Knowing What Works and What Doesn’t by Lynn Lorenz

Even as a young child, Lynn couldn't keep her hands off the boys...

Even as a young child, Lynn couldn’t keep her hands off the boys…

So there’s all this social media, Twitter, FB, Linked, Google, and Yahoo Loop Groups… I’m bombarded with it all, and I’m sure if you’re writing, or trying to write, you’ve been sucked into it also.

And if you’re like me, you have limited time to spend on all the bits of your life – day job, spouse/SO, kids, writing, friends, and all the other things you do either daily or weekly, like mow the yard, do the groceries, attend meetings. If you’re a “full time” writer, you might have all the time in the world or maybe you make enough money to hire a PA to deal with it, but that’s a whole other post. You can ignore this post.

You others, the ones nodding? Keep reading.

Don’t forget about sleep – that rare thing we writers never get enough of – that’s supposed to take up about 6 to 8 hours each day, if we’re lucky enough to get that much. And if the day job is taking 8-10 hours a day, that’s 14-18 hours out of our 24 hour day – leaving only 8 to 10 hours for all the rest of it. And the rest of it, that’s some of the most important stuff, like the kids, and your mate and uh, writing.

And if you’re like me, you have more than one pen name…which then doubles the amount of social media crap you’re “supposed” to do.

So, where the hell are we supposed to fit in the social media stuff?

And if we don’t, will something awful happen to us?

Will space junk fall out of the sky and hit us? Will we break out in adult onset acne? Will we go blind? No, wait, that’s the other thing we’re not supposed to do.
Anyway, will our writing somehow stop, wither and dry up? If we don’t post to FB every hour will we fade from everyone’s memory, sliding into oblivion? Washed up and has-been?

Know what I think? Probably nothing. *gasp* Oh yes I did! Girlfriend said it, uh huh. Nothing is going to happen if we don’t do every social media thing there is to do. Some people say, “just spend one hour a day doing social media stuff.” Seriously? Which part of my remaining hours will this “one hour” come out of, exactly? Talking to the kids? Dinner? Connecting with my spouse? Writing?

I say, even one hour is too much every day. I see the time suck of social media and I wonder “what is it doing for me?” Is it getting me new readers? Well, if most of the people on my FB and Twitter are authors, and I’m posting promo, I’m preaching to the choir. And if all my author friends are on Linked In, and we’re promoting to each other, who are we really reaching?

Some folks swear by FB, others by Twitter, some love Tumblr and Pinterest. Good God! Now I’m supposed to be pinning photos of stuff for everyone to see! And I’m not really even sure what Tumblr is or does.

Frankly, I’m drowning in the social media sea and where the hell is the lifeguard?

I’m being sucked down by the undertow and it’s come to my attention that the only one to save me is myself. There are no lifeguards on this beach. Only bright, shiny things that tempt me away from what is important in my life…my work, my family, my friends, and my writing. (Not necessarily in that order)

Wow! I just boiled my life down to four essential things! And lo and behold! Social media wasn’t one of them. Holy crap! There’s a heavenly beam of light blinding me and I’m like Paul on the road to Damascus! Here’s my epiphany – I have no idea what doing social media does for me. None whatsoever. No proof that it gets me new readers or that posting promo on dozens of loops gets anyone to buy my books. I’m just hoping for the best, really. Maybe it does, maybe not.

What I do think works is to write another book. And I do enjoy live chats with people who are actually there interacting with me. Love that. And I like some of the FB groups that focus on what I’m writing, filled with both authors and readers. I can see keeping those.

Now, I just have to back off – ease out of all of it. Step slowly away from the shiny.

So, I’ll Tweet only on Fridays. And I’ll post only a few things on FB – releases and contracts. I’m going to change my loops to Special Announcements. And I’ll promo on a few FB groups. Write the occasional free read for the M/M Goodreads group because they are mostly readers.(At least I don’t think there are over 12K authors in that group) I think these things might only take minutes from my day, not an hour. But I have to wean myself off the Internet teat – you know, checking your smart phone every few minutes, constantly checking emails, posting to FB friends…that sort of stuff. It’s got to go, because it’s eating into my life and taking over and I really should be writing.

I need a schedule. And I need to stick to it. Because I truly believe the best promo you can do is to write another book, and if I don’t get myself out of the social media swamp, the gators are going to eat me. It won’t be pretty. Gators are not neat eaters.

So, does anyone else feel this way? Is anyone willing to join me in my social media diet? To take a good long hard look at social media, decide what you enjoy doing, and forgo all the other stuff? It’ll be like eating dessert first, going for the good stuff.

Let me know if you’re in the same boat, without a paddle. And what you plan on doing about it?

13 thoughts on “Knowing What Works and What Doesn’t by Lynn Lorenz

  1. Ah, Lynn, always my wise beacon in a stormy social media sea! LOL You are right. And I do get worn down at times by social media demands. I’ve pared down recently (although it may not seem that way). I’ve set limits for myself and it doesn’t seem to have hampered anything. Fact remains: you can’t be everywhere, and there is always a new book to write. Thanks for posting this.

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  2. I have wondered about this myself and am not sure I see any real impact on sales stats based on how many posts I do. Thanks for bringing up the elephant in the writer’s room

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  3. I’m a luddite as far as social networks go. Like you, Lynn, I simply don’t have the time to do it all. So I decided with the launch of my new site to blog once a week, if that, update FB twice a week (mostly because my sons communicate that way and I get to see what they’re up to), and tweet in response to others. Hmm, I like the idea of tweeting once a week – I’ll have to choose a day. Great post, Lynn, it’s nice to know we’re all overwhelmed.

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  4. Yep, uh-huh, I totally agree.

    I don’t Twitter – I don’t have a smart phone, I have a dumb one and it has no media and no text messaging. I limit myself to auto-posts to Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + from my Word Press blogs (this one and my personal one) and connect with friends and fans on FB as they nudge me. I do like pinning shit to Pinterest but usually only do book covers (mine and my LL&L gals) and clothing and shit I like (sort of a wish list), and photos of me and author friends at conferences.

    Tumblr? Instagram? No effin clue what those are, but I bet you need a smart phone with a camera. I plan to hold onto my dumb phone for as long as Verizon will let me. I hate phones — that means people can call and bother you (a holdover issue from being an attorney where every call was someone bringing you a problem).

    I’ve always said the best way to increase sales is to write another book — and that is my main goal in life – to keep turning out books.

    So thanks for expressing what I am sure many other authors feel. BTW I’d love a PA. 🙂 But he/she would have to work for free. lol I’m not making all that much money … yet. 😉

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  5. As a reader I like hearing some of what ‘my’ authors are up to but honestly, every single day and every single breath is totally not necessary (well, unless you’re enjoying it). LOL. What I HATE (and there are still one or two like this) is when one of ‘my’ authors doesn’t do anything re promo at all. It’s sometimes WEEKS or even MONTHS before I find out that they have a new book out. *small whimper*. Honestly as nice as you all seem and I’d love to meet you all at cons or whatever LOL that’s the bottom line. 🙂 You write so I can buy! Immediately if not pre-ordered.

    A couple of us finally convinced one of ‘my’ authors to put out a newsletter when she had a new release or a new contract / whatever / whatever re her writing that she wanted to brag about. I forget how many subscribed how quickly to her newsletter but she was pleased. And as far as I know it’s the only thing she really does promo-wise-online. And only for new releases / new contracts. And we love knowing she’s busy writing instead of playing with us online hours every day. Or maybe she’s playing with her kids, whatever. As long as we know when there’s a new book to buy we’re good. Selfish of us? Yeah. 😀

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  6. Well as long as you hang out on here once in a while and keep writing good books I will be satisfied. Same with you Moni! Rosanna as long as you stay on FB in your group I am a happy internet camper. lol

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