Writing

Blog growing pains—excuse the mess!

I’ve been thinking about the purpose and direction of this blog lately. When I started this, I was in the early stages of writing my novel The Brevity of Roses, and blogging became a way to journal my progress. After the novel was written I moved on to blogging about editing and editing and editing, which progressed to querying, querying, querying, and finally to self-publishing. So now what?

For the last several months, I’ve been on a roller coaster of indecision not only about what to work on next, but whether I should write anything more at all. I’ve decided both now. I can’t quit writing—I’ve had migraines the last two days and still managed to get 1,200 words written. And I know which novel needs to be on the front burner, but I think it’s too early to talk about that book much, so that leaves me floundering blogwise.

This photo has nothing to do with the post, but I like it.

I keep promising myself—and you—that I’ll write posts of substance, but I don’t. I’m not confident in giving writing advice, partly because I’m not a teacher, but mostly because I still have much to learn myself. I can’t tell you how to write a winning query letter, scintillating synopsis, or can’t fail cover blurb because I don’t know how. I can’t give you book promotion and marketing advice because I’m even less qualified in that.

I’m just a woman—wife, mother, and grandmother—who sits here at this computer hour after hour struggling to transform my imagination into words. I lead a boring life. The most exciting thing I’ve done in the last week was set up a Pinterest account. Oh yes, and I had to wash off the butt of an aging poodle with digestive problems. (See the kind of stuff I’m likely to say here?)

Maybe I should ask you for ideas. But then, if you have an idea you’d blog about it yourself, wouldn’t you? I wrote a post once volunteering to answer any question you asked me, but that was not one of my more successful posts. The always-guaranteed-to-spark-discussion topics of politics and religion are out, and I’m a lousy book and movie critic. So what does that leave me to talk about?

I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I hear blogging is dead, so I don’t expect many people actually read my posts. Maybe I’m off the hook. I can just talk to myself here and no one will be the wiser. Years from now, when I’m a famous author, I’ll be able to publish my blog posts as a memoir—or something. ROTFLMAO

Inspiration, Social Media, Writing

Am I the only pinless writer out there?

I heard about Pinterest a couple of months ago. Just as I got ready to create an account, I read some discussion about the Pinterest terms of service—specifically, the part that says it’s your responsibility to pin only content that you own the copyright to or have obtained permission to use. I decided not to sign-up.

So, yeah. Have you been to Pinterest? Is anyone abiding by that copyright rule? Practically everyone I know is pinning like crazy and I’m not. Does it matter? I don’t think droves of people would flock to my board and go into a repin frenzy, but is it something I’d like to have for myself? Could I create boards for my writing projects and pin inspirational photos like so many other writers do?

What do you think? Do you Pin?

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?