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Drowning In Social Media

DrowningLike Kiersten Hallie Krum, I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers of America annual Put Your Heart In A Book conference last weekend. It was a great time. I met new friends, connected with old ones, and learned lots of new things. One of those things I learned is that I will never, ever have time to myself again for the rest of my life. And, fellow writers and readers, neither will you.

As long as I have time left on this earth I can forget reading for pleasure. Forget watching The Walking Dead or indulging in moments of guilty pleasure with shows on the ID Channel like Wicked Attraction or Southern Fried Homicide. Forget eating, or sleeping, or talking to my DH. If I’m lucky, maybe – just maybe – I’ll squeeze in time to breathe. Why did my schedule suddenly become so jammed with activity every second of every day? Blame it on the overwhelming, mind-number amount of social media tasks that we writers need to do in order to promote our books, ourselves, our blogs, our websites. There’s so much going on nowadays that my eyes first bugged out of my head in horror before they glazed over and I hung my head in defeat, certain that no matter how hard I try, I will forever be drowning in social media.

Used to be that writers just wrote. We thought up stories, put them into tangible form, and sent them off to publishers. Usually they were rejected but sometimes they weren’t, and on those happy occasions we were offered a book contract. Back in the “old days” a writer’s publisher would send him or her on a book tour. Then they stopped footing the bill for that so we writers put those tours together ourselves. Nowadays the thought of signing books in bookstores brings with it a wistful touch of nostalgia, like getting a letter in the mail. Instead, interspersed with writing the book, we’re updating our websites, our blogs, our Facebook, our Pinterest. We’re linking our blogs on reddit, we’re joining tribes on Triberr. We’re digg-ing stuff, we’re posting on Tumblr, we’re updating our goodreads. And like the morning birds outside my window, we’re constantly Tweeting.

Author Laura Kaye gave an excellent presentation during the conference regarding online promotion and what authors need to be doing. As she says, “Social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not central to your writing career.” She ties that sage advice into her six book promotion goals for authors that are all tied to sales, name exposure and recognition, and building your brand. Her presentation was by far my favorite of the conference (and that’s saying a lot, because the conference was packed with fantastic advice). But here’s the thing: I came away from Laura’s presentation so overwhelmed that I felt a little bit like a deer in headlights: absolutely paralyzed by the thought of everything social media-wise that I need to be doing.

Hell’s bells, it’s tough to keep up. Social media is like electronic equipment. Just when you plunk down the money to upgrade your ____ (fill in the blank: phone, laptop, iPad, etc.) a new version comes out the very next day. Argh!!  I mean, I blog, I tweet, I update Facebook, I’ve joined a couple of tribes, I link stuff to reddit. But I’m not on Pinterest, I’m not on digg, I do nothing with Instagram or Flickr or Delicious. And then there are the sites I’ve never heard of. Tagged. Ning. Weheartit.com, anyone?

You’ll probably note that I’ve hardly mentioned my website. I haven’t launched it yet but am very close. I just need to find the time! Maybe once I  add a few more books on goodreads. Or upload some photos. Check in with foursquare. Tweet. Post to Facebook. Answer email. Oh yeah. And write.

Anyone have some good suggestions with keeping up with it all? If so, please share, ’cause I’m drowning. And don’t forget to follow us. That’s another social media-thing you’ll want to do. 🙂

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with my webmaster, Alla. {photo credits: Alessandro Bologna}