Social Media=Noise

March 22, 2013

Sometimes it feels like we’re all shouting the same things at each other. Do you ever notice that? I mean, on social media we tend to follow like minded people. When something terrible happens, we’re all yelling our outrage. Agreeing and yelling and outraged.

And then, if we’re an author, we want to talk about our books and our accomplishments. If we’re agents or editors we want to offer helpful advice or tell people what not to do. If we’re a company we want to sell a product.

And then, if we’re a person of any kind, we want to vent our frustrations, laud our accomplishment, show off pictures of our kids/pets/lunch etc.

We’re all talking, but we aren’t always listening. Sometimes I spend so much time on social media it starts to feel like noise. This agent says do this while this editor yells to NEVER do that. One author you admire sells a billion books, and so does one author who’s writing you just can’t get into and you wonder…why?

You try to engage with someone who doesn’t want to engage with you. Someone who you don’t want to engage with approaches you.

You speak, and no one responds.

It’s all…noise. And mainly we’re not so much listening to each other as we are yelling louder and louder to make our voice heard.

And then, sometimes you are heard. And you feel like someone out there shares an experience with you and it soothes the savage beast or the crows of doubt or something for a little while.

Sometimes social media has the power to make us feel better, ease our hurts, share our joys, point us in the right direction.

Sometimes it is just a cacophony of discordant sound that pushes us further into our shell, further away from our dreams.

As a person, I’m struggling to navigate it all without it affecting my self worth. As an author with a recent release, I’m trying to do all the right things to make my book seem like something you’d like to read.

But as the characters in my WIP are currently figuring out about their own lives, maybe there is no right way. There is only doing the best you can do at any given moment, right or wrong. And, just like social media, sometimes that is a relief, and sometimes it is a terrible burden.

Nicole

Advertisements

Because I was a public relations minor in college, I always figured PR would be the least of my worries when I finally sold a manuscript. As a result, I didn’t think much about marketing while I wrote my earliest manuscripts. I did sign on to various email lists and frequent writing/publishing websites, but I did so more to learn craft than to start the recognition ball rolling. Soon, I was reading emails and posts about getting a jump start on branding, so I scrambled over to Twitter and dipped a toe in. God, those waters were choppy. I had no idea what I was doing over there. And more than once I wondered if I was simply wasting my time. Shouldn’t I be writing?

Years later, I have a little hindsight, certainly not enough to make me an expert on the subject, but enough to share. As far as publicity goes, here’s what did and didn’t work for me at various stages of the game:

Before the manuscript was even finished…

• I worried too much about doing everything everyone else said they were doing. Twitter, tumblr, instagram, Pinterest. (How I avoided Facebook, I’ll never know. Lol.) I thought it was all so critical to building an audience, and yet I had no idea who my audience was. I hadn’t written enough, submitted enough and received enough feedback to know.
• I didn’t give enough thought to real vs. penname. I wasted a lot of time and squandered some publicity by switching names mid-stream. Looking back, I wish I’d spent less time being social online in an effort to build a brand I eventually changed TWICE.
• I wasted money on domain names and hours on brainstorming ideas for gimmicky branding that no longer fit by the time I actually sold a book.

Bottom line: At this stage in the game, writing is more than enough. Seeking to better your writing in the form of workshops and critique partners is the next step. You’ll get to know people this way, too. And knowing people is a big part of publicity.

During the submission stage…

• I really engaged in social media, hoping to find the key to who was publishing what and how I could get picked out of the slush. But instead of finding that, I ended up worried too much about doing everything everyone else said they were doing—AGAIN. (***This is a big pitfall of social middle.) She submitted here. I wanted to submit here. This one submitted there. I wanted to submit there. Read about an editorial call—Count me in! Contest announced—How do I enter? It was ludicrous. I got so damn confused I was taking 80K-word manuscripts and cutting 20K words just so I could respond to one of these impulses. Not only wasn’t I building a brand, I didn’t recognize my manuscripts anymore.
• On the other hand, engaging in social media meant I had other writers to commiserate with while I was waiting to hear back on submissions. These other writers have been a huge boost to my ego when it was flailing, and they’ve stepped up over and over again to help me promote my successes.
• I built a website, because, heck, why not? I was WAITING, and I hate waiting. Building a website seemed more productive than checking my inbox a million times. Of course, writing would have been most productive, so this one could go either way—positive or negative. I’ve had several incarnations of my website since I started on the publication path. That tells me I started with the websites too soon. And you know what? I yanked a site down when I settled on a penname, and I went without a website for many months. So what was the point of it all in the first place?
• I started this blog, another commitment that took me away from writing, BUT it also gave me a place to gather my thoughts and connect with likeminded people.

Bottom line: There were some positive marketing steps taken during this stage, ones I surely don’t regret, but once again, the best thing I did while I waited to hear back on works out on submission was write more manuscripts and work with my critique partner to polish them.

After I sold a manuscript…

• I built my current site.
• I joined another group blogging effort.
• I opened up to my friends and family in greater detail about my writing, including them in my publicity efforts. (I’ll talk more on that in a later post.)
• I ordered author cards (business cards with my name, genre, and website listed) and stickers to affix to the back of the cards. (The stickers have the book name, release date and location availability.)
• When my other group blog asked for authors to donate prizes for various promotional efforts, I ordered personalized items, like pens and post its, and I assembled “swag packs” to giveaway.
• I joined Facebook. (Gah! I’m soooo clueless over there.)
• I paid more attention to my Twitter account (that is, until I needed to finish the second book in the series I sold) and Goodreads.
• I accepted invitations to guest blog.
• I created a contest to run during my release month.
• And I’m sure there’s more and there will be more…

Bottom line: Nothing can really prepare you for the branding blitz that happens when you sell a manuscript. You can think about it. You can observe what others do. But until you’re ready to implement the plan, it’s all just speculation…speculation that takes you away from writing.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you’re early in the publishing game, don’t stress over what you should or shouldn’t be doing as far as publicity goes. You SHOULD be writing. 🙂

Save My Soul will be my first published book, but it was my FOURTH completed manuscript. Change My Mind, the second book in this series, will be my second published book (unless something crazy happens!), and it’s my EIGHTH completed manuscript. No rhyme or reason, huh? Just another reminder that writing is the name of the game, and nothing—not even building your brand—should take you away from that.

Elley

Social Media Overload

June 29, 2012

So, if you follow me on Twitter you already know this: I LOVE Twitter. In fact, I love social media. I remember way back when Facebook first came out and only certain colleges could get on it and I was so bummed. I am not the writer complaining about having to have a media presence, cause I love it!

I think a lot of this has to do with being shy/being a writer. In person, I am a terrible conversationalist. I rarely know what to say or ask. I even have awkward silences with good friends on occasions. I’m just not good at it. (I still remember when I first met Hubby and he kept asking me question after question because I kept killing the conversation dead and I said, hey, this is THE man for me).

But, give me time to formulate a sentence or two in writing, and I can seem like less of a social dunce. Currently, I am a mother of two kids 2 1/2 and under. Social media is a way to connect with people without the stress of taking two kids out into the wild.

I LOVE social media, but it definitely gets a little addicting. I check Twitter way too often. Occasionally when Hubby is trying to have a conversation with me. (In my defense it’s usually if he’s talking about something I don’t care about like finance news or hockey).

Anyway, I promised Hubby since he’s off work this week that I would unplug, except for email. No Twitter, Facebook, or blogs for four days.

Is that fluttery feeling in my chest panic? I may be a little lightheaded. Um, no Twitter?? How will I keep up with people?

Truth is, I will go on without social media and Twitter will go on without me. It will be weird and I’m sure I’ll reach for my tablet on more than one occasion to tweet something only to mentally slap myself.

And on Monday, I’ll be back on Twitter with a vengeance!

So, are you like me enjoying the benefits of social media? Or is it a hardship for you? Something you dread or only do because others are doing it?

Nicole

A few weeks ago, I had a wake-up call. Tweets and blog posts I write in the professional realm are subject to scrutiny by those looking for information about my personal life. Of course, I knew this was possible. The Internet is a public forum. But—call me naïve—I thought people had better things to do.

So I’ve got to ask…does it bother you that random comments posted on Twitter, Facebook or blogs could give negative people information to use against you? Do you write under a penname to complicate their search or to protect your family and friends? Do you censor your words, hold back?

Maybe it’s a generational thing. Having not grown up with the Internet, this necessary invasion of my privacy to benefit my career is creeping me out a bit. 🙂 I’m desperate to know if others feel my paranoia or if I’m alone out here on the edge.

How do you balance privacy and publicity while partaking in social media and building a writing career?

Elley

If you write romance (or another genre involving strong romantic elements) and are pursuing publication, we’d like to feature you in our Writer Wednesday posts. It’s easy. We don’t bite. Pen names are fine. You don’t have to be particularly interesting. You don’t have to submit a picture. We ask a few easy questions by email, and then publish your profile, giving you the chance to promote your site, blog, Twitter or Facebook. Better yet, you’ll be introduced to some wonderful people who read the blog regularly and are writers just like you. In addition, you may get lucky. (No, not lucky. Get your head out of the gutter.) The vast majority of the writers featured on this blog have gone from unpublished to published in the blink of an eye. We might be magic. (You don’t know. Maybe I stole some fairy dust from the Disney vault before I left.)

So…email me, Elley, at elley.franco@gmail.com if you’re interested.

We’d really like to get Writer Wednesday running again, but we need writers to do so. If you write romantic fiction for publication–wherever you are on the path–we want to hear from you, connect with you and support you. What’s involved? Answering simple questions by email. Interested? Email Elley for more details.

In addition, if you’re a past Writer Wednesday featured writer who has secured a publishing contract, let us know. Email Elley with your name and project details (including publication date). We have some fun things planned, like a Writer Wall of Fame and release day celebrations.

Happy Writing!

So…after weeks of having no unpublished writers to feature on Wednesdays, we’ve decided to open up Writer Wednesday to published authors of romance novels or novels with strong romantic elements. By published we mean major houses, minor houses, self, e-books or print. In other words, if you write romantic fiction with the goal being publication–wherever you are on the path–we want to hear from you, connect with you and support you.

Interested? Email Elley for more details.

This post should be profiling an up-and-coming romance writer, but we’ve run out of writers to feature. We need your help. Let us profile you.

Being profiled is easy. (We don’t require anything ridiculous in return. You can keep you first-born–both Tari and I have full houses.) Simply email your interest (elleywrites@yahoo.com), and we’ll send you some questions to answer. (A picture is optional.) That’s it.

You can check out last week’s profile here.

If you aren’t interested, let your friends know. We’ve had a great response to our first month of profiles, and we’d hate to see it end.

Elley & Tari (Hey, I just realized that makes us E&T or ET. I haven’t had any caffeine yet, sorry.)