Wow, there is just endless social media out there these days. Remember when it was just Friendster and no one really knew what that was? Now Facebook dominates along with Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Hyper, Bebo, Ello, This, and a million other new things cropping up daily.
How’s a writer supposed to keep up? There’s only one sane way, in my opinion, and that is to only use what you enjoy.
It’s true that writers need to do the majority of their own book marketing these days. So wouldn’t it make sense to have an author page on Facebook populated by tweets and Tumblr posts? Why not get that information out there in all the ways possible?
Put yourself on the other end of that. You have a writer friend. You’re plugged into four or five shared outlets. Suddenly, your interface is blowing up with all the same “mybookmybookmybook” information. Ugh. Is that what friendship is these days? It’s not, really. Is it? (Note to self: Stop this blog from pushing out to Tumblr because I don’t really use it enough.)
Social media is for a lot more than marketing and letting the world know we’ve got books to sell them. It’s a party, and it really works best when people engage with one another to build and support a community. Some parties are fundraisers, but no one wants to go to a fundraiser every day.
To roll with this analogy: Some people can go to all the parties alone and have a great time. Some people need a hand to hold at just one. This is why God invented @ and #. Those silly little symbols allow us to shout across the void and say “Hey @, I hear you and I think #.”
Self-promotion is good. Building relationships within a community is better. Figuring out which social media works for you doesn’t need to be hard. If you find yourself saying “Ugh, I guess I better join Twitter, gross,” then it’s probably not the platform for you. Anytime you find yourself forcing a post or a tweet or a #whatever, then that particular social media outlet isn’t working for you, and it becomes anti-social media. You’re the person at the party who was dragged by a friend who promptly ditched you in the corner, scowling.
If you’re not sure which social media you like best, it’s okay to make an account here and there and lurk and see how the party rolls. You gotta read the room so you’re not the lampshade guy in a room full of low-talking highbrows.
If you don’t know people at the party, start small. Make conversation. Listen. Respond. Speak directly and clearly. Invite others into your fold. Retweet.
And please, for the love of all of your new social media friends, post about things that are not your book. If all I read are excerpts of your WIP, or that you’ve changed your title again, or that the Kindle edition is now only $1.99 without finding out that you crashed your hoverboard or made meatballs or heard a great joke this weekend, the party will turn on you. Be a good guest. You don’t have to go to all the parties, but you should have fun at the parties you do go to.
And above all, fix me a cocktail.