not words from my mouth — selling books. I just had it all backwards and upside down.

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  3. It does kind of feel like preaching to the choir, but overall, I’d say that writers are all avid readers (with a few exceptions). They may be trying to sell a book but they are also looking for more books to read. If we all read and reviewed just one book from our list of blog followers, imagine how many authors would benefit!

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    1. Yes, we are avid readers, Kate, so there’s truth in your statement. Twitter in moderation is fine. All social media in moderation is fine. I just don’t think authors need to spend as much time on that as some marketing gurus would have us believe. And yes, of course, I’ve read and reviewed the books of several of my blog followers. Writers supporting writers is definitely an activity I subscribe to. 🙂

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  4. Amen, sister! Yeah, it’s tough. I’m trying to maintain a balance, keep my options open and constantly re-evaluate. I recall when I signed up for Google +, thinking to myself: “What the hell are you thinking?” *Laughs*
    Just don’t beat yourself up, my friend. We’re learning something new every day in this crazy business, aren’t we?
    It’s always good to see you, Linda.

    -Jimmy

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  5. I had your experience with my brush with being published in 2000. What I love is writing, reading too. The rest is too distracting. I say “Do what you love.”

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