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!”
I think we all go through that stage of trying all the marketing advice from other authors in the hopes that we will have the same success they’ve gotten or fall upon that one marketing tip that works for us, only to learn that much of it won’t work for us that same because we’re different from them. Lately, I’ve been evaluating my own marketing and writing endeavors. I found that social media market wasn’t just a time drain for me, but that all the efforts I’ve put into marketing were of very little help. I find that most of my readers came through family and friends, word of mouth, people happening upon my books, or they read a review on a blog they frequent.
I’ve also noticed that few readers follow author blogs, so unless it’s something you enjoy, most often it falls into the same time-suck vortex as social media.
Stephanie, I’m coming to that same conclusion. What will work for me, I hope, is to quit wasting time trying to learn about marketing and just WRITE. Word of mouth sells, absolutely. 🙂
Well, as Kate pointed out above, writers are readers, so to that extent my blog is for readers. I blog because it’s my social outlet, so to me it’s not a drain.
Very true, writers are readers and as Jody Hedlund pointed out once, it was the writer’s reading her blog that would recommend her book to friends they thought would enjoy it. I’m glad that you enjoy blogging. 😀
Complete drain. I’m pulling back as you already know. At the moment, most everything I do on social networks is for my own enjoyment only. I mention my books sometimes if there’s something worth mentioning. I am much, much, much happier. 🙂
Oh yes, Michelle, you’ve pulled back drastically. I’m happy to hear it’s working well for you. 🙂
I feel like I finally looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I’m tired of trying to be what I’m not. I just want to write, and publish what I think is good. I’ll talk a little about it here and there and believe that the readers who are meant to read it will.
I discovered Twitter when I lived in a rural town, hours away from other writers. I used it and still do as a news feed of sorts — to find intersting articles. It is a balancing act. I think it’s best to live where you are most comfortable. I’ve enjoyed your blog, so far. I read this post on Tuesday, but just made my way back to tell you thanks for sharing your viewpoint. Happy writing!
Thank you, Stacy. Yes, I’ve found links to many interesting things on Twitter, but for me, usually when I assess the value of time spent on Twitter and following those links, it doesn’t balance out.
Hi Linda, I read through the comments here and found not one that said socil networking online helped them promote themselves. Intersting…I wonder if someone will show up who will say it helped them?
I have never ventured past blogging. No time for it. From what I saw around me, the time necessary to generate a following was more than a full-time job.
My blog is an outlet. I vent there, and I connect with other writers. I ask nothing more from it – glad you feel at home here!
I can’t say it’s not helped me promote myself at all, Jennifer. By tweeting links to my posts the past three years and those posts being retweeted, many people have visited my blog who probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise. So at least I may have gotten a little start on name recognition. But I have to weigh the effort against the benefit. I figure, if I’ve been on Twitter for three years and still feel like an outsider, I should spend most of my time elsewhere. All people can know of me in the virtual world is the personality I project. I don’t seem to project the real me anywhere other than on my blog. So I think it’s best for me to use Twitter, Facebook, etc. to draw people here where I can be the real me. Now, whether they LIKE the real me, is another thing. 😉
What I have found is that time spend on social media is time not spent writing, and you’re right we do need to be writing more books not simply promoting the one that is out there. I’ve been doing less social media these days and happily more writing which is where I started. I’m rarely on twitter. I just never seemed to get the hang of it anyway. Facebook is fun but can be time consuming as well. Still, that is where many of the people who know me in and around the community hang out and I like to keep in touch. I’m not there as much as I used to be that’s for sure. I’m even rethinking blogging for the one hundredth time since I started. I honestly don’t feel like a “real” blogger. I’m not sure I ever will. I’m always amazed at the people who seem to be able to do it all.
So while I don’t feel like much of a social media butterfly these days I do feel like a writer and hopefully that is something I’ll stick with.. 🙂
I’m glad you “feel like a writer” these days, Laura. 🙂 That’s what I’ve been missing. I’m a little slower to catch on, but I’m joining the writers who write, not “socialize”.