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Appreciation,  Gratitude,  Great information,  On Writing,  promoting

Are We Lost in #Social Oblivion?

Social marketing

 

Today I’m going to share my thoughts here on the madness of social media, and book promoting, and our constant battle to keep up with everything social media to stay afloat with our presence.

 

I’m speaking for myself, but I know my thoughts are shared by many a writer. As writers, we all develop our routines, and although every one of us has our own methods of tackling our ‘to do’ lists, if we’re writing books, much of what we do will involve ways to market our books using social media.

 

With the explosion of new authors and books in the past few years, there are waves of cries to ‘buy my book’ in order to be heard through a sea of social media blasts. I sometimes feel as though I’m drowning in that sea. But I don’t wish to become one of the ‘hard sell’ authors, and I don’t even spend nearly enough time or dollars doing the amount of marketing I’m urged to do through all the social outlets I follow and with all the subscriptions I read from newsletters telling me about another method to push my books.

 

Sure I read many articles to stay abreast. I’ll bookmark pertinent information and save it to Evernote for the time I’m ready to tackle it. But with all I read, I still can’t bring myself to become an aggressive marketer. I have my daily routine planned the night before with my list of things to accomplish, and that keeps my plate full as it is. As much as I want to try a million new ideas out, there are only so many hours in a day. So I prioritize with my book writing days and my blog post days. I’ve learned what social media sites I gravitate to most. I’ve built friendships and followers who I can chat with, share with, or just have a simple ‘thank you’ for sharing rapport with for dedicated sharers. I read many blogs, and like and comment where I feel like contributing, and if I enjoyed a post, I’ll share it to my social sites.

 

This routine I have was never a strategy to gain followers, but somehow it had led me to gathering readers and making some wonderful friends along the way. This is who I am, and I don’t wish to conform to being one of those hounds shouting hashtags to ‘buy my book’.

 

And what may have prompted me to write this you may be thinking?

 

I came across an article yesterday while reading my morning newsletter subscriptions. This is part of my morning routine with coffee in hand, my morning newspaper. I check my personal emails first thing in the morning, and catch up on what’s going on with the writing and publishing world with my Indie newsletters. This is usually when I send out my Twitter tweets while I’m reading articles. Some also get sent to Google and Linkedin and my Facebook author page. But I check Twitter once a day only, every morning, because I have a lot of writers that follow me, and I know some will find these posts informative because I’m sure that’s why they followed me in the first place. I know my posts are interesting to some because I’ve gained quite a few followers in the past few years, and I can honestly say I never search for people to follow, they find me, and I decide if I will follow back based on the criteria I have for following back.

 

My usual stipulations for NOT following back are: They use an egg as a replacement for a photo, no bio or website, hard sellers, or promisers to get you hundreds of followers for a price, or of course pornographic posts. I don’t hesitate to follow someone just because they may have few followers. I’m not looking for popularity, but sincerity and something informative offered. I always follow back authors because I believe if they took the time to follow my posts they’re eager to learn, especially if they’re new and just starting their platforms. This is just the way I roll in life with the people I congregate with and develop friendships with. If they’re sincere, forthgiving, and informative, I’m in.

 

Now, the reason I’m sharing this here today goes back to 2 relevant posts I came across from 2 articles I read in parts from a writer, Delilah Dawson from Whimsydark.com. She wrote about herself not being one of ‘those authors’ who are constantly pushing their books at every opportunity. She makes a pertinent point in her post that if people like you, and like what you have to say they may just follow you and buy your books because of those qualities, and eventually, hopes that word of mouth become our best marketing tool. Her point is to keep writing and doing what works and states that current trends don’t necessarily dictate what works for everyone.

 

The articles resonated with me because that’s what I do. I do my thing, and socialize where I enjoy being best, not trying to dance at every wedding (every social site) because there just isn’t enough time to do everything. Below I will give you a sampling of the two posts with the link to continue reading. I think you will find them good reads.

 

http://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/13/please-shut-up-why-self-promotion-as-an-author-doesnt-work

“Spend your energy and time being kind to your colleagues, thanking your publishing team, and making new friends with no expectation that you will eventually use them to claw your way to the top. Before you Friend another writer on Facebook, make sure it’s because you legitimately want to know them better and be part of their life and not because you’re planning on sending them an Event invitation or a link to your book… Continue Reading 

 

And here is her follow up article:

 

http://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/14/wait-keep-talking-author-self-promo-that-actually-works

 

“Adding value means passing on truly helpful links, retweeting job listings or calls for submissions, wishing someone a happy launch day, recommending books you’ve enjoyed, discussing the news of the day in a respectful and thoughtful manner, talking about an upcoming event, or generally saying things that make someone’s day just a little brighter. Over time, people will begin to trust you as you repeatedly add value to their life…Continue Reading 

 

I hope you enjoy these posts and take something from them as I did. They confirmed to me that I’m doing just fine the way I’m doing.  And please feel free to leave me your comments because I’d like to know where you guys stand on the marketing front.

 

And PS, this article reminded about how lame I’ve actually been this year with a serious lack of book promos. So not to be pushy, lol, I’m giving you a heads up that my book, Words We Carry, will be free on Amazon all of next week. You can be sure I’ll post it. Yup, that’s the extent of my ‘buy my book’ process.

 

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

65 Comments

  • EDC Writing

    I’m in tune with almost every word of this … my bum note … I never make a list! In life I find it turns out best to be aware then be yourself, we are not here to be someone else. I like your style, it’s why I follow, I don’t read everything, does anyone of anyone, I know you’re here, that’s good enough for me.

    • dgkaye

      I love your honesty! I find it best to be aware, but couldn’t ever pretend to be anyone but myself. Thanks for chiming in on this one. And you are so right, you like what you read, you know it’s here when you’re passing by. That’s what the archives and tag words are there for. 🙂

  • writingandalcohol

    Thank you for sharing this one. I can relate with everything that you have written and your post reminded me to just keep building relationship and give to the world what I have to offer through my writing, never minding the sales. If God allows, it will follow, I do the writing first. Thank you again and I am learning so much from you 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much for your kind compliments. When I share articles I find useful here, it’s because it resonates with my own thinking. The essence of our books is the writing. Without the writing nothing else would matter. When people enjoy our words through getting to know about us socially, they are inclined to want to buy your books. Perhaps their books aren’t the greatest books ever written, but their values and voice resonate through the books, the voice we were attracted to in the first place. 🙂

  • marianbeaman

    You’ve encapsulated many of my sentiments here. To avoid overwhelm, I focus on Facebook and Twitter. I have found #1lineWed to be helpful in promoting my WIP. When I look at writer friends who post regularly on Pinterest and Instagram, I feel conflicted. But, oh well, we must sell this house and get properly moved to our new abode. Then I can concentrate fully on pushing my memoir to publication which will require my social media presence to be amped up a notch or two.

    Favorite line: “They use an egg as a replacement for a photo” – a turnoff for me too – ha!

    • dgkaye

      Hi Marian. Nice to see you peek out here for a moment from moving madness. Absolutely we have to feel out where our best audience is of all our social sites to learn where we should best focus our attentions. Every person is different. And yes, eggs are only good to eat, lol.
      Now get back to packing. 🙂

  • D. Wallace Peach

    I love the friendship part and hate the book promo part, Debby. Excerpts are fun and they fill a post slot, but the hard core “buy me book” is not fun or flattering. I do it when there’s a promo or news to share, but really would rather not. I find social media overwhelming and am constantly looking for ways to manage my time and give my virtual friends the attention they deserve. Sigh. Thanks for the links. I’m going to head over and take a look 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for your feedback Diana. I see we’re on the same page, and you will find more like in the links I attached from the articles. I agree, excerpts are fun. And of course it’s in ours and our readers best interests to post when our books go on sale, and let them know a bit about the book. The point of it all is not to overwhelm ourselves with trying to be everywhere every minute, and blatantly pushing people to buy our books. I believe in the ‘Field of Dreams’ theory, ‘If we build it, they will come’. We form friendships, readerships, share interesting info, and if people gravitate to us, then they’ll eventually get curious about our books, and then they can spread the word of mouth. Yes, it’s a process, but not a race. In the meantime, while we’re growing, we’re writing. 🙂

  • Ashley B. Davis

    I am not quite at this point yet with any books, and my poetry (and one story) is free. I hope those that choose to check my work out or even by the anthologies my other stories are in find me, like you say, through Twitter or stumble across my website and just like my vibe. I know that’s not enough in this scary world you’ve described, dg, it’s so not enough. But that’s where I’m at right now. Still writing/editing/revising my novels before I will try to market them. But when I get to that point, I’d like for those efforts to be as unimposing and sincere as yours. Also, I will definitely be checking out Words We Carry. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  • Lorna's Voice

    Did you write this post for me, Debby? 😉 You probably know I’m not a social media fan and am the worst self-promoter in the industry. I love (and live by) the philosophy that if I just keep being “me,” people will be drawn to me (versus pulling people toward me by being something that I’m not–pushy).

    I’m going back and forth about writing another book. The thing that is holding me back the most is marketing. I just don’t want to do all of that self-promotion stuff again. Grrrrrrr!

    • dgkaye

      Lol Lorna, I wrote this for all of us writers who wear too many hats. The article I read really grabbed me, and I know so many of us writers feel the same about marketing. Of course we have to give our books a boost occasionally and run a promo, but my promoting is just by mingling, sharing and making connections. If people like what we represent, then eventually, they may be interested in learning more about us by reading our books. There are only so many hours in a day, so we must choose wisely which avenues to spend time at. And of course, writing is number one priority.
      Don’t let the dread of marketing hold you back from creating! 🙂

  • elainemansfield

    Thank you, Debby. I’m always behind. Yes, the social media list is too long and I can’t keep it all going. I need to put writing first, so something has to give. I remember with a certain longing the writing of my book when I didn’t have a twitter address and did almost nothing on FB. I didn’t have a blog either. I wrote my book. I know I can fall into a black hole on FB and suddenly an hour is gone. So writing first, and exercise and a little joy and social media a little further down on the list. Thanks again for reminding me.

    • dgkaye

      You’re are doing magnificent Elaine! Writing does come first, without the words, nothing else would even factor in. And if we allowed ourselves, we could spend entire days babysitting all our social sites. We have to remain accountable to ourselves.
      Thanks for taking the time to stop in at this difficult time for you Elaine. <3

  • Teagan Geneviene

    Good for you Debby. Definitely do it your way. I’ve known from the beginning that I simply don’t have time to “do it right.” I try not to feel bad about it, but some times i do…
    Anyhow, just had to tell you we were in sync with the “Lost” title. You’ll see tomorrow at LinkedIn. Too funny. Getting offline now. Mega hugs.

    • dgkaye

      Lol Teag. I’ll be by tomorrow for some ‘Thrive’. And don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way. We all have our own ways, our priorities, and time constrictions. One day, Teag, one day at a time. <3

  • Damyanti Biswas

    You absolutely voice my thoughts. The very idea of saying ‘Buy my Books’ is a little nauseating. I make friends, and like to think I have a good community. If they like my book, they’ll buy it. If not, well, tough. I just have to keep writing 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Brava Damyanti. It seems this post has resonated with many. Let us all learn to loosen the pressure we put upon ourselves and continue to concentrate our efforts on what we do best, write. 🙂 If ‘they’ like it, they will come.

  • adeleulnais

    A great post Debby and the subject matter is what I`ve been thinking about a lot lately. Through my blog I`ve gathered some wonderful people, yours truly included, and I havn`t done it to “market” my books, I`ve done it to engage and to learn my craft from others who have learned before me. I count many as my friends and love sharing things with them or the things they write. I`m happy. As for marketing I`m going to do as much as I can without burning myself out.

    • dgkaye

      Well it’s seems we’re both on the same page so to speak. 🙂 No point burning out, then we’re no good even for writing. 🙂 And thanks for including me in your circle of wonderful people. <3

  • Wendy Janes

    Excellent post, Debby. At the start of 2016 I’d read far too much advice about marketing and was left with the impression that I wasn’t being professional if I didn’t market/promote everywhere. I felt like I was failing because I didn’t have the time to do everything they were suggesting. Fortunately common sense kicked in soon after, and I started to listen to different people and find my own way. Your post is a great reminder to focus on priorities and put the social back into social media.

    • dgkaye

      Yay Wendy, I’m glad you’ve found a way to get comfortable in this social whirl of madness and marketing. It seems many here are feeling the same. I like this camp! 🙂

  • Sherrey Meyer

    Debby, well said! I agree with all your points, and I don’t collect eggs in my Twitter basket either. I appreciate the references to other posts as well as your thoughts on social media. Keep up the good work you’re doing and the relationship building, and your books will sell themselves. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Sherrey. That’s the idea. We have to build a following, we can’t expect people to like what we say or even care about our books if they don’t even know what we’re about. So there’s no point in shoving our books down people’s throats. 🙂

  • olganm

    Thanks, Debby. To do it ‘properly’ whatever that might be (and I believe it would look different for every person) would take not only time but a fair amount of money. Some of the people do end up having assistants who do a lot of the social media stuff and automatise a lot of things. It’s true that if you look at it as a business that would be the way to go. It’s also true that I’m not in that frame of mind. I enjoy reading and reviewing other people’s books and trying to share other’s works. I enjoy writing although I have very few readers. I love translating my books and those of others and hopefully helping them find more readers. I left what I was doing before trying to explore other options. If I have to end up doing things I don’t like, value or believe in to try and make a living, I can’t see any point. So who knows… But yes, I love your approach and Delilah’s. It’s honest. Oh, I like the blogging troup too. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Yes,it’s true, that some people hire virtual assistants to look after their social/media stuff, and as much as I think some days what a help that would be, it just doesn’t appeal to me to have someone else respond to the readers who share their comments. I just don’t feel it’s genuine. They’re talking to me, not a secretary. That’s just how I feel, and hence, I will always have more work than I can handle, lol. I also enjoy reading, sharing, and chatting with my readers and followers. And although as published authors, we do need to promote our work if anyone is ever going to read it and buy our books, but my approach is exactly how I’ve stated here. It’s really amazing when I look back to when I began blogging, and now with the friendships and readership I’ve built up and social media too just by being me and offering helpful tips to others. That’s a foundation. Not too many people outside the writing world even have a clue of what’s involved in a self published author’s life.
      Thanks for always leaving your valued thoughts here. 🙂

  • Kate Johnston

    I completely agree with your strategy, Debbie. I’ve been terrible at keeping up with social media over the past couple of years, when my mom began to go downhill. Social media seems to be the one thing I can put on the back burner as necessary.

    I like some social media outlets, but others feel too pushy to me. And I can’t stand the hard sellers. I ignore their pleas. I’d rather see someone working hard to write thoughtful, helpful articles or tweets or FB posts than be bombarded by demands to buy a book.

    • dgkaye

      That’s what it’s all about Kate, sharing our writing and thoughts and making connections with those who enjoy what we put out, and hopefully those that enjoy will spread the shares, and thus we build readers from there. Nothing good takes one day to build. It’s okay to inform readers about our upcoming work and promos in a dignified way by posting or social media heads up my book is on sale, but not 10 times a day. And the same goes for the many websites I check out daily that don’t even let you read a first sentence before a big box flashes in my face promoting to sign up for something. 🙂

  • macjam47

    This is an excellent post, Debby. It’s hard to find time for everything from family time to household chores, to writing and blogging to just pure relaxation without have to keep up with all forms of social media. I basically follow just a few, but sometimes I don’t get to all of it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Kev

    I read both articles that you linked and, God, I couldn’t agree more! We are in an ever changing market and have to stay abreast of things to keep from being pulled into the void ang getting completely swallowed up in it. That’s the only way we can survive, Debby… Thanks for sharing. ♥

  • Judith Barrow

    Well, Debby, you do seem to have said what a lot of us are thinking. Your post and all the comments (including your answers) made me give a sigh of relief. Will be limiting time spent on social media in future. Jx

  • Sacha Black

    SUCH a difficult one this. Because no one wants to seem arrogant or pushy, I don’t. BUT at the same time, books don’t sell themselves and only you can sell your own books. I will probably sit slightly further to the assertive side, I won’t be ‘pushy’ as such, but I also won’t be afraid to tell people my books are there.

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