Sunday, November 27, 2011

Social Media Done Wrong

As if writers needed anything more to occupy our time, the advent of social media has ensured that our days are filled with tweets, Facebook posts and pages. Article after article stresses the importance of good social interaction: we have to be on Google+, Twitter, Linked In AND Facebook, because the days of the invisible author are OVER! Social karma and etiquette demands that we tweet and re-tweet, follow and be interesting in every message.

Here's where I fess up: I'm a social media failure. I rarely use Twitter and post more on my personal Facebook page to catch up with family in Barbados or the UK, than I add anything to my author page. For all the advice which says authors should be actively using social media to promote our work, I give a half-hearted, grudging shrug. Sometimes I try the techniques suggested, but more often than not, it's a failure from the outset because I just don't believe it helps. I do nothing to promote Sultana through the usual social channels, yet it consistently sells well each month. Beyond the occasional monthly promotion on my website or mention of it on this blog, I don't talk about it. Yet people are finding the book, writing me, visiting my web pages and talking about the story in their reading groups. The social media pundits must forgive me for saying so, but the best promotion of an author's work is a good book. It isn't spamming each other every day with our latest reviews and "buy my book" pitches. Good social media usage is the same as conducting ourselves like normal people offline - would you ask someone to marry you one minute after the initial meeting? So, why DM people about buying your book as soon as they follow you on Twitter?  
Stop spamming your friends! If they like your book, they'll buy it.
I don't doubt that social media can be an effective tool when it's used the right way. How's that? Start by letting people get to know YOU. When we look for the best advice, we turn to those whom we trust, our friends. Friendships aren't established overnight - they're earned through time and trust. For an author just starting out, it can feel as we have to rush into everything and use every means at our disposal to get our names out there as quickly as possible. Just as a good friendship takes time to grow, so to does good social interaction and karma take time to produce results. Unfortunately, some of us are going about this the wrong way and alienating the very people we're trying to reach. How many people have you unfollowed on Twitter or deleted as friends as Facebook, just because all they do is promote their work all day?

Go forth and be social! The right way.


History and Women said...

Well said, Lisa. I feel the same way.

Michelle Gregory said...

i'm not sure how much good it does either. there comes a point where you do what you can and leave it there. plus if you spend all your time promoting on social media sites, when do you get to write?

Lisa Yarde said...

Thanks ladies, but while you agree, I'm sure I've pissed on a few who've seen this post. Oh well, , guess I'll just have to spend more time writing than reading tweets.

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