As an author, I often hear a cacophony of opposing voices when it comes to using social media as an effective promotional tool.
- “An amazing opportunity” (Kindepreneur)
- “Post cover reveals” (Bookbub)
- “Quality over quantity followers.” (Web Design Relief)
- “Keep track of your time.” (Psychology Today)
- “Take a Break.” (Monica Zent)
While all these have some merit, that last one, Monica Zent, speaks the loudest to me. Take a break. And I’ve taken a bit of one. No, not fully since I also manage social media for a small publisher, but I’ve scaled back on my overall social media presence. Why? Because I was receiving nothing in return for my efforts. We Humans need motivation to continue a task unless we find it personally gratifying from the beginning. We’re wired this way so what happened when I put heavy time and energy into social media only to see little if any results as an author? Burnout and a weighty cloud of why the hell should I?
To quote Winnie the Pooh, “Oh, bother.”
(Disclaimer: I’m not trying to support myself and/or my family with my writing. I’ve never been able to do so. If you’re trying to do so, this isn’t the place for you to be.)
No one cares what I do, right? Possibly not, but that’s defeatist thinking. So what do I do about it? Well, first things first. Here’s a little about my current social media presence that has worked until recently.
I don’t wish to hear you
evangelize for whatever
platform you worship upon.
- Twitter: I don’t delve into politics (I save that for the voting booth), am selective in who I follow, and engage just as carefully. This has resulted in very slow growth and occasional decrease in followers. I’m okay with that. Quality over quantity. Web Design Relief is correct on that one.
- Facebook author page: this is widely a desert zone. Seriously. I don’t know what to do with it. No matter how I’ve tried to engage people, nada. Whatever. I’m plugging away with zero expectations and, no, I’m not sinking money into it because why? Facebook promo doesn’t seem to influence my work. (No, I don’t care to hear your success story, thanks. My numbers speak louder than your tale ever will.)
- Instagram: see Facebook author page.
- Website: moderate, meaning tiny success. I have some followers, perhaps you if your reading this post. I have minimal likes and comments but those widely derive from other authors and only if I comment on their work first so is this success at all? Sigh. I like my website, but I am admittedly struggling with content. It all feels stale.
- Blog Tours w/ New Releases: these seem to do… okay? I can’t say they help my sales, but they do get my material out there and the cost is modest.
- There is no number six because I’m not willing to put effort into any other platforms. I tried Tumblr. That was enough, thanks. (Again, I don’t wish to hear you evangelize for whatever platform you worship upon. Frankly, I’m exhausted from hearing such things.)
So the website feels stale. Blog tours don’t noticeably increase sales. My Facebook author page and Instagram are a bust. Twitter is meh. I’m just a ball of social media encouragement, aren’t I?
And before you ask, yes, this attitude has slid onto my personal Facebook page but not into my writing. That said, I am afraid of the latter happening, so I am addressing the issue here and now. I love writing. It’s my safe space. I write for myself first and foremost. My readers are extremely important to me, but the act of creation is where it’s at. I publish because others appreciate my work (three awards and numerous shortlists to date), which is pure gravy. Even so, I try to share and promote my work on some level. It’s an often terse dichotomy between artistic expression and necessarily getting myself out “there” as an author.
So what’s an author to do?
(insert deep cleansing breath here)
A mental adjustment is in order.
Creativity above all else. Repeat as needed.
- Beginning next month, I’ll do one, repeat, one author game per month – and I don’t expect much back from others involved. This is not an equal playing field. It never has been and never will be. Takers are going to take all they can and give nothing in return.
- Beginning this week, I’ll attend two author chats a month. I should keep my feet wet in the community after all.
- Blog posts: These auto-share on Twitter, so I’m good there.
- Engagement: I will engage only as I feel inclined and expect nothing in return. Polite conversation, even in the form of a like, isn’t a thing these days. Social media moves too fast.
- Tags: if I am tagged, I will play along at least 50% of the time. This is called being sociable. I need to shed a few of my introvert ways.
- Facebook Author Page: – Because of Facebook’s continual pay-to-play numbing of content on author pages, I’m not doing much there. Perhaps I’ll share interesting content a bit more often. That’s about it but, again, I expect little in return.
- Instagram: One post a week, two on a good week, but the minimum one must be writing-related. Steady as she goes. I’ll not break records, but I’ll be there.
- This website:
- Post creation – I’ll be writing my Wednesday and Saturday posts in batch fashion, a month at a time, from here on out because I’m simply more consistent when I do. I’ll edit and tinker with each post the Monday before they are shared.
- Other posts – I’ll create one post, something, an aesthetic, a… something every week. No promises as to what this will be, how short, how long, how anything, but it’ll be new content. This sounds fun. I like spontaneity to a point, and I’ve returned to mixed media art so I might share some of that. Who knows?
- My Fool Expectations: My author social media presence will now reflect my love of creativity above all else. I’ll no longer post with promotion, expected comments (though those are certainly nice when they come), shares, or any other reason solely in mind. It’s a change in mindset and fairly well goes against most every author media promotion idea out there, but I’m fine with this. Since when have I walked the well-beaten path on anything in this life?
Input – pure creativity
Expected Outcome – I’m setting none because doing so is setting myself up for disappointment. I’ll enjoy the creative process. That’s enough.
(Note: despite what I said above about appreciating comments, I never offer the space on this sort of blog post. Someone long before you ruined this so the blame rests squarely on their shoulders.)