Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Social Media and Me

A former pastor, Dr. Bruce McIver, used to tell me that the hardest part of his job wasn't preaching to the unchurched, but keeping the churched from leaving. I thought of this recently as I considered what it takes for an author to get and keep readers. And the hardest part isn't writing. It's not crafting a synopsis or back cover copy. It's not even getting a contract or arranging for indie-publication. It's keeping up with social media. What made me think of all that? This YouTube video, wherein the speaker talks about leaving social media altogether. I highly recommend that you watch it.

For writers, of course, this is heresy. We're told we need a "platform," whatever that is, and have to be on every form of social media in order to "get our name out there." Yet pull most folks in the publishing industry aside where no one will hear, say you won't quote them, and they'll admit that the best advertising is word-of-mouth--and the most effective way to get that is by writing excellent books. So where should we spend our time--building a "platform" or writing?

On my walk a couple of mornings ago, I thought about the time spent writing this blog, finding posts for my FB fan page, checking occasionally for comments on my Goodreads page, and sometimes visiting the pages I've established at Pinterest. All of this is time that I could spend working on my next novel.

So here's what I plan to do. I'm taking the month of December off from posting on this blog (unless I have something important to say). I'll probably post on my FB fan page occasionally, but not necessarily every day. My visits to other social media sites will continue, but they'll be limited. And I intend to spend the time I save on the planning and thinking that goes into writing a good book...maybe a couple.

I'll see you again in January...probably. Meanwhile, try limiting your own social media involvement. You may like it.


EM Griffith said...

Publishers today seem to spend/do less for publicity than they did 20 years ago, relying more on authors' self promotion. It's odd, because writing is a solitary, somewhat isolating job and most writers are more introverted by nature of their craft. "Word of mouth" really IS how popularity for an author spreads. I suppose that's where social media now comes in? Reviews are important (IMHO). That's how I've found new authors to follow. Including you! Some women's magazines include a small section every month with recommended books to read, for example, and I've bought a few that caught my interest... passing them on to family or friends when I've finished reading, and watching for new releases from the author.
Hope your December is filled with peace, joy and productivity! God bless you.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Elise. I always like to hear encouraging words like these. Blessings on you and yours as we swing into the holiday season.

Quiltedchicken said...

I enjoy reading your blog and your posts, but given a choice, I would take your books. Your blogs and posts are insightful, thought provoking and intelligent--refreshing on social media. Your books take me to different places and introduce me to different people--I relish that! Do what you must to create more great stories!
I think I too, will limit my online time this month. There are many other things I could be doing, like reading more books! I hope to get more control over my time to do what I like to do and need to do.
Thank you for the wonderful writing you give us. God bless you and yours and have a very Merry Christmas!

Richard Mabry said...

Thank you, Claudia, for those kind words. You're not the first to tell me they are going to limit their social media time this coming month. We'll see what happens. And Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Patricia Bradley said...

I don't blame you, Richard. I've thought about taking time off, but haven't yet. I'm actually featuring Medical Judgment on my blog this week. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, as I said in an earlier response, others have told me they plan to limit their social media participation this month. Thanks for featuring Medical Judgment on your blog--I'll do my best to get by there. Best wishes.