Another author recently wrote me “I am struggling, not without hope, to get over being overwhelmed by social media demands. A great tool, but where do you find the time to work on your writing?”
The answer to this question has long intrigued me. Especially when several people comment on my social expertise.
My first thought is, Moi? Surely you jest.
Several authors tell me they put as much time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. I’ve read some of their work.
I totally agree they put as much if not more time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. It shows. I want to ask “Do you want to be liked or do you want people to like your work?”
I mean, you can drown in the crap that’s out there now. One fellow asked me to write a review of his book. I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. I declined and politely suggested he get an editor to go review it. He already had an editor. Two, in fact, and a story coach and a publisher.
Really? And your book still sucks this much? Amazing.
For myself, craft is everything. I want my writing to stop people in their tracks. I want their world to go away and my world to take precedence. Could be why reviews of my work include statements about missing bus stops, staying up through the night reading, things like that. One person, at a recent reading, commented that my subject matter was painful but the writing pulled them right into the story. Yes!
So social marketing comes second or third or forty-fifth to me. I don’t do it every day.
I also have another rule for social marketing; enjoy it. If you’re going to do it, enjoy it. Make it pleasurable. Do it to give yourself and others a smile.
Here’s what I suggested when asked:
I only go social when I need a break from my writing. To me, developing my craft and producing product (stories, et cetera) is everything. I believe that producing quality work causes everything else to happen, so developing my craft comes first.
Sometimes I need a break. Maybe I’m stuck on a plot point, maybe a character isn’t behaving, maybe I’m just tired of developing a storyline. Okay, go online and say hello to a few folks.
I also have a core belief that we’re here to help each other succeed, that a success for any one of us is a success for all of us, so I trumpet others’ successes as much if not more than my own.
So work on your craft first. Go social when you need a break, need to warm up, something like that.
Behavioral economists reading this will go all blathery about altruism, freeloaders, cheaters, et cetera.
Don’t waste your time. I wrote that I do it when I need a break and because I enjoy seeing people succeed; a rising tide kind of thing and maybe they’ll remember me when… So much for altruism. I’m not looking for reciprocity. So much for freeloaders and cheaters. Besides, I reward people who help me – I promote them through my mailing lists – so freeloaders and cheaters die off quickly.
May not be the best strategy. Works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you.