Monday, August 15, 2016

The Social Media Conundrum by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
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!
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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.
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Forgiveness
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?
Can Pyper follow a pathway to peace when it comes to her father? Can she fully trust Chase? Above all, can a sin damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness?
Releasing 11/1/2016 ~ Available for pre-order now at Amazon.com in PRINT and E-BOOK formats

14 comments:

  1. Marianne, I'm with you all the way here. When I mentor new authors, I usually start with the when and how of self-promotion being too much. That line is crossed all too often, and it can be damaging. Readers become oblivious to that with which they are hit over the head ... and eye-rolling abounds with friends and family. You've presented this topic very well, and I hope readers of the column will take heed! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom.

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    1. Thank you Sandra! I am very grateful for your shared wisdom and experience as well!! Appreciate your visit!!! Blessings!

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  2. I try to keep to the 80/20 suggestion. Sometimes, I even count posts! :)

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    1. What fantastic advice! I'm going to examine my own posts! Blessings, thanks for stopping by!

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  3. so true, Marianne! it's ok to not push our "agenda" all.the.time. and relax and just have fun! but if you would like to read my books..... JUST KIDDING!!! i couldn't resist!!

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    1. Lolol!!! Thank you so much for stopping by! Blessings, and I couldn't agree with you more!

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  4. I like Facebook for my passion--animal welfare. And occasionally some family. But I find I get a hang-dozen lines when I have a book rekease...and just had more than 60 comments on my new granddaughter, I don't get it. I tweet stuff but never know what happens after that šŸ˜³. Love you Marianne.

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    1. Tanya, I honestly believe Facebook algorithms pick up on keywords that restrict posts that are for promotion. I think that's why so many authors are sneaking in promotion as personal comments and reply to their followers. I also think that's why truly personal posts get more attention. Love you right back!!

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  5. I love Facebook,Instagram, and Pinterest. But I've stayed away from Twitter. I agree with you. Too much is too much. It's important to promote, and I've found Facebook really helpful in making a variety of connections. But I think relationship has to come first. It's like sharing my faith. I don't knock on doors and tell people about Jesus. I develop relationships first, and from friendships comes a natural open door to share.

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    1. Amen, Dawn!!! I stand in 100% agreement! Blessings, and I'm so glad you stopped by!

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  6. Well stated - I'm a reader and I hate when bloggers write books and suddenly that's all they post about or authors I follow just talk about their books.
    Part of the reason I, as a reader, reach out on social media is to see some of that personal connection. Maybe learn more about you than that blurb in the back of the book (that I don't see any more thanks to ebooks).

    That said, if I am following you, I do want to know all the details of your self-promotion too, what's next and when it is coming or if you are being featured on a blog, etc.

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    1. I so appreciate your visit! Your views as a reader are treasured, and seem to reflect the same things I see on social media! Blessings on your journey!!

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  7. Thanks for this wise and tactful post, Marianne! You and I met online (can't remember if it was through the publishing side, or the FB side), and I'm so glad we did!! I agree--promo has to follow relationship and be second to it. Oh for the grace to do this well, to put others first. I've seen several fellow authors (like you) succeed at this, and I love watching their example. Hugs, friend!

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    1. Annette, hugs and thanks right back to YOU. I'm so honored to call you friend, and can't wait to give you a hug IRL! :-) Promo vs. personal is a fine line we have to walk, and it's difficult, but when you cross the line by leaps and bounds, it tends to send red flags soaring for me. :-) Blessings to you always, dear friend, and thanks for including me in the SW family. #BlessedAndGrateful

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