Lately, I’ve been reevaluating all my actions on social media, and I’ve reached the following conclusions:
- I stink at it.
- It takes too much time.
- I need to change what I’m doing.
My Twitter feed reads like one long book advertisement. Facebook in general has changed so much, it doesn’t seem fun anymore. LinkedIn is turning into a dating site, apparently, judging from all the flirtations I get in my inbox. I shy away from Google+ because, frankly, many of the folks following me are creepy. Same with any other site where I can pick up followers without realizing it. I didn’t even know that LinkedIn, like Google+, had a system of following without being linked first. A few moments ago, I glanced through the list of followers on LinkedIn and wondered what the bulk of those people want with a happily married housewife from Texas. I sincerely doubt they’re interested in my books. And, like I said, many of them are creepy.
So, for 2018, I’ve been trying to come up with a game plan that will free some time for me yet be more effective. What I’m finding to be best aren’t public sites, but private efforts. My newsletter tops the list.
If you taken my newsletter for any length of time (and actually read it), you may have realized that I’ve been experimenting. For a while, I played with monthly giveaways, which ended up costing me more than it was worth. So I shifted. I write now to connect with my readers on a more personal level. I have the occasional book review, my “dieter’s” section, where I seek commiseration with those who are in this same battle, and a little segment based on Psalm 103:2. Even though most of the readers I’ve acquired came from Ryan Zee campaigns, the fact that I’ve kept so many of them for so long—with a high percentage of “opens”—encourages me that I’m doing the right thing.
For 2018, I intend to focus less on other forms of reaching my audience, including Twitter, etc. Even with the help of Hootsuite, I just don’t see the return on time investment that I need to keep doing the same things over and over again. Any relationship I’ve developed on Twitter is also developed in Facebook, so I won’t be losing anything. As for advertising, I can still do that, but using a tweet service, like askDavid with their 58,000 followers, is probably more effective. Actually, for pure sales purposes, email services like Book Bub and others that are far more affordable and accessible (like Ereader News Today) provide the best bang for the buck.
Even though Facebook is making me crazy with all their changes, it’s still my playground. I have a private group, The Caffeine Dream Team, for people who are true fans of my work and are willing to help me in a variety of ways, from reading early drafts to promoting published works. Since this is an invitation only group, I know each of the members personally, either through cyber-friendships or physical ones.
My other playground is my so-called “author” page on Facebook. I don’t do much promotion there, primarily because I get a kick out of scrolling through the pages I’ve liked and reposting some of their pictures. This page has been more for my entertainment than anything useful, but some of my readers enjoy it too.
I have already quit many of the groups I belonged to in LinkedIn. One in particular was fun, but when the leadership changed hands, it became more of a self-promo group, and I lost interest. And, despite reading Goodreads for Authors, I haven’t been able to make anything work on Goodreads. Don’t have the time to devote to it, and any return on investment requires an investment to begin with, so I’ve been distinctly unsuccessful there. And, as I said, Google+ is totally out. I haven’t joined anything else, like Instagram for instance, because that would be just more of the same.
So that leaves Facebook, my newsletter, my new website (which isn’t generating traffic yet), and 777 Peppermint Place—the original name of this blog.
I moved into Peppermint Place in 2011, and have spent the past six years trying to figure it out. When I write personal stuff, I gain a set of readers that I lose as soon as I shift back to business. Most writers want to know about writing, so my personal life doesn’t particularly interest them, and I lose them.
Frankly, there are tons of far better writing blogs than mine. I tend to rant about writing periodically and even come up with something truly helpful on occasion, but if you want consistent, quality information about this business, check out Writer Unboxed, featuring agent Donald Maass and others, or K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors, or C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers.
I could list several more blogs that are more effective and helpful than mine, but I circle back to what to do about this one. After so long, I feel like I have nothing to write about—and the things I’d like to write about take more courage than I have. I’d love to toss my hat into the ring of socio-political discussions, but frankly, I served my time forty years ago and no longer have the heart for the debate and outright hatefulness that seems to go hand in hand with what was once considered honest discourse.
So, I’ve toyed with the idea of moving out of Peppermint Place and closing it up for good. I already dropped out of AuthorCulture for the same reason—I’ve run out of things worth saying. I dread coming up with a topic two or three times a week, especially when there are so many others who are so much better at this than I.
Problem is, this is the one site that truly does have reach. My blog is connected to Facebook, my Facebook author page, Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, my Amazon author page, and LinkedIn, not to mention my website and countless other sites that are linked to it for whatever reason. I’ve linked to several book-related sites where I have a profile, and I don’t even remember half of them.
So you see my dilemma.
- I could drop this blog and, when I have something truly worthwhile to say, share as a guest blogger somewhere else or write for Southern Writers Magazine, which has a huge circulation. Of course, I’d be losing the reach this blog has to other forums when I have a new release to announce, but that happens only once or twice a year, so . . . is this blog really worth it?
- I could continue as I have with this blog, writing about whatever comes to mind or the writing/editing rant du jour—assuming I have a rant for the day.
- I could shift the focus of this blog from writers to readers and just chat.
I have no clue. But I do know something’s gotta give. Between my life and my editing job, my writing often suffers, and adding all this social promo mess to it doesn’t help.
To those who have figured it out or who have earned enough to hire a virtual assistant, God bless you. For the rest of us: good luck.
I love your blog posts, especially the ones about life – including your writing journey. You will never hit the perfect balance, but you are reaching readers, and authors (who are also readers). When I started my blog, I decided once a week was enough for several reasons. One, there is so much out there to read, I thought if I posted once a week people might be more inclined to read it without being overwhelmed. Two, it gave me more time to do other things.
I had a bad experience on Goodreads and won’t go back there. I haven’t pulled my account yet, but will at some point. I don’t find it a friendly place for authors.
Twitter is hard for me too. It seems impersonal, compared to FB. I don’t bother with any of the other sites. It seems FB and my blog reach more people than anything else. although I don’t have near the following you do.
My morning devotions touched on something interesting considering this discussion. It was the story of the miracle of the seven loaves and two fishes. Jesus took the little the Apostles had and fed over four thousand. He can take our little and increase it. 🙂
May our writing glorify him.
What a beautiful application of that verse. Thanks, Ceci!
Cutting down to twice a week–or just once a week–may be the answer for a while. I think I’ve burned out when it comes to blogging.
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You know I enjoy your blog. I love the Friday for writers and whether you talk about your personal life or writing it always inspires me. I can so relate to the frustration of trying to do it all. I try to post on my blog twice a week. The posts where I share my failures or concerns seem to get the most responses. Book giveaways from interviews for some reason go no where. Haven’t figured out why readers don’t want to participate in a chance to win a free book. I suppose I should promise not to share their info because I don’t. Every time I post an interview though, get new followers. I suppose it is a win-win.
I find myself trying to make sure my blog is as grammatically perfect as possible yet others who have thousands of followers are littered with duplicate and wrong words. Oh well! That time I could spend working on my novel drafts and rewrites.
I have just started a newsletter and am also trying to figure out where to best put my marketing dollars as well. FB has such a weird algorithm. When I post an award or announcement the same post hits don’t appear at the same time. I can repost the same info a few weeks later and find other friends comments like it was a new thing. Haven’t decided if that’s a good thing. The more followers you have the less see your posts. Sigh!!!
As I said I enjoy your blog and grab a great post from time to time and reblog it. Maybe less is more. Rather than a few times a week do it once a week or twice a month. your followers will still be there. I have way too many blogs coming into my email. I need to unsubscribe to a few. Yours would not be one of them. you give a personal connection I don’t get with the larger influential blogs.
My prayers are with you as you decide what to do.
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You and Ceci are so encouraging. Thank you.
I forgot that this blog goes into inboxes too. It does get around, I just need to figure out a more effective way to use it and figure out what to write about.
I’d recommend trying a Ryan Zee campaign for your newsletter. Just be careful which one you join. Remember my fiasco! The newsletter is the one way I can be sure I’m reaching everyone, even if some don’t bother to read it.
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It’s refreshing to know others are just as confused as I am.
Oh, believe me, half the time I think I’m just muddling through, clueless as a cucumber on a salad bar.
I’ve been contemplating much the same dilemma regarding social media. I’m not ready to drop it. But I’ve really cut back on the time I spend there, trying to find that sweet spot of “20% effort/80% results.” I’m only checking FB and Twitter four times a week now, which feels like a big deal.
Four times a *week*?! And I felt bad about checking Twitter only once a day. I’ve cut way down on FB play, but I do slip over there more often than I should.
Glad you told me this. I won’t feel bad about cutting down further.
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I agree 100% about much of what you are saying. I’ve backed off a lot of book ads on Twitter. It’s just a billboard, sometimes. I love the beautiful scriptural/encouragement memes and my favorite musical groups. So I’m trying to follow that path, more than just advertising my book. I hope you will keep Peppermint Place. Keep it positive and personal. It’s a place for your readers and friends to congregate and read about their friend, who happens to be an author and fellow coffee addict. 🙂 Love you!
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I know what you mean. Some folks seem to use social media exclusively to advertise. I love it when I find someone who posts things I like that aren’t book related.
Thanks for the encouragement. Love you too!
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You are so much further ahead than I am. Your doubts about social media actually make me feel better. I will continue to learn about social media, but try to be wise how I spend my time.
Good idea. Sites like Hootsuite help.