Thursday, June 6, 2013

Social Media and Lemmings

I've been writing all my life. I've been a blogger for almost 4 years (I think. I lose track of time.) I've been on Twitter for about a year. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads et al. for about the same.

When I first started writing seriously with the aim to be published (about 7 years ago), I was going to pursue the traditional avenue. Of course, not having a clue how to do it, I thought I'd just write a book and submit it to a big name publisher and wah-la, my book would be published and I'd be an instant success.

Okay, you can wipe the smirk off your face. (People tell me I'm a young soul in an old body. I don't know much.) One of the mommys in my daughter's preschool told me one day I should blog. I had no idea what she was talking about. (I was still separating chapters with line breaks in my ms. so that should tell you how "young" my soul really was.)

Once I got on the blogs and learned my way around, the "guru's" (those who knew better than I) said I needed to build my platform and one blog just wouldn't cut it. I had to be everywhere. Enter social media. So I joined all those other places. Because they said I should. (Lemming anyone?)

Two years ago, I made the decision to self-publish. It was a decided learning curve, but I did it, it was fun, and I made some money at it. During the course of 2012, I published 5 novels, 6 novellas and two collections of shorts. Three of the novels, and 5 novellas were brand new -- meaning I wrote them all in 2012.

Can I just say, that's a lot of work. Not only the writing, but the editing, revising, proofing, formatting, reformatting (learning curve) and then the uploading. Couple that with blogging, marketing, "socializing on social media" and then moving last summer and I'm exhausted.

In January of this year I published my 4th novel. In March, I published my 5th. I made one announcement on my blog for each and one Tweet. And that was all the socializing I did.

And you know what, my books are selling. Not the way they used to (Amazon changes their algorithms a couple of times a year so it's anyone's guess who's going to come out ahead anymore.) But they're selling. You know why? Because I have a bunch of books out. You know why? Because I realized early on that the only way to market successfully was to just keep writing. (Okay, maybe I read it on the blogs somewhere.)

The last time I checked my Twitter feed, I played on it for 4 hours. Did I get any writing done? No.
The last time I checked my Pinterest page, I was on it for about the same. Did I get any writing done? No.
No one's really sure what LinkedIn is for, but when I go there, I'm usually there for a couple of hours. Do I get any work done? No.

So what's the point of social media if all we do is socialize? I don't give a shit what you had for lunch, or what color the blouse is you saw in the shop window. I don't want to socialize, I want to write.

I'm sick and tired of listening to all those people who say we need to socialize to sell our books. Why?

I write in a niche market. There are only so many people who read what I write. (And I read recently that Regency romance is dead again. It comes and goes in cycles and we're entering the go cycle now.) I don't want to waste my time trying to brow beat someone into reading what I write if they don't want to.

On my Twitterfeed there are thousands of Tweets a day for books I will never read. 5star review feeds I will never look at. Guru's say spamming is not the way to do it, you have to "socialize" for people to read your books. I call bullshit. Those people who spam Tweets are selling books. That's called marketing and promotion. But I won't do it.

I did. Oh yes, I did for books 1-3. Did it work? I have no clue. All I know is that it was a giant time suck trying to figure out buy links and and then promoting my friends books because that was also part of the marketing plan (because someone on the blogs said that was how to get attention to your book -- reciprocity and all that -- yeah, again bullshit, very few retweeters). So I stopped doing it. What's the point.

I'm not a lemming. I'm a writer. I'm reclusive and shy, don't really socialize at home so why should I do it at work. When I was a chef I'd put in 15 hour days. When I worked in transportation I worked 12 hour days. Why should I think writing is any different.

When I was writing last year my days were broken up into 4 hour chunks of time for writing. Obviously it worked. Look at my titles. You can't do that playing around with social media. Okay, I can't do that. But there are lots of writers who can. Good for them. I'm not one of them.

I'm not going to drive myself into a nervous breakdown just to bring in a 1000 units a month. Sure that would be fantastic, but I just don't have it in me. I have a daughter, elderly and ill parents to take care of, and 3 acres of lawn to mow every week. Sitting down and playing at Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and all the rest is just crazy. I don't have the time. Especially if my writing time is limited. (School is out next week.)

So social media is fine and all if you can hack it. If it helps you sell books, good for you.

Me, I'm just going to write.

Robynne Rand (c) 2013


J.B. Chicoine said...

I'm so glad you write posts like this because then I don't have to! Amen to all that.

Robynne Rand said...

LOL. Blogging is hard enough. Who has time for all that other stuff?