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.