Is social media changing?
This post was inspired by Brian Keene who wrote this.
It prompted me to think about social media and how it works in my life as a writer.
Firstly, it’s allowed me to meet many writers.
Also many readers.
And we chat.
But how much do we chat about books and writing? Not that much really, unless we belong to specific interest groups.
Instead, we chat about our cats and dogs, the vile people down the road, our gardens, how good last night’s meal was, how our ageing bodies ache and how someone might have lost half a stone by cutting out alcohol.
For me, Facebook doesn’t sell my books, nor I think, does it sell me as a brand. I have two accounts – a professional and a private account. But in many ways, both are ‘social’, in the truest sense of the word. (perhaps the private account a little more so than the professional one). And that’s fine. Because there’ve been one or two times in my recent life where I have been couch-bound and to have a chat with people across the world has been an absolute lifesaver. It keeps the morale up, induces great laughs and generally makes me feel good. In fact I want Facebook to continue in that social way until I am ancient and infirm and no longer know what Facebook is!
Twitter of course was a disaster for me. I use long sentences. Besides, word on the street is that it’s so filled with ‘Buy me’ ads that it’s had its day. So I won’t even both putting a live link to my account because it would be a party in an empty room.
#Instagram? Hmm. I don’t have a smart phone, and much as I would love to upload images and spend hours looking at others’ uploads, how is it ‘social’? There’s little talking, just short sentences like Twitter. Not long conversations like we all have on Facebook and which is as good as meeting over coffee and cake. But, that said, Instagram is pretty.
#Bookstagram? How is this one social? And is it better than Facebook for communicating? I don’t know, because one has to have that all important smartphone and as most readers of this blog know, I am waaaay behind the fashion there!
Pinterest is superb! And such a self-indulgence. I learn more about my favourite authors from things they have pinned there than anywhere-else. I also learn about their books – what inspires them, what images sat in their heads as they wrote. In my own case, it is scrapbooking on the broadest level – I have boards for each of my books, genres that I write and so on. In the case of the book boards, I pin things that inspire whole scenes in my books. And even now, I flick back through the boards to refresh a particular scene or memory. So it really works for me in a very active sense. It’s also a record of various times I have guest-posted, guest-blogged, appeared on radio, podcasts and so on. But – is it social?
So we come back to Facebook again – that favourite haunt of all baby-boomers. A place where we can whinge, cry, laugh and swear and have kindred spirits understand why we do so! And I’m one of those backward creatures who hates change and hopes Facebook ‘outlives, outlasts and outplays’ all the other forms of social media.
The pundits have always said to sell your books you need to have a website (Of course you do. I’m not arguing there), a blog and the full plethora of social media involvement. But truly, assuming you have written a good book that is well-edited, has a good cover and is entertaining, my experience is that paid advertising works better than inundating social media, if you want to sell books. Simply by googling, one can find lists of advertising sites a mile long.
Besides, I want my social media interaction to be about ‘socialising’ far more than selling a brand and a book.
Brian Keene also says that blogging as a social platform is on the cusp. From my own Point of View, I read and research constantly as a writer and the last thing I want is to receive more of the same from other writers and I mean this as no insult. But I like to turn away from critical fact to some light entertainment when I’m not working at being a writer. So as a follower of a particular writer, I would much rather see the other side of their life – what their hobbies are, how they spend their downtime, about their dogs, their hampsters, their cooking. (see Fiona McIntosh – THE best cooking newsletter from a contemporary and hist.fict writer!).
My own blog is essentially fluffy, as you might have noticed – pictures, lifestyle, a bit of this, a bit of that – but more than anything, it’s an escape for me from hardcore writing and it’s becoming less regular by the week. If people want to engage, that’s lovely. If they don’t, that’s fine too. But I can actually see the blog becoming far less important in the scheme of things than my involvement with people on Facebook.
Which brings me to one last thing about which Brian Keene talks – Email lists, and which ‘pundits’ see as the future for writers.
I’m about to set one up as a news deliverer – publication news, any awards, sales, things of earth-shattering importance. It will probably only be used two or three times a year but it allows readers and supporters to get the news and any offers ahead of anyone else.
If you would like to sign up, please contact me via the www.pruebatten.com ‘Contact’ email address.
I will then put your name in a hat to win a signed print copy of Guillaume when it becomes available
or a signed copy of Nugget, the Black Wombat. This is open across the globe to any and everyone.
So please indicate what you would like and I look forward to adding you to my email list!
Cheers and thank you and see you on the lighter side of social media!