Is social media for you?

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-09-45-29Social media is for me.

I like it as a writer, a reader and as a way of keeping up friendships or even re-establishing old ones. I find it easy enough to control as, unless something exciting’s happening, I restrict my use of it – generally to when I’m eating my porridge in the morning, after lunch, just before I turn off my machine for the day and, if I feel in the mood or see an interesting notification, from the comfort of my armchair for a few minutes in the evening.

Depending on your social media usage you might feel that seems a lot/too much, and I can see why. If you don’t actually like chatting or feel embarrassed to tell everyone you have a new book out then social media probably feels like a chore. For me, though, it’s a fun exchange of information and a great promotional tool.

There are negatives. People take offence, especially over political exchanges; what’s one person’s ‘spreading the word’ is another’s ‘relentless self-promo’; some love to see jokes and videos of cute baby animals but others get tired of them. You can influence what appears on your feed via your settings or making lists but once you admit someone to your social media life as a friend or follower you’ve a certain level of access to one another.

And then there are the hackers who, either for gain or just to be annoying, infiltrate social media and waste our time.

There are blogs or YouTube videos providing really good advice about how to tame your social media feeds but, you know … those blogs and videos count as social media, too. You’re probably getting the idea of why I find social media useful.

It’s no secret (just view my social media feeds) that I have a book out. The Christmas Promise was released as an ebook in October and paperback release is scheduled for 1 December. My publisher organised a twenty-stop blog tour and they, and I, and my street team, and many of my friends, publicised every post – most especially the great reviews. As the ebook has climbed the charts social media has come into its own again.

I occasionally feel I’m being Boasty McBoastface but people are unlikely to buy a book they never hear of. My publisher and myself are trying to sell my books as that’s how we each make a living but I also chat about other subjects. Any other subject, really.

And yesterday morning The Christmas Promise entered the UK Kindle Top Ten!

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-09-08-49

The stream of congratulations was a huge thrill and that many social media friends chose to share the news around their networks was terrifically helpful.

So I’m going to finish with a few ways that I use social media. I think they’re positive. What do you think?

  • Getting information out to potential readers
  • Sharing success (such as chart position or good reviews)
  • Asking for advice (recently it was about my new induction hob)
  • Doing research (from finding out what ten year olds want for Christmas to being put in touch with a close protection officer)
  • Re-establishing contact with my old school friends or work colleagues
  • Keeping myself current with what’s happening in publishing (often via the posts of writers or industry professionals)
  • Chatting
  • Interesting conversations with people in far-flung parts of the globe
  • News of special offers or new books out by authors I read
  • News of conferences  or festivals I might be interested in
  • Readers getting in touch with me to chat or tell me they enjoyed a book (this ought to be top of the list. Writers are so privileged to receive such messages)
  • Readers commenting on my books or asking me questions
  • Being a member of various groups, whether a group is a many-thousands strong forum for those who enjoy commercial fiction, a place to chat to my street team or ten old work colleagues who sometimes get together for a meal
  • Promo
  • Viewing old photos of places I’ve lived
  • Sharing articles about publishing (or about anything I’m interested in, really)
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14 thoughts on “Is social media for you?

  1. I love it and hate it, too. Love all the friends I’ve made, all the hints and tips and how useful it is as a promotional tool, but hate the time it takes up when I should be writing. Self discipline was never my strong point!

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  2. Pingback: Is social media for you? – Take Five Authors – Jenny Harper Author

  3. I have enjoyed social media since i was dragged kicking and screaming into it by the publishers when it was all quite new. But It has really come into its own over the last few weeks while I’ve been marooned at home having fractured a vertebrae. I have complained, grumped and cheered, and friends online and in RL have rallied round to keep me cheerful. Someone’s bringing me logs today. I try not to overload my timeline with promo, but honestly – I owe most of my earnings to online sales, so it would be foolish of me to dismiss online promotion, wouldn’t it? Very pleased at the success of the book, Sue – and at your personal success, too.

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  4. Lovely to hear how well your latest is doing! Congratulations. Social media useful in many ways, especially since we moved… but, as you say, it’s best not to become too obsessive 🙂

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  5. Firstly congratulations on being in the Kindle top 10. Wow! That is huge! It’s hard to keep disciplined about social media and I like the way you restrict it to certain times. I tend to use twitter in the morning and when I have to wait around somewhere. I use it to tell all about promotions we’re having, but also to share other people’s stuff be it book promos, writingn tips, photos of places I’d love to visit, animals I’d love to own and some fun stuff. We’ve made a lot of friends through twitter and facebook – just need to remember to take the time out to actually write 🙂

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  6. It’s for me, too, Sue. I agree with all you say about it. Apart from its usefulness as a promotional tool, it helps me keep in touch with Afghan friends both in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. I’ve also made some lovely, genuine new friends.
    Yes, it can use up lots of time and I’m not always disciplined enough about limiting my time on it but I can’t imagine what life without it would be like now. I do take breaks when on holiday or facing a deadline (I shouldn’t actually be here right now!) but it’s always nice to come back.

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