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 decided just to have fun with my social networking and not use it as a tool, even though all the “experts” were saying to use it as a tool. But, when I did use it as a tool, I came across as “desperate” or almost fakey or just more noise in the already cacaphony of white noise. WHen I do SN for fun and how I feel like doing it, it feels better, more genuine. If people want to follow/friend/join, then good! They are getting me as I am, seeing who I am. If they don’t come by, then I certainly can’t spend all my time chasing after everyone.

    I have a new book to write and it ain’t gonna write itself – with each book, it seems I am later starting because I’m so busy trying to “be out there.” I have deadlines. I have an online journal and a new project I’m thinking of — I have family and friends and little log house that I have sorely neglected. So, it feels free-ing to finally let go of the stress of “shoulds should shoulds” and instead do a little “cause I wanna!”

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    1. Your “having fun” with social networking makes you quite entertaining on Facebook, Kat. 😀 That’s how I feel about my blog.

      The “shoulds” get me tied in knots every time. I keep telling myself to forget the shoulds and do what’s right for me. Someday, my advice will get through my thick head.

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    2. Thank you, Kat, for writing the words that fit into my mouth: “I decided to just have fun with my social networking….” I’m an old-er writer, meaning I’ve written one memoir, liked the process (even throwing it in the garbage several times!), and am finally stumbling my way through self-promotional fogs. If I had not decided to check out Twitter a few minutes ago, I would not have stumbled upon your blog, Linda. You’ve given me much food for thought, especially the last two lines, “I’m the real me here. And being me feels great!” Perhaps it is time for me to set up my own blog.

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  2. I constantly have a tugging to “get back at the keyboard” to finish the manuscript I am now writing. The blogs are fun but I too find that beyond a few family members and other writers no one else is actively seeking a peek at my blogs. I will keep them active but they will not be my focus either…the writing is where I am and who I am and hopefully the audience will eventually develop once the “Right” person (whoever that is) makes my works known to the general public.

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    1. You’ve probably read enough posts here to know that I don’t really use my blog a professional tool, Kathleen. I once had aspirations of it being a real Writing Blog, but that’s not me. I have more questions than answers. I needed a place where I could relax and just exchange ideas with other writers. So I don’t have the stress some other bloggers do to craft meaningful posts. But yes, as writers, writing must come first.

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  3. I LOVE the new look of your blog. And I hate that you haven’t been writing your next novel. But maybe you started yesterday???

    So interesting that both you and Cristina wrote blog posts on the same day with similar subject matter: “I’m the real me here. And just being me feels great.”

    I’ve been so busy since April I could hardly breathe–so many different commitments that my writing time was shrinking and shrinking. At some point, I managed to step back and get some perspective. And I set aside 8-11 Mon-Fri for just writing. It feels good that my writing now has a safe place.

    You may notice that it’s 10:30 on a Wed, and I’m visiting your blog : ) I’ve been hard at work, writing 8 hours + a day since I returned from VT, so I’m taking the day off today. Yippee!

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    1. It’s nice to see you here again, Cynthia. 🙂

      Yes, Cristina and I are on the same wave length, and I’ve recently seen other writers say the same thing. It seems many of us have burnt out on the constant push to “get out there.” We just want to relax and write. I used to write so much I had no need for scheduling the time, but maybe that’s what I need to do now.

      It’s good to have a day off. I hope you make the best of it and then get back to work refreshed.

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  4. What James said above is why I haven’t signed up for Twitter, Facebook, and G+. But, I did say, “What the hell are you thinking?” after I signed up for a LinkedIn page. 🙂

    Blogging … that’s completely different. How much you add/don’t add and read is very manageable.

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  5. I do agree Linda. We can waste so much time just chasing when we should be doing what we do best, writing.
    BTW thanks for the heads up on the frivolous claims. I tried to respond to your email but it was blocked at your end. I appreciate that you took the time to send the email. I posted a retraction yesterday. 🙂

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    1. Chasing, Judith? So that’s why I’m out of breath. 🙂 Slowing down for sure. I hate to hear that email didn’t go through. It always makes me wonder what else I might have missed getting. I don’t have you blocked, so I don’t know what happened.

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