Friends, Followers, Connections — Lend Me Your Ears
I can tell that social marketing is a good and permanent thing, something all writers, editors, and publishers are just going to have to accept, because of how ambivalent I feel toward it. On the one hand, I love it. I’m meeting a whole crop of nice and interesting people who for the most part been helpful, instructive, and encouraging.
The question I have is, when does it stop?
Wait, let me put that another way. The real question is, how do I keep it from taking over my writing life?
A brief, but I hope helpful, example of what I mean comes from a short email exchange I just had with a new online buddy of mine who gave me a tip about networking on GoodReads. When I thanked him, I mentioned off the cuff how social media marketing and networking have become their own second job. He told me he feels the same way and added that it’s getting to the point that his creative writing self is dead, replaced only with a marketing self.
Well put. And terrifying in its own way. Recently I’ve spent a lot more time following up on social networking than actually working on my writing. And it finally has dawned on me that we are in the New World. Writers, you see, used to think they only had to write.
I don’t know if that ever was actually true, but writers today who don’t take an active part in marketing are doomed. And I’m not just saying that. If you think you’re going to just write and the world will find you because you’re brilliant, BAH-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!
So writers need to promote themselves, and social media platforms are the way to go. But too much marketing won’t do you any good. You’ll end up building a huge following but have nothing to offer it. Seriously, do you think your books are going to write themselves while you’re tweeting away?
In a less capitalistic vein, too much social media marketing can make you crazy. We all want broad, deep networks of friends and followers and circles and contacts, but there has to be a point at which you cut it back. My wife and I realized just yesterday that we’ve made a whole ton of new friends online, but hadn’t spent any time, just the two of us, doing anything. So we went for a bike ride. And it did our brains a world of good.
Is there a moral here? I don’t know. If there is, it’s something like this: Market your work. But remember what you’re marketing — your work. Make sure you get it done. And build your relationships. But don’t forget the ones you’ve had all along.
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