Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping Up Isn't Just For The Joneses Anymore

As a new author, I'm continually inundated with suggestions for getting myself out there. FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, our own InkSpot, this blog, that blog, start your own blog, keep up with multiple yahoo mystery-and-non-mystery groups...my brain forms a perfect whirling dervish thinking about it all.

I do have a website, and a FaceBook account which I've been using to periodically put forth new information about my writing. However, I find I often contract a recurring case of "I ran out of time, AGAIN!" and even with the best of intentions, I can't seem to make all these things happen. So, I turn to you, my seasoned Midnight Ink co-authors, and ask how you balance your on-line time? Which venues earn your attention and why? How do you manage accounts with the Big Three (FaceBook, MySpace, and Twitter--oh man, I can hardly stand the thought of "tweeting, twittering, chirping, or quacking!") and all the blogs and yahoo groups to boot? I fear I'll get sucked into the vast social networking wilderness and fall into the ever-after great beyond if I'm not careful.

I'm more than willing to do just about anything to help promo not only my writing, but all of our books. I'll sit in a dunk tank, take a pie in the face, hang out at a promo table at conferences and harrass (OH! I mean talk nicely) to passerbys about our (dead and undead) bodies of work. But for the life of me I haven't been able to conquer that promotional-time-well-spent in the jungles of social networkdom.
So, bring me your poor, your tired--OH, excuse me, wrong mantra! Let me try that again. So, bring my any and all ideas you have about how you juggle your precious time and what works the best for you...heaven knows I'll take all the advice I can get :-)

Jessie Chandler


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Well, it's a constant struggle. And the game plan changes every day with my kids' schedules. But I schedule tweets ahead with Social Oomph, I Facebook less-often (maybe every other day), and I try to develop ideas for blogging at least a little ahead.

I think My Space is mostly kids and musicians, so I don't have a presence there--I'm developing one on Good Reads, but it's going slowly because I've been busy.

I set a timer for social media. And I write on the go.

Good luck!

Lois Winston said...

I think we all deal with this and yearn for the days when all an author had to do was write the next book, maybe do an occasional book signing.

I would suggest forgetting about MySpace. It's pretty much passe. Beth Groundwater turned me on to Goodreads, and I'm finding that's a great place to connect with readers. I'm a one-woman campaign against Facebook. I HATE it and refuse to use it.

I do blog. I have my own character blog and usually spend an hour or two a week working ahead on that so I never feel pressured by it. I tweet the topic of the day each morning. That takes all of 30 seconds. I don't use Twitter for anything else.

Group blogs are great because you don't have a daily commitment, and they generally have more followers than an individual blog unless you already have a huge following as an author. Along with Inkspot, I was invited to take part in the 7 Criminal Minds blog. So I wind up doing Inkspot once a month and 7 Criminal Minds once every 2 weeks.

The trick is to set certain limits for yourself. You can't do everything, and you can't beat yourself up for not doing enough. Do what you feel comfortable doing. If it stresses you out, that's going to impact adversely on your writing. You have to remember that your #1 job is to write that next book. If you can't do that, all the other stuff isn't going to matter.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I've boiled my daily social networking down to Facebook and Twitter and use TweetDeck, a program that allows me to write one short entry and post it simultaenously to both places. I catch up on recent news on FB only about 3x a day and for no more than 5 minutes at a time. I don't just use FB for promotion, it's also where I connect with family and friends. FB has been the BEST place for me to promote my books online, but I do not overdue it. I've found that my readers enjoy knowing about me as much, if not more, than having my books shoved at them. A lot of my FB followers are now showing up at my signings.

I have curtailed a lot of my Yahoo groups and those I'm still involved with I keep up through daily digests and almost never post in the groups. I'm on Goodreads but do not get wrapped up in it. For me, it takes too much time, but is still a valuable resource. I've totally abandoned My Space and Linked.

I blog here and on a personal blog and guest blog when invited, but I've found my personal blogging has diminished since I started using FB. I try to post about once a week, sometimes twice, when a topic moves me or I have something special to promote. But I just don't blog for blogging's sake. And, again, I don't use my blog just for pushing my writing. A lot of my readers who aren't on FB follow my blog and can read my most recent tweets there.

Jessie, you will learn in time what works best for you. It's the old throw it against the wall and see what sticks. What is defnitely sticking for me right now is Facebook.

Keith Raffel said...

Jessie, you've just hit on why I write at a cafe where I don't have internet access. Email, Twitter, Facebook -- they're too diverting. As to what works, remember what department store magnate John Wanamaker said: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." (That's probably not a good thing for me to write since I started a company in part to remedy that problem.)

Oh, BTW, I just tried to "friend" you on Facebook.

Darrell James said...

Jessie- It does become overwelling at times. I've actually come to like Facebook. It's allowed me to connect with hunreds of childhood and high school friends that I wouldn't have had a clue how to find otherwise. I have a rule about apps. (I don't do them, "period".) And I don't Twitter or Myspace.

If I had to advise against "Time Wasters" for me it would be "shoot the televsion". It's become the worst of all.

Beth Groundwater said...

You have to pick & choose; you can't do it all. Of course, every author has to have a website. And I send out an email newsletter about 4 times a year.

I have a Facebook account, because that's where my kids, nieces & nephews hang out. So, I use it for promotion, too. I can barely think of a daily update for Facebook, let alone come up with more frequent tweets, so I don't belong to Twitter. Or MySpace.

I also think an author should be an active member of one of the reading social networks (Goodreads, Library Thing, Shelfari), and I chose Goodreads. As I wrote in an article on Goodreads that I just turned in for the updated Sisters in Crime publication, SHAMELESS PROMOTION FOR BRAZEN HUSSIES, if a stranger walks up to me at a signing and says they first met me on-line, it's most likely to have been through Goodreads.

Lastly, I have my own blog (which feeds into Goodreads and Facebook) and blog here and check my yahoogroups about twice a week.

Vicki Doudera said...

I Facebook -- my readers seem to like participating in the little successes along the way -- and I get nice feedback. I have a website (crucial as far as credibility goes) and a blog that I write every few weeks. Topics totally vary. I enjoy Inkspot, although I can't seem to get in the groove of checking in on a daily basis, hence my infrequent (but oh so insightful!) comments.

I agree with Lois that the top priority is producing the fiction, and, like Keith, I keep my writing times technology-free.

Alice Loweecey said...

I use Facebook more than Twitter, and haven't done enough with Goodreads yet. Social networking is a time-sink to be sure, but I had a fan recognize my name because I posted on FB--so it's worthwhile to keep them up. Within reason--until someone invents 36-hour days. :D

G.M. Malliet said...

What IS it about MySpace? I just gave up on it finally, and I can't tell you why exactly.

Looking forward to the new movie coming out about the guys who started Facebook.