1. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    Should authors spend time on social media?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DarkWoods, Jan 13, 2020.

    I would like to have your opinion on this question; Should authors spend time on social media or should they spend all their time writing and editing?

    I am asking this question because after having been on social media for a few years, I feel way better without them. In the past, I was on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. I have deleted all my accounts the same day.

    I took this decision after reading Cal Newport's books "Deep Work" and "Digital Minimalism". I also saw that other authors share almost the same advice, especially James Scott Bell when he is talking about almost a zero ROI (return on investment).

    The reasons I did it are;

    - I was feeling anxious when I was comparing myself with other friends, receiving insults or feeling bad after a post I made received no comments or likes.
    - My real friends are not on social media so why spend time to talk to fake friends and acquaintances or work colleagues?
    - I was loosing way too much time when I was on social media. I prefer to spend my time doing something more valuable.

    And you, as an author or wannabe author, do you use social media? If yes, how many different social media accounts do you have? Which one? Do you have one social media you prefer to use as an author? How much time do you spend every week on them? Have you ever sold books via social media?

    Thanks for your comments!
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    This is not a question specific to writers.
     
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  3. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    Thanks for splitting this off @DarkWoods.

    It might be worth distinguishing between using social media as a consumer vs as an author to support branding and marketing.

    I think I'm on the same page as you regarding use as a consumer - I am of the opinion that they're a colossal waste of time if not actually psychologically damaging.

    BUT

    I also think there's an argument that anybody interested in *selling* books might have to build an approach somewhere between tweeting photos of every meal and total abstinence.

    I think there's a way to participate in a way that would be restricted to producing new on-brand "I'm a real person just like you" content, rather than reading/replying to friends/followers comments, or reposting somebody else's content.



    I referenced Becca Syme in the other thread, and she came up with an estimate that 5-10 minutes per day seems to be a sweet spot where the author maintains branding support but beyond which ROI turns negative, the author is diverting time away from producing product.

    That's just one example, others are that I have explored the publishing scene over the last couple of years with the intention of going traditional route. I've experienced 100% consensus so far with agents and publishers saying that they wouldn't take on a client who was not participating in their own branding, and that this means social media at the very least. So, even though I think they're 'wrong' it doesn't matter what I think, they've made their preference clear.

    Just as an example of a publisher/agent, I was chatting with Michael Mirolla from Guernica Editions on Tuesday, and he described an author who eschewed social media as - and I'm quoting - "Shooting herself in the foot. She's asking me to send her query to the bottom of the pile." I'm taking this sort of thing seriously because I want my books to find their readers and this seems like a small barrier that can be overcome with a deliberate approach.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  4. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    And I just noticed this is local for you as well. Guernica is based in Toronto. I'm in Vancouver, and encountered Mirolla here when he was doing a talk for Canadian Authors last week. He's just finishing his Writer-in-Residence at Joy Kogawa House. Point is, after three years of picking brains, this guy appears aligned with other publishers I've encountered re social media.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Personally the only time i spend on social media is a) moderating or otherwise staffing facebook groups for writers b) communicating with family or friends on the other side of the world c) networking with other writers, or d) running my writers facebook page and associated adverts.

    like fire social media is a good servant but a terrible master... you need to be in control of it, not the other way round
     
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  6. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    I don't. I don't have a personal Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or any other kind of major social media account. I have no interest and I have no time for them. I will use them professionally for promotion and contacting my fans, but that's all I use them for. Lots of people say stupid things on social media and it comes back to haunt them. I make it easy by never saying anything outside of my writing there.
     
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  7. Madman

    Madman Senior Member

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    I've not yet reached the point where I can advertise my writing through social media. I am going to try the traditional route first, and if it hasn't brought me progress after a few years, I might look into turning to social media. If I succeed through the traditional path, I may only use one page on social media as a platform to speak with those interested in my work.
     
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  8. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    I would really rather they didn't. While there are some exceptions, generally speaking the more I know about an author's personality the harder I find it to enjoy their books. :p
     
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  9. thiefacrobat286

    thiefacrobat286 Member

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    I quit Twitter a couple of days ago b/c I just couldn't stand the toxic environment and I'm a lot happier now b/c of it. Social media in my experience is little more than perpetually ongoing IRL drama, and I personally don't even think it's all that useful even from a marketing and PR perspective either. My advice is if you're a professional writer you should be spending as much time as you can writing, you'll have other avenues of finding ways to procrastinate without social media interfering anyway.
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think there's a difference between using social meeting to promote your writing career (which seems to be pretty much recommended these days) and using social media as a diversion from writing.

    I only have Facebook, which I've had for many years, and I use it every day. However, I also live overseas from where I was born and bred, and it's a fantastic way to keep in touch with old friends ...both individually, and to interact as a group. I've also joined a couple of Facebook groups (history groups and collectors groups) that coincide with my hobbies and interests. It's also a great alternative place to make a general announcement about life ...such as 'sorry, guys, my email has gone wonky, so if you can't get hold of me that way, that's why.' When my husband was in hospital, I was able to keep family and friends posted on his condition without having to separately contact each person every day ...which was a HUGE help.

    And I'm also an active member of a political party in Scotland (SNP) that struggles to get mainstream media coverage (despite having been the government of Scotland since 2007), so we need to exchange useful information via Facebook. That would be hard to do if we didn't have that option.

    However, this is all good stuff. It's also possible to waste a lot of time on Facebook ...and yes, I've been known to do that as well. :bigoops: It's also possible to get sucked into nasty comment exchanges, and to go away from it feeling frustrated, angry, and depressed. So it's important to take charge of how you use social media. Used mindfully, with control, however, it does add a dimension to my life that I would miss, if it were no longer there.

    I've never used Twitter, though, or any of the other sites, and probably never will. There is a limit....
     
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  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    Twitter is an incredibly toxic environment where even the smallest disagreement on any subject leads to vicious attacks.

    I mostly use it now to follow my favourite cricketers and comedians. I don't use it to interact with anyone.
     
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  12. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    I think it really depends on how you use it.

    Newer and trendier writers and publishers will love having a social platform because that is how they connect and promote to an already large user base that pretty much spans the globe.

    However, there is no actual need or even proven techniques when it comes to writers having social platforms. Yes it helps on certain ways but in no way is it required.

    What is really does is give people something to stand out with. You might have a great piece of writing but in a sea of millions it is hard to get noticed and a lot of our commerce relies on marketability and exposure rather than quality or importance.

    If you are against social media or have currently no interest other than to use it as a business platform then social media may not be a good option for you.

    However if you're into it and want to put in the work or simply want a broadcast to shout your promotions then it may work for you. However the latter is of limited benefit without an already existing audience.
     
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  13. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    Thanks Kevin. I consider social media not only a waste of time but also an anxiety trigger. I don't know if everyone is like me but I am always comparing myself to other people with their "supposed" fabulous life.

    Yes I think you have a good point when you say you use social media for networking with other writers. I think it's better to use social media this way than trying to increase visibility of your books. You will gain lots more advantages this way I think.

    I agree with you 100%. I don't have any personal or professional social media accounts. The only social media I am in is this forum.

    Good idea. I also want to use traditional way of publishing. I don't have anything written yet but I am very careful about what appears on Google under my name. I almost have nothing about me which is a very good thing.

    Oh, never thought about this one. Thanks for your point of view.

    After reading "Digital Minimalism" by author Cal Newport, I am also not very interested in promoting my future books via social media. I prefer to spend most of my time writing.

    Like Kevin McCormack said in an earlier post, I think that maybe the best way that an author can use social media is to use it to connect with other authors.

    Thanks for your comment. Really appreciated. I think I will start by focusing on writing exclusively.

    I would like to start by writing a few short stories and building a website or a blog in which I could publish my first short stories. I don't plan to use social media at all.

    What do you think?

    Thanks everyone for your help!
     
  14. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    I have a twitter account and I enjoy using it, thanks to a "block early, block often" policy. I center my timeline on my colleagues and other creative people and historians. I mute keywords for stuff I don't want on my timeline. I occasionally post threads about writing or the publishing business, share music I like, get into meme games that are fun and don't derive their humor from punching down on people. I did a book club discussion for a Writing 214 level craft book over December and January, and people liked it so much they want to do another.

    I don't really talk about my books and do the absolute *minimum* when it comes to trying to sell my books, as I think that over marketing is obnoxious when other people do it.

    Twitter's fine. but if you don't block the crap out of assholes, you're gonna have a bad time.

    Facebook is awful and I will never go back.
     
  15. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods Member

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    How do you block keywords on Twitter? Do you use Tweetdeck?
     
  16. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    regular old twitter website on my desktop. settings and privacy > content preferences > Muted > muted words
     
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