Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Social Media and Writers

We writers are a quirky bunch. Our work is solitary. Yet, we need people to know about our books so they will buy them—so that we can actually make a living (or something of a living) from our hard work. And make no mistake, “hard work” is what writing is—even though it’s enjoyable and I find it incredibly satisfying, it is still work.
Yet, even though we need our books to sell, we don’t want to be the ones to sell them. Not exactly, anyway. Often, we can’t afford publicists of our own. And our publisher’s publicity department is overwhelmed. We find it difficult to sell ourselves—it’s, um, kind of uncool for a writer, but not for an accountant or an antique store owner, for some reason. They sell themselves and their products and nobody gives it a second thought—whether it’s with an ad in a magazine or online.
Enter social media. For writers, it can be the bane of our existence, or it can be a very good friend. It’s easier than ever to connect with your readers. And that is what we crave—connection. We want readers to know about our books, heck, to even like (maybe love) our books. It’s so much easier to get the word out. The opportunities are endless.
But we also crave and need solitude. It is a precarious balancing act. What we need to do is use some of the self-discipline we’ve developed as writers to keep the social media in check. I check in to Twitter three times a day. If I have nothing to say, I don’t post. I comment or retweet—and then off I go—to Facebook to do the same thing. All told, this might take 30 minutes a day. I switch back and forth from my writing. I find little breaks like this really help clear away those cobwebs.
And sometimes social media is just what I need to help give structure to my day. Twitter, for example, has several writing prompts and groups. The #1k1hr thread always helps me structure my time. If I know a group will start at 9:30, and I have an hour, I’ll structure the rest of my morning around it and have 1,000 or so more words on my WIP. The #amwriting thread helps me to check in with other writers to see what they are up to. Like it or not, community can be so important to writers.
I’ve been active with my cookbooks on social media, but with the release of SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS next week, I’m fully embracing it to help launch the book. I’m having a Twitter launch party on February 7, 7-8 p.m. EST, with the hashtag #scrapbookofsecrets. (Just go to the search function during that time, place #scrapbookofsecrets in and the stream will come up and then you have to use the hashtag each time you post.) I’ll be giving away books and other little surprises. The next day the virtual part continues on my Facebook author page, where I’m having a love poem contest. Just post your favorite poem—or line from a poem—anytime during the day—and I’ll choose my favorite. Once again, free books and so on!
Will it help? I hope so.
If you have a chance to stop by, please do. I keep telling myself after the madness of all the promotion next week, I’ll give myself the treat of a couple of days of nothing but writing. How do you manage your promotion and writing schedules?


Linda O. Johnston said...

I admire you for all your social networking, Mollie. Blogging, guest blogging and Facebook take up a lot of time for me so I haven't yet brought myself to try Twitter, too. But I love being able to communicate with readers so well, no matter where they live!

Mollie bryan said...

Thanks so much, Linda! I'd rather be writing, of course. ;)

Chrystle Fiedler said...

What a great post Mollie! This is very helpful for me especially the way you use twitter and those hashtags that prompt you to write. I LOVE your Twitter launch party idea! Here's hoping your new book is a SUPER SUCCESS!

Mollie brya said...

Thanks so much for your kind remarks. Your launch is next, Chrystle!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

What a totally cool idea, Mollie! Hurrah for you!

Betty Hechtman said...

When Behind the Seams came out last November, I did some guest blogging, was a guest author on the Barnes & Noble mystery blog and went to my local bookstores to sign stock.

Good luck with your launch party!

suz said...

Enjoyed your post and you have some good ideas for get your information out there. As a new-to-online community writer I like seeing how this all works out. Good luck with your new book.

Mollie Bryan said...

Thanks so much, Betty for commenting. Now I think promoting books has to be a good combination of both online stuff and some in-person book signings, which I love. Thanks for wishing me luck, Suz, I'm going to need it. Cheers!