Sunday, March 2, 2014

#Overwhelmed #Bysocialmedia

After I sold my novel, I had a great conversation with my editor. We talked about future edits for the story. We talked about a possible sequel. And we talked about the importance of social media. #dontforgettotweet

My editor told me I “need to have an online presence.” She said I “need a Facebook page, a website, and a twitter account.” So I went ahead and set them all up, promising myself that I would maintain and update these three different platforms regularly. But this task hasn’t been easy. #suckattwitter

To be candid, I’m a bit baffled about how to integrate ongoing social media updates into my life. I understand that these updates, in particular stream of consciousness tweeting, is what keeps authors present in the their readers’ minds, so that when we DO have a big announcement, our readers will receive it. I get it. What I can’t quite figure out is what to blog / update / tweet about and when! Most days I’m grateful if I get in a few hours of writing and actually remember to brush my teeth. #notenoughtime

I follow many authors who tweet all day. Their tweets are frequently pithy and entertaining. If I tweeted all day, my feed would look something like this: 

Got dressed
Dropped kids off at school
Went to dog park
Ate lunch
Walked dog
Picked up kids from school
Drove kids to activities
Walked dog
Made dinner
Helped kids with homework
Put kids to bed
Walked dog
Tried to write
Went to sleep instead

Do most readers really want to read tweets about an author’s sick dog? Do they care if a successful author’s kid has a fever? #Boring. Right? I mean, seriously, who wants to read THAT in my twitter feed? If I actually tweeted my daily existence, I’d lose followers not gain them. When my dog or kid is sick … I’m usually #strugglingtosurvive the day … not tweeting about it.

And there’s something else that people don’t really talk much about. Sometimes Twitter makes me feel blue. Cliques form on Twitter – groups of authors band together and form alliances. They participate in “private” discussions that I’m not invited to join, but I can read verbatim. They share their success and promote the success of others. I know I should be happy for every single author whose book wins an award or reaches some huge publishing milestone, but as a struggling, poor, author who’s put in years and years and still needs a day job, I admit that sometimes being reminded of other people’s success is hard. Something about being that kind of voyeur frequently just makes me #feelinadequate.

I won’t even get into how baffled I am about how these online contests and giveaways work. I’m sure if I had the time, I could do more research and figure it out, but clearly, all these other authors have figured out something I haven’t. #timemanagement perhaps.

Still, regardless of my own virtual insecurities, having an online presence is critical in marketing books to YA readers. #igetit I guess what I really want to know is: How do authors find the time to write AND maintain such a strong online presence? How do they find the time to post clever Facebook updates and write regular, consistent blogs about the writing process?

I don’t want this blog entry to sound like a mad rant about social media, and I hope it doesn’t. Really, I’m venting about the disconnect between current social media expectations and the reality of my own life. Is it possible to find the balance? Is it possible to master social media and write my next book? #whatdoyouthink

Share your comments here or with me @sharirbecker. Then you can follow my bi-weekly tweets about #mydog, #mykids, and oh yeah! #mybooks.


Anonymous said...

I can totally understand the overwhelming feeling. Entering Twitter is like going to a big cocktail party in which you don't know anyone and everyone else seems to know each other. But I try to think of it (and other social media) as a way to share fun stuff--cool links, humorous moments from the day (less "made dinner" and more "dachshund in a fisherman sweater sighting!"), and writing encouragement/ideas. I also find it helpful as a way to connect with people I've met in real life but don't necessarily get to see everyday, like friends from college and people I've met at conferences/retreats. It can take a little while to get used to, but I think it's a lot of fun and not just for "building your writer brand."

Tracy Bilen said...


Kristin Lenz said...

Funny, Tracy! Shari - you should add a photo of your cute dog to this post. :)

Shari Becker said...

Annie, thanks so much for the twitter pep talk. I definitely need to find my twitter groove. Maybe I should have posted my doodle in a hoodie photo from our last storm. Of course, Kristin was way ahead of me on that one! #haha, Tracy.

Lisa Tapp said...

What a great post! Thanks for making me laugh, and helping me feel I'm not alone is the social media haze of confusion. I haven't found my stride, either.

Kurt Hampe said...

I've heard this both ways. One agent insisted that an author should have a full-on web presence before even submitting, while another shrugged and said it wouldn't matter even after the book was sold. Probably the best advice is to pursue the media that you'll stay on top of day in and day out.

Colette Ballard said...

Great Post, Shari! I am so with you. I was not on any social media when my book sold and eight months in i'm still trying to figure it out:) #timemanagementfailure