Monday, December 9, 2013

Social Media and the Writer

I have a facebook account. I have a twitter account. I even have a pinterest account, although my password is locked and I haven't bothered to unlock it. Goodreads scares me a little because I love the book giveaway function and I would love to talk about books with other book lovers, but I've been warned by other authors to stay out of reader discussions (even about books outside my writing genre) or risk lash-back and drama. I am not sure what that's about entirely, but I am too old for drama and I don't have time for internet fights with strangers.

It's not that I'm a technology-phobe. I'm not. Case in point: I have a masters degree in computer science.

My reason for not using social media more is that I don't have time for it. At least, not the time required to use it in a way that I find meaningful and productive.

Not to start off the firestorm of "what does busy really mean?" and "why can't you just log in throughout the day?", let me explain.

I have two small children, not school aged. I am not on social media / the computer much during the day. I try to check my email in the morning. Other than that, I'm hanging out with my children. Reading to them. Playing at the park. Cleaning up mess. Changing diapers. Making meals. Fixing drinks. Creating fun games. The list is endless.

The one lull in my day is naptime (sadly, not MY naptime). When I get both children to sleep at once (a near-miracle), that is sacred, quiet writing time. Writing time means that my word processing software is open on my computer, internet browser is closed and my fingers are tapping out my novels.

When I log in to social media websites at night, after I've finished chores, writing and other work (I also consult part-time for a super awesome IT company), I've missed most active conversations on social media. I may click "like" for posts I enjoy or attempt to follow conversations on twitter, but for the most part, I'm not engaging with others. I'm not forming e-relationships or chatting about news and personal posts.

Because I am not getting this real-time interaction, it's hard to connect with readers and writers. I love it when a reader or writer reaches out via e-mail. It's a slower form of communication, which means I can keep up with it.

What does this mean for me as a writer?

From a connecting with readers perspective, I'm missing out on chatting and e-meeting some cool people.

From a business and book sales perspective, I have no idea.

I've seen authors with 50-visit blog tours and reading/reviewer clubs and a thousand followers on twitter and dozens of facebook posts daily. I've seen authors drumming up book reviews and facebook likes. I am sure these authors love the all-day-long interaction and I assume they are full-time writers. When I had a Monday-Friday 9-5pm office job, my boss would have been less-than-thrilled if I had been cruising around on social media all day. I have no idea how these social media moguls are getting words on the page for their books, but I imagine they are awesome multi-taskers.

I'm not clueless. I'm tuned into the buzzwords: discoverability, sell-through, hybrid author. I am aware a writer needs some promotion/marketing plan.

Here's mine:
1. Write books. Write the best books I can. Repeat.
2. Read a select number of blogs about publishing and/or run by readers/writers. Just the ones I actually enjoy.
3. Keep my website up to date. If anyone wants to know anything about my books, it's there. Or, there's a place where they can ask...via email.
4. Respond to everyone who emails my author account.

Simple. Perhaps not as effective as others, but it's the best I can do for now. Maybe if I ever turn Full Time Author and my children are in school during the day, I'll get to connect in more. Although by then, I imagine facebook and twitter will be archaic and there will be some new way to connect.