For the record, I’m kind of a social media junkie. Facebook most, Twitter next, with Instagram running a distant third. I love connecting with readers. I love connecting with friends. I love connecting with family and work colleagues from my nine-to-five life. For better or worse, the reach of social media outlets is far and wide, and it can enrich personal relationships as well as garner exposure for writers.
But this edition of Encouraging Monday’s isn’t about the discipline of pushing away from the siren call of FB and Twitter when you should be writing and chasing deadlines. Rather, I’m looking at social media through a different lens. Like most visitors to Seriously Write, I function within the cyber realm in both a personal and professional sense, so I wanted to share a few observations about what I love and what I…well…don’t so much love about authors using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a publicity platform.
First, the love. I treasure the reading and writing relationships that I’ve discovered in cyberspace. Some have even transformed to friendships IRL (in real life). I’ve been blessed to be able to meet a number of fantastic reader friends and fellow authors who are now vital ribbons within the tapestry of my life and heart. (I’ve included a few pix of those precious ‘connection’ moments!) I also love the way social media allows me to remain connected to extended family and helped me maintain strong bonds despite logistical distance.
Now, on to the…not so love. Being honest, I have to say, I’ve seen way too many authors forsake balance, and friendship versus salesmanship to become ‘hawkers’ of their wares, pushing for sales and exposure at every single click of the mouse and tap of the keys. They tie their books, stories and characters to every post. I’m not saying we shouldn’t advertise and promote our work. Far from it. I do so frequently, and have been rewarded by support, encouragement, and those friendships I mentioned just a bit ago. But, for example, when a reader friend (non-author) remarks that they’re taking a vacation to New York City to celebrate a birthday, and an author friend replies, “You should take my book ‘Love Beyond The Empire State Building’ – you’ll just love it.” And in a second post a few minutes later, adds, “BTW, happy birthday…”
Um…NO. Sorry, but, just NO.
I changed the details, of course, but I’ve seen varying episodes like this play out repeatedly. There’s a fine line—a balance—that I believe must be established between friendly posts and hitting readers over the head with 24/7 promotional efforts. I watch over-eager authors push and prod and I think, ‘Breathe…and let your reader friends breathe.’
The social media conundrum makes me realize I shouldn’t be all about the next sale. Instead I’m all about sharing, ministering, and communicating with the people who connect to me as a person and connect to the books I write. One embellishes the other; one honors the other. And, for me, the friends I make in relationship to the personal, and the God-driven far outweighs the idea of shamelessly and constantly promoting book after book after book.
What are your thoughts? I’m eager to hear your take on the social media/promotion craze!
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. Finding Home won the Selah award for Best Novella. Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.
Country music bad boy Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction, and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up and comer, Pyper Brock, and instantly sparks ignite.
Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation, so despite a rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, she soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. Decades ago, her father, in a drunken rage, tossed her and her mother onto the streets. No way will Pyper make the mistake of falling for a man whose done battle with the bottle.
What happens when Chase’s quest to win Pyper’s love breaks down chains of resentment and eases the long buried wounds of her childhood? And what happens when Pypers father shows up in Nashville, clean, sober and seeking a chance to apologize?