Social media love it or hate it, is a fact of modern life. If you’re a writer it has probably become an insidious, important part of your life. These days it’s all about getting the word out about your books into the big wide world. Publishers are constantly telling writers ‘You need a platform. An on line presence.’ Along with: ‘You have to be seen if you want to sell your books.’ In other words writers have to come out from behind their computers and self-promote. Something the majority of us hate doing.
Having a presence on line involves belonging to and being active on at least some of the following: FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, having an Amazon book page, a website, FaceBook author page, a blog etc etc. I’m sure too, there are other sites that have passed me by. (I’ve deliberately left GoodReads off the list because really that site is all about readers not writers.) The one thing that unites them all is: they consume time. Click on your FaceBook home page and the big black hole of social media sucks you in before you realise it. Liking this post, responding to another, writing a post of your own. That done you take a quick look on Twitter and so it goes on. Writing time can disappear in a click of the mouse, leaving you with the desired presence on the internet maybe but no writing time to finish the next book. ‘An on line presence.’ Four simple words that can wreck havoc with your writing life if you aren’t careful.
One of the big problems is deciding exactly just how ‘public’ you are going to be with the information and news you put out into the world. It’s easy to forget it will be visible forever. While readers like to interact with their favourite authors, too much information given out on line can be dangerous.
I have a deadline for my next book that I MUST meet and I’ve thought long and hard about taking a complete break from social media, but I do still have books to promote and keep in the public eye as much as possible. So I’ve bought an old-fashioned timer to try and control the hungry monster that social media has become. The plan is thirty minutes in the early evening every day. I’ll let you know how I get on.
How do you manage your time on social media? Which is your favourite site? Any advice would be gratefully received.