Drowning In Social Media


DrowningBy Elizabeth Shore

Like Kiersten Hallie Krum, I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers of America annual Put Your Heart In A Book conference last weekend. It was a great time. I met new friends, connected with old ones, and learned lots of new things. One of those things I learned is that I will never, ever have time to myself again for the rest of my life. And, fellow writers and readers, neither will you.

As long as I have time left on this earth I can forget reading for pleasure. Forget watching The Walking Dead or indulging in moments of guilty pleasure with shows on the ID Channel like Wicked Attraction or Southern Fried Homicide. Forget eating, or sleeping, or talking to my DH. If I’m lucky, maybe – just maybe – I’ll squeeze in time to breathe. Why did my schedule suddenly become so jammed with activity every second of every day? Blame it on the overwhelming, mind-number amount of social media tasks that we writers need to do in order to promote our books, ourselves, our blogs, our websites. There’s so much going on nowadays that my eyes first bugged out of my head in horror before they glazed over and I hung my head in defeat, certain that no matter how hard I try, I will forever be drowning in social media.

Used to be that writers just wrote. We thought up stories, put them into tangible form, and sent them off to publishers. Usually they were rejected but sometimes they weren’t, and on those happy occasions we were offered a book contract. Back in the “old days” a writer’s publisher would send him or her on a book tour. Then they stopped footing the bill for that so we writers put those tours together ourselves. Nowadays the thought of signing books in bookstores brings with it a wistful touch of nostalgia, like getting a letter in the mail. Instead, interspersed with writing the book, we’re updating our websites, our blogs, our Facebook, our Pinterest. We’re linking our blogs on reddit, we’re joining tribes on Triberr. We’re digg-ing stuff, we’re posting on Tumblr, we’re updating our goodreads. And like the morning birds outside my window, we’re constantly Tweeting.

Author Laura Kaye gave an excellent presentation during the conference regarding online promotion and what authors need to be doing. As she says, “Social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not central to your writing career.” She ties that sage advice into her six book promotion goals for authors that are all tied to sales, name exposure and recognition, and building your brand. Her presentation was by far my favorite of the conference (and that’s saying a lot, because the conference was packed with fantastic advice). But here’s the thing: I came away from Laura’s presentation so overwhelmed that I felt a little bit like a deer in headlights: absolutely paralyzed by the thought of everything social media-wise that I need to be doing.

Hell’s bells, it’s tough to keep up. Social media is like electronic equipment. Just when you plunk down the money to upgrade your ____ (fill in the blank: phone, laptop, iPad, etc.) a new version comes out the very next day. Argh!!  I mean, I blog, I tweet, I update Facebook, I’ve joined a couple of tribes, I link stuff to reddit. But I’m not on Pinterest, I’m not on digg, I do nothing with Instagram or Flickr or Delicious. And then there are the sites I’ve never heard of. Tagged. Ning. Weheartit.com, anyone?

You’ll probably note that I’ve hardly mentioned my website. I haven’t launched it yet but am very close. I just need to find the time! Maybe once I  add a few more books on goodreads. Or upload some photos. Check in with foursquare. Tweet. Post to Facebook. Answer email. Oh yeah. And write.

Anyone have some good suggestions with keeping up with it all? If so, please share, ’cause I’m drowning. And don’t forget to follow us. That’s another social media-thing you’ll want to do. 🙂

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9 Comments

  • Kemberlee
    October 23, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Copy and paste is the only way. We publish 1-2 books per week which includes posting on two Bloggers, Tumblr, Facebook (about 30 groups), Twitter, Goodreads, WikiRomance, Pinterest and I can’t recall whatelse off the top of my head. Not everyone is on every site so I tend to copy and paste the same info to most of them. I can get book promotions done inside an hour, barring distractions. Without copy/paste, we’d be toast.

    I know what you mean about for writing. I’m also a writer. Since launching our publishing company two years ago, I haven’t had time to write anything myself. Our winter break starts in four weeks so I’m hopeful. If you happen to visit my author site, you’ll see how sadly out of date it is {sigh}.

    Good luck with our promotions.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      October 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

      It doesn’t ever end! Just when you’re up to date on your Pinterest or Goodreads, or Facebook, you realize your website’s collected virtual cobwebs. Drat!

      And launching a publishing company as well as writing . . . Ach! Outta the way, Lynda Carter. Wonder Woman Kemberlee has arrived!

      • Kemberlee Shortland
        October 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

        Ha! The only wonder about me is I wonder how I’m going to schedule writing with publishing everyone else’s stuff. I know. I’ll bring in The Winter Break at work so I can write. Only, my brain totally shuts down and all I want are sweats, a dog on my lap, and a remote in my hand. 😉 The Winter Break is coming soon. I might need someone with a whip to keep me off the sofa. LOL {groan}

  • LizEverly
    October 23, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Oh Elizabeth, I wish I knew the answer! I get very burnt out every once in awhile and just need to shut it all down. I think it’s okay to do that. But most days, I have two on-line personas to grapple with. When I was at Bouchercon, a writer I know who is very productive, said that he works by writing for 50 minutes, then doing social media for 10. I find myself doing something similar, though I don’t time it. I make sure I get my word count in for the day before I hop on social media. That said, when you are promoting a book, you need to give social media a lot more of your time. But you can’t do it all–so choose what you feel comfortable with and have had some success with and stick to it. On another note, I can’t wait for that website launch!

    • Elizabeth Shore
      October 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

      I feel like if I interrupted myself every 50 minutes it would halt my flow. But that’s the beauty of writing, we all have our different styles. If it works, it works.

      I can’t wait for the website myself! 🙂

  • Madeline Iva
    October 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Ah! The helpful writing talk that pops your circuits into overload–I know it well.

    I think how much social media you do depends on how good your books are and on many books you produce a year. For most writers the most effective publicity is that last book. A lot of writers say you can’t do it all when it comes to social media, so find your boundaries. Some say just pick what works for you and remember to put that writing first.

    Eloisa James and Brenda Novak said an hour a day. But maybe for you it’s gotta be less.

    As long as there’s someplace where you connect with readers–I mean really connect and show the best of yourself–they will probably find you there. Like this blog–we connect with so many readers every day. A lot of writers would envy you your mad blogging chops. 🙂

    • Elizabeth Shore
      October 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Laura Kaye spends 50% of her time on social media, and the other 50% writing. Yowza! I have so little time to write as it is, and then if half of that time is spent on social media . . . Honestly, it feels like an out-of-control whirling dervish spiral that I get sucked into and can’t get out.

      Ah well. I’ll figure it out. Thanks for the kind words on the blogging. Right back atcha, Madeline. You’re an enviable writing machine!

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    October 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Plus you have a JOB! Good post, Elizabeth. I’m also overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to promote. There is no end except the one where we say enough. I can only do so much in order to have a life. Even with the constant support of my publisher, I have to put the brakes on. Do I? Well, uh, no. Just one more blog,FB,Twitter, write a thousand words and. . .

    • Elizabeth Shore
      October 24, 2013 at 9:58 am

      There is indeed that JOB thing that just sucks my time right outta me. Still, we all do what we can.

      You definitely don’t need to put the brakes on, Charmaine. Not with those wonderful books you write!

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