Oh please don’t get me started!
OK, I’m started.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media, just like I have a love/hate thing with authors being ultimately responsible for promoting books.
No, I am not going to fight city hall here. I’m too old, and there are other things I’d rather spend my limited energy fighting anyway. (You may fill in blank here.) Social media as a means to promote books is obligatory. End of argument. But I will say that for every minute I spend on social media, I spend less on the reason I am on social media: The Book.
When I go to conferences, I often stop by panels on how to use social media to promote The Book. Inevitably, I am impressed by the amazing creativity and effort the speakers have spent on coming up with all the ways one can do this. Then the insidious, semi-jealous questions arise. Have I read this person’s fiction? And, once sought out, will I want read it?
I am not going to be snarky, pontifical, and officious here, or at least not all that much. Of course, there are writers I don’t like because their work isn’t to my taste, whether or not they are social media gurus. There are fine writers who can use social media delightfully and productively, writers I could never match in either craft or promotional skill. But I am not in their class. As was once cruelly said about a former President, I can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. So what’s a politely defined, mid-talent ranker like me to do?
Spend as little time as possible on social media, but use that time for the biggest impact. Be selective. Ask yourself what your ultimate writing goal is and assess your ability to achieve that as dispassionately as possible. Do what you are most effective doing. Do what you enjoy. Dump everything else. In the end, craft matters. Even pulp fiction can have its moments of glory. But it is also true that you can be the finest writer since Euripides, but, if no one knows your work exists, it doesn’t matter except to family and friends. Social media counts. Grind your teeth, do it, and, if you are me, shut up.