My Uncluttered Social Media Foray

My Uncluttered Social Media Foray

4_social_media_393706Lately I have been doing some serious social media housekeeping–mostly getting rid of followers on Twitter, unliking pages on Facebook, unfollowing Tumblr users, and putting a pause on following people on WordPress. I am doing this because I am following writers who have thousands of followers on every social media platform they use but pathetic rankings of their books, and it isn’t because they’re spamming links to their books. It’s because they are following way too many people who are drowning in their feeds, and they can’t establish a strong social media bond with any one of them.

Let me begin with Twitter. Thus far, I have unfollowed over 400 people who link spam their books, re-tweet too much, have a high follow to follower ratio, and who don’t engage in conversation with other users because they’re following too many people.

I once read on Facebook that writers should follow 50 people a day, and I think that is a horrible idea because you’re not likely to chat with any of them. And if you do, you’re spending away too much time on Twitter when you could be using that time to write.

I am still unfollowing people on Twitter. It’s fine if people follow me. I’ll engage them in conversation, but I am extremely selective now about whether or not I’m going to follow you back because I want to make certain that you are a person I am going to regularly engage in conversation with on Twitter. Otherwise, you’re just crowding my feed. Social media is about interaction, and if I’m not interacting with you, there is no point in following you. I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything anymore. It is your prerogative to follow me, but I don’t owe you a return follow. However, if you engage in conversation with me, I’ll be happy to engage back, and that may lead to a follow from me. Maybe. I no longer want thousands of people crowding my feed. I now understand why people with a crap ton of followers only follow back a few of those people (I don’t have a crap ton, but you get my point). This has lost me followers, but those people probably weren’t interested in me in the first place. I am still following people, but only after I’ve engaged with them in some type of chat, like #yalitchat.

As for Facebook, I received a lot of my likes through Like groups. Authors post links to their pages, and we follow them and expect a follow in return. I am now unliking a great deal of the pages I’ve liked because, frankly, I’m not interested in the books, and authors create Facebook pages to further their careers, and if I’m not contributing to that, I see no reason to keep that page on my feed. It’s just cluttering it when my Facebook is supposed to be about my friends and anyone else who chooses to befriend me. If people unlike my Facebook page because of this, they probably weren’t interested in my book to begin with–or me, or anything I had to say.

Tumblr hasn’t been as bad because a lot of the content posted is often interesting and Tumblr makes it very, very easy to post something or re-blog something or follow someone or unfollow someone, so its interface is very smooth and I am not made to feel like my feed is cluttered when I follow someone new. I am just following writers and readers now and cleaning out those who are not interested in either.

But I no longer feel like I owe anyone a like or a follow because I feel like my book should do that for me. You can have 10,000 followers, but if you’re only getting 100 to respond to anything you put out there, then it’s absolutely pointless to have all those people cluttering your feed. I am not following people on WordPress anymore for this reason. I already wrote the blog post. That’s my product. If you follow me because you like my product, I don’t owe you a follow in return. I’ll do the polite thing and look at your blog, and if I REALLY like what I see, I might subscribe, but I can’t have e-mail subscriptions crowding my box when I have to make room for other, more important e-mails.

But the point is is that too much clutter makes for inefficient use of one’s social media time. I can create all sorts of e-mail accounts and other accounts for the purpose of containing the clutter, but why bother? I’m likely to not visit them. Ever. I want to make efficient use of my social media time now so I  can spend more time writing and creating a product that people want. I just think it’s so maddening and petty that people actually use apps to see who unfollowed them. Why do we expect anything at all when it comes to social media? If you go to the store and buy post-it notes, you don’t expect a thank you letter from the company who made the post-it notes, so why do we expect the same with social media? I wrote the post, you read it and enjoyed it and got something out of it, so what more do I owe? I love to look at people’s blogs and comment on their stuff, and I love to reply to their comments to my posts, but it’s like we expect this, that it’s our obligation as bloggers to do this when our only obligation, I think, is just to write the dang post in the hopes that someone gets something out of it. Life is too busy for us to worry about whether or not these people are going to follow us back or whatever.

I would rather just write and make my writing what I owe people. Of course social media is very important anymore to sell books, but people expect too much, which leads to clutter, which leads to frustration. Social media is about interaction, and clutter doesn’t allow for much of that.



Stuff I Think About as I’m Editing

Stuff I Think About as I’m Editing

  1. Man, I do use these words a lot.
  2. Why do I have to be so complicated? I just need to get to the point.
  3. Yeah, this is a really pretty phrase, but it’s either too wordy or I already have a similar metaphor.
  4. I LOVE metaphors! MORE METAPHORS!
  5. You know, when it’s pointed out, I automatically know what’s wrong, but I’m sure if I were just reading it, I’d probably skip over it.
  6. I use these words too much.
  8. I still don’t know what this means.
  9. Let’s just get rid of this.
  10. Narrator? Oh, crap!
  11. What am I talking about?
  12. This does read really awkward.
  13. TUMBLR!
  15. TWITTER!
  16. My editing cave is more like an amusement park.
  17. I want something to eat.
  18. I seriously hope I can edit this well for my next book.
  19. Why do I have to hate action scenes?
  20. Why are action scenes annoying to write?
  21. Oh, God. I’m coming upon an action scene.
  22. I’ll just re-write these last three chapters.
  23. I wonder if the literary greats have these problems.
  24. I hope I sell well.
  25. WHY?
The Madness of…Blurb Etiquette?

The Madness of…Blurb Etiquette?

Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent, has an interesting post about blurb etiquette here written by a guest  blogger.

I just recently did a blurb for a novel called COUNTRYSIDE by Jess Cope that will be released by Village Green Press LLC, a partnership publisher. The editor put out a call for blurbs on Facebook, and I decided to do it not only because the blurb of the book sounded interesting, but just because I thought it’d be cool to see my name either on or in the book. Her book reminded me of Dianna Wynne Jones’s books, so I compared the author to her.

When I received the author package from my contract manager for the first time and discovered one part wanted reviewers, I was completely dumbfounded on how to do that. Not only that, but I felt shy about doing it, even though it was just over the internet. How was I supposed to approach people about reading my book and doing a review and/or quote? I wasn’t sure if I should put out a call publicly because I had no idea if that would look bad or what, so I ended up approaching people personally, gathering about 10 interested people.

Of course, that wasn’t enough, and I was slightly deterred because one reviewer was nervous about giving her e-mail, and someone on Tumblr told me it raised red flags because of the potential for spam. As I searched around the internet, I realized it was common of people to send out calls asking for reviewers in exchange for free ARCs. I then realized there was nothing red flaggy about it, and you have to get the word out somehow. So I swallowed my shyness and put out a call on here, Tumblr, Goodreads, Twitter, and my Facebook page. I received most of my reviewers from Goodreads and here, a few on Twitter and Tumblr, and I think none on my Facebook page.

I wasn’t searching for big names like the author in Gardner’s link because, well, I’m an unknown. But I did get a few known names around the young adult community, one being a literary agent who helps out with YALITCHAT, and a writer who also helps out with YALITCHAT. But I knew these people and had worked with them at one point for YALITCHAT. So I wasn’t fighting for anything. They were eager. And of course Shannon Thompson, but she’s a given.

But I asked your everyday reader, so I didn’t have any difficulties collecting reviewers, and I’m also not too concerned about getting quotes because how many non-writers who read actually care about the quotes? I don’t read them when deciding whether or not to get a book. I find them at the last minute and think they’re cool, but they don’t influence me too much. It’s the cover, the blurb, and the first page that draw me into a book–but mostly the cover and the blurb. So when I put out a call, I was seeking reviewers, potential word-of-mouth people. However, I sought these people out very early. Just because I have 50+ right now doesn’t mean that all are still going to be able to do it. Ideally I hope they are just as eager as  they are now, but that’s why I sought out 50+. I thanked every single person who was eager to help and even thanked the ones who weren’t certain they would like the book but offered to help anyway.

For some reason the process was very easy for me. I have seen writers put out calls for reviewers, even put Free ARCs in the topic line, and just couldn’t get any bites, not on Goodreads or anywhere else. But I suppose it’s because not only did I have an interesting summary but I am very personable and don’t shy away from interacting with any of my fan base. So I suppose if you want the process to be easy, make sure you’re personable as well, have a strong summary, are grateful for each and every person who gives you even a modicum of attention, and ask in the right places. AND DO IT BEFORE THE RELEASE OF YOUR BOOK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE SELF-PUBLISHING! That is ridiculously important.