Authors are told they have to promote. Where does promotion start? Most would say Social Media. Why? It’s the quickest, most effective, cheapest (usually free) way to connect with readers.
Writers reach out to traditional publishers in the hopes that they will do that—yikes, dare I say it—dirty work: PROMOTION.
Traditional publishers, especially the large ones, look for authors that have platforms. Whatever happened to just writing? The prevalent notion is that if all you do is write, it’s not enough. Though I’m not sure how much I personally subscribe to that theory, I may be on the wrong side. I must be, since everyone is promoting. ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES.
What role does social media play in your writing career?
WILLIAM: At the moment, it’s hard to judge the impact. I do use Facebook, and tried Twitter, but Twitter just doesn’t work for me as an individual. I don’t dislike it, I think it is more my life is not interesting enough to share with the world on a minute by minute basis.
STELLA: Most of the people who post minute-by-minute stuff aren’t all that interesting. I wonder if the reason they keep doing that is because someone is encouraging them to do this as a business tactic or a bit of narcissism.
RUSTY: I think perhaps YOU don’t find people who post minute-by-minute stuff interesting. Obviously SOMEBODY finds them interesting, else they wouldn’t have a zillion followers. As H.L. Mencken sagely put it, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” But I can’t disagree. I can’t even force myself to TRY Twitter, so Will’s ahead of me.
WILLIAM: You may have a point there, Rusty!
MELISSA: Although I agree with everyone, I pretty much signed up for as many as I could find in the beginning. Crazy I know, but it’s all about exposure. Just because I’m not active on a site doesn’t mean someone who is couldn’t stumble upon one of my books. The ones I use/check the most are Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and yes, even Twitter. But I find Twitter moves too fast for me. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep up.
RUSTY: Hire a publicist. Oh, wait. You have a control thing, right?
Do you enjoy the social media aspect of being an author or is it like pulling teeth to get you to engage?
WILLIAM: Facebook is – for me – the place “where everybody knows your name.” When I want it, it’s there. If I am busy writing or otherwise engaged, I can always catch up at my convenience.
MELISSA: Like William, Facebook is where you’ll find me the most active because I do enjoy the interaction. I decided a while back not to worry about trying to be active on all the sites. This way I don’t feel pressured and the fun is still there when I do check in.
RUSTY: I love my blog community. Right now, I don’t have a big enough differentiation between Rusty the author and Rusty the person for my FB to be much of a hassle—but it’s also not much of a help.
Do you blog or contribute to blogs? Which ones?
WILLIAM: I have a website/blog combination at the moment, which needs updating. Badly. Seriously.
RUSTY: Website/blogs almost always need updating.
MELISSA: I’ve been blogging for about five years now on Everybodyneedsalittleromance.com and I have a personal blog in bad need of attention.
STELLA: How often do you blog?
RUSTY: Last year, I starting blogging chapters of my book in progress on the first rewrite pass. I’ve done that for 2 full novels now, and it’s been a blast. I’ve managed to keep a solid following of people who are excited about reading the books and commenting. Plus it makes me feel a little like Charles Dickens, serializing novels chapter by chapter. When I have a rewrite in progress (about half the time) I post Chapters MWF and commentary TuTh. The rest of the time, twice a week.
MELISSA: When I first started, I blogged every Monday. At this time, I’ve cut way back on the blogging. Right now you can find me the first Monday of each month on the group blog.
WILLIAM: If there’s a new release, or I have something special to say. Otherwise, not that often.
Are you on Twitter? What’s your handle? Facebook? Do you want to share that with us?
Melissa: Twitter: @melissaohnoutka
RUSTY: I blog at http://allthingswordsblog.wordpress.com/
How many times per day or how many hours do you think you spend on social media?
WILLIAM: That varies, depending on what else is going on. Sometimes I go to FB several times a day, others I’m not online for a week.
STELLA: Would you ever consider paying someone to be your social media person? Someone pretending to be you and posting stuff on FB or Twitter in your stead?
WILLIAM: At this point, no. Rumbles and rumors are swirling about Social Media evolving, changing, possibly disappearing as we know it know. So, no.
STELLA: William, what rumbles and rumors do you hear? I’d love to know what the rumbling is about. Can you share, even if it’s speculative? Rusty? Melissa? Do you guys hear rumbling?
WILLIAM: The usual ones: the younger crowd is leaving FB because we Adults have taken it over, people have gotten bored with it all, FB is going to start charging fees (an urban legend, but some believe it), FB is passé, etc. Nothing concrete I can point to or confirm, but they are out there.
MELISSA: Sorry. No juicy rumors here. Only thing I hear rumbling is my stomach. LOL
RUSTY: FB isn’t that much hassle. If I could hire a decent publicity person to search for interview opportunities, patrol blogs and interactive sites, and all of that, I’d pay half my royalties. Unfortunately, don’t think I can find anyone who will do it for that.
MELISSA: Not sure I can calculate that one. Like William, my online visits are sporadic. As for paying someone to be my media person for Facebook or Twitter, it’s a no from me too. The idea is wonderful, but I’d have to really know the person and trust them completely, and even then I’d struggle with it.
RUSTY: Said the soon-to-be author of Confessions of a Control Freak
Have you guys ever taken a social media course, workshop, etc?
MELISSA: No. I’ve always wanted to, but haven’t found the time yet.
WILLIAM: Not yet. It’s on the “To Do” list. When I get a moment, maybe!
RUSTY: The Woodlands Writers Guild held an introduction to social media workshop. Although at the time, I didn’t know enough about it to understand what they were talking about. Before that, I had a class in the army about the hazards of VD, which was euphemistically called a social disease (Twitter could justifiably be called a social disease).