Social Media Melt Down

When I found out my agent had read my blog I was more than a little surprised.

“You read my blog!?”

She seemed to think this was funny and pointed out that since my manuscript was out with editors they probably were going to do a little google stalking of their own. They might have a hard time stalking me because there really isn’t much out there about me under my real name and nothing under my pen name. I figured I could start doing all that social media stuff when somebody actually bought my book but I guess promoting yourself never starts too early.

But where to begin?

My agent recommended that I join Twitter. Sigh. I did and have a whopping 62 followers. But I honestly don’t get Twitter. Yes, I can see the potential. I can see that it’s a way to connect with others but I’m finding it more like a chore than anything and yet I find myself spending exorbitant amounts of time on there reading other people’s tweets.

My issues…

  • Unlike Facebook I don’t get that homey getting to know you feeling from Twitter. I hardly know any of the people who I follow and therefore don’t find myself interested in what they have to say. And a lot of what they have to say is buy my book. I don’t see the pictures of their lives or see how they have changed over the years. I don’t know their birthdays. And while Facebook may seem a little voyeuristic I like it because you really can find out a lot about a person just by looking at their page. (Not that I’m saying I don’t have my issues with that site, but I’ll get to that next week.)
  • I’m a little long-winded and find the 140 character limit slighty restrictive. I had a really cute anecdote to tell to my 62 followers but no matter how I tried to cut it down there was no way I could fit it into 140 characters. That’s less than a text message.
  • Most people are not as interesting as they think they are. I don’t really care that you need to do laundry or that you ran out of milk. Mundane is boring and I fully admit to not being the most exciting tweeter.
  • The numerous people I have had to block who are mostly porn spammers.(Eww)
  • Anybody can follow you or see your tweets and while there is a setting to make your Twitter feed private that seems to go against the whole point of it. People can be mean and have no problem saying nasty things. This week alone a celebrity I follow was threatened with violence all because she asked where she could find a good poker club.
  • The people who only tweet snippets of their book or links to buy their books dozens of times in a day. Really? Do you honestly think that people want to be constantly bombarding with your book. How about you talk about your process of writing the book, or some of the ups and downs you face as a writer.

I don’t plan on canceling my account anytime soon and am going to try really hard to collect followers like little trophies but as of yet I’m not sure how this is going to help book sales. How many of you have bought a book from an author just because they kept tweeting about it? Does a big internet presence really make all that big a difference? As a reader I have never visited my favorite author’s website, much less looked her up on Twitter.

That being said I don’t think it’s all bad. Where Facebook might be limited to the people you know Twitter can introduce you to people on a global scale. And I’m going to keep plugging away to get where I need to be.

However, I just want to write. I need to get those thousand words in everyday come hell or high water and really don’t need many more distractions.

So tell me what is your favorite social media outlet? Do you tweet? Will you follow me? Think it makes a big difference book sales? How do you spend your time avoiding writing? Any and all comments are welcome.

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11 thoughts on “Social Media Melt Down”

  1. Welcome to the Twttersphere, Jamie. I will follow you immediately after posting this, although I may not find you since you didn’t tell us your twitter handle:-)

    Social media is as much an exercise as it is a means to an end. Although you might not buy a book that is being tweeted about ten times a day, you might find a great blog that someone does about how to tweet in 140 characters. And BTW, your subconcious is registering that ten time twitter screamer, and you might just remember their name. Social media is all about exposure and name recognition. It’s about connecting with your target audience and letting them get to know you enough that they will want to be a part of your writing journey, and hopefully will want to share in your success by buying your book or helping you spread the word about it to others.

    If you are seeing someone’s tweets ten times in one day, though, you or they, are on twitter far too often. The acceptable ratio of tweets to promo is 9:1 That means that nine tweets should be about you, your writing life, your dog, or some other amusing tidbit, while one tweet can be a “buy my book” shout out. The theory is that people who are interested in you will be be interested in your book. Most of my tweets are about blogs I’m writing, other people’s books that I’m helping to promote, or a random factoid I find interesting. I tweeted last night “Just uploaded #SavageCinderella to B&N and Smashwords! Yayyy! Now to deal with auto vettor errors…ick!”
    So, in a funny way I told folks that they would soon be able to get SC on new distribution channels, but I combined it with my indie-pub journey. It is amazing what you can learn to do in 140 characters. It teaches you to be concise and boil your message down to the bare bones.

    You are also building a network of people who could potentially help you when the day comes to promote your book. It’s amazing when someone retweets my tweet about Savage Cinderella going FREE to their 20,000 followers. That is some serious free advertising. A year ago, social media seemed like a giant monster that would take over my life. With some practice and self-dicipline, I’m learning to use it as it was intended…as a way to connect to readers and multiply my sphere of influence. Resistance is futile…embrace the monster.

  2. I do a lot of ReTweeting. I use Hootsuite where I run topic-based searches. The thing is, I’ve made some good contacts, people I wouldn’t have “met” via Facebook. I try to keep my tweets along the lines of horse news, writing and personal which includes pop culture remarks. Pop culture works really well.

  3. Buy Kristen Lamb’s social media book/s and/or start reading her blog. I struggled with Twitter, too, but it is actually a lot easier to build a following and a momentum than on facebook where many of your friends won’t even see your posts. And you’re right, spammy posts are useless, but it is possible to engage socially online. Good luck!

  4. For everyone looking to follow Jamie – her twitter handle is @SugarJamison.

    Jamie – when I started with Twitter, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. After almost a year, I’m still fumbling around (but I’ve learned to unfollow people who want to spam me buy links and the pornbots). One thing I do know, I don’t use it as often and I’ve pulled back from social media to make more time to write.

    A suggestion to get more followers – go through someone else’s list of followers (like mine or TLCosta) and follow those people. Many will follow you back. This will increase the variety of people whose tweets you see and should cut down on all the shameless self promotion. Right now, you are kind of a captive audience. I follow all kinds of people (not just writers or readers). It makes the twitter feed more interesting that way!

  5. Jamie, I think I already follow you on Twitter. I’m on there, but frankly I don’t have the time to tweet every 15 minutes. I try to devote my time to one branch of media (FB). I am on Twitter, but I admit I post and view it infrequently. It is fast, I agree. I suppose I should do it more. Let me go over there and see if I am following you … I can’t even tell you how many followers I have … that’s how infrequently I’m on there.

  6. Jamie, I love the bird working at her computer. Don’t be surprised if you see her in my email. Okay? Paula’s advice for you is top-o-the-line. Print it out, read, reread, and read again. When you begin a business, networking is most important. Get your name to be a household word. You have lots of years to work on it, it doesn’t happen overnight. Do pick and choose though. I will look for you and follow, but I don’t have anyone but two unknowns following me. I would be pleased to have our writing group following me, and I will follow them, but I have no time to play on twitter.

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