Friday, October 26, 2012

Social Media Hangover?

Okay, so dude, there is so much going on on the social media channels. Day, night, morning, all the time!

I read a great post by Creepy Query Girl a couple of weeks ago, and if you haven't read it, you should.

Basically I agree with her assessment that there's just an overload of promotional things out there. Way more than there used to be three years ago, when the roads to publication were few and harder to step onto.

Now, I feel like I'm constantly inundated with requests to host people on my blog, read their books, or help promote their books. Not only that, but I'm still promoting my own books. With hundreds of thousands of books being published each year, how can one navigate the myriad of Rafflecopter giveaways, blog contests, and/or twitter chats (just to name a few)?

I'll tell you, it's not easy.

I find myself tuning out contests more an more. I glaze over tweets that read the same. I'm constantly trying to find my voice among a thousand other shouting authors.

It's a lot like this, actually...

Do twitter chats, rafflecopters, and blog contests still work? Sure. But I don't think they have the same impact now that they used to.

So what's an author to do during this social media hangover?



For the love, someone just tell me!

That's the problem: If I knew, so would everyone else, and that would be flooded too.

I know, I know, you're saying, "Dude, Elana, this is depressing. Give me some hope!" 

Well, here it is. Yes, the social media scene is flooded with giveaways and book blog tours, but there is something different about you and your books.



Don't be afraid to be yourself. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. 

Come up with a new way for people to enter a blog tour contest. 

Try to find a blog tour topic that anyone can participate in, whether they've read your book or not. 

Establish relationships with people online. 

Think through what you can do that no one else seems to be doing. 

Brainstorm with people, because two (or twenty) heads is always better than one. 

What do you think? Are you hung over from all the social media things going on? What ideas do you have to make your books stand out? 


Laura Pauling said...

I think we're all in social media blitz hangover. I agree unless the contest is big or you're a really big name, contests don't do too much.

I say focus on being yourself, spend way more time writing and creating product than on social media!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I recently saw a great blog post (on my Twitter feed) about this very topic. The gist was this: If you want to promote your book through social media, then you need to provide CONTENT to the social media platforms. You write about things that people want to read about -- or you do vlogs and book trailers that people enjoy watching because they are funny or informative.

You don't just advertise yourself. Because nobody wants to read or watch ads. Ads are things we put up with to get to the content we want. We don't seek them out.

Jessica Bell said...

yeah ... I skip over blog tours and contests and raffles, etc, now. But I do still read PROPER BLOG POSTS, you know, the ones where people are actually saying something about themselves that is interesting? You're right, I think just being YOU and writing informative/entertaining posts, is going to get you a lot more attention nowadays than running contest, etc. Because is people are interested in reading your articles, and they keep coming back to do so, then they're going to want to look into who you are and what you've done.

Jemi Fraser said...

There is definitely an overload. I've never joined anything other than blogging & twitter & I feel overwhelmed at times! Can't imagine having the other stuff too. And you're right - I tune out a lot of the promo automatically too.

Stina said...

I agree with everyone else. As soon as I see a contest or giveaway, I go somewhere else. I don't pay attention to blog tours--unless there's a post of interest to me. Interviews don't interest me. Technically, it don't really care who the author is. I only care if they write a good book. Not that I'm adverse if the author wants to be friends with me. Then it's a different story.

Do any of these things cause me to buy a book. Nope. I buy books because the blurb looks good and my friends recommend it to me via word of mouth.

Anonymous said...

I find myself skipping post after post about bloghops, book tours, give-aways. It's like someone, a couple years ago, had great success with one of these ideas and WHAM everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Some of it reminds me of a McDonald's birthday party, and the host of the event is Ronald himself. Where's the meat? Sorry, I rant. You hit a nerve. I agree, market with sincerity, content, and a strong belief in who you are. Amen. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some of it is still effective, but I think that's why it's important to have a lot of friends online. They can do more for you than anyone else.
And inundated with requests? I know the feeling. Even blogged about it today.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Funny that I'd just barely read Talli Roland's blog post about whether or not authors should blog. I'm totally with you here, Elana. I follow people's blogs because I enjoy the connection I feel with them as people.

Angela Brown said...

I believe there is such as thing as "too much of a good thing". This is where social media falls for me. There are so many outlets, so many venues that after a while, it all becomes static. The white noise dismissed in the background.

However, as mentioned by others, it can still be useful though not as "impacting" as it may have been when first introduced. The novelty of it is wearing down.

And as Alex mentioned, that's where having a great network of friends comes into play. We can stand on top of the mountain and shout about our book, but others telling others, spreading the word from friend to friend to friend...that's the "original social" way to get word out about your books.

Jill Kemerer said...

Twitter has become one big link list for writers. (Hey, I was guilty of retweeting tons of posts too.) Last week I searched hashtags for conversations--and there are precious few not being used to promote blogs.

If I want to just read blogs, I'll go to my Google Reader.

Social media is sooo overloaded with promotional links. I miss just talking to people, so I'm making an effort to bring that back. Whether anyone responds or not, I'm tweeting what I'm doing a few times a day--NO links involved! Ha!

Kristen Lamb successfully took her #MyWANA hashtag back from a glut of links to a safe place for writers to hang out.

I spend much more time on Facebook now, because it's chatty.

And while I do everything I can to help my friends' debut novels get noticed, I skip blog tours, contests, and anything promotional anymore.

You're right on the money, Elana. What worked two or three years ago has become a big, blobby mess, and no longer works.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I do think there is an overload of social media to participate in. I do still like blogs because we can say more of value here.

I don't think we should expect our followers to follow our blog tours. We're too busy. But they can be a good tool to introduce interested readers to our books. I've found that there isn't much comments unless there's a giveaway included. This is true even on popular book review blogs like The Story Siren and Mundie Moms. I will enter giveaways for books I'm excited to read. But only those as I have way too many books to read for my blog and that I want to read. And I'm starting to get lots of books from publishers now that they're noticing me. So I think balance is the key. I think doing a short blog tour when a book releases and then something small a few months later and 6 months from publication could be more effective.

Shallee said...

Social media is about people. I once read the book The Greatest Salesman in the World (HIGHLY recommended). The point of it is that a salesman doesn't have to be obnoxious or constantly promotional. We instead need to connect with people, one on one, find out what they need/want, and give it to them-- then we're performing a service rather than pushing a product.

To me, this is the perfect formula for social media!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Sometimes you gotta just step back.


Tasha Seegmiller said...

Increasingly, I'm finding that there are people I really listen to because they are saying something. The people who just retweet everything I generally keep away from my lists in twitter because they don't have anything to say and don't warrant a focused attention.

ilima said...

Yes, I'm hung over. I don't even have a book sold yet and I'm already tired of promoting it. Ha!

Jessie Humphries said...

This has been totally bothering me lately. I just can't get into Twitter, I have no idea what Tumblr is. I hate Pinterest because it is sensory overload and makes me feel bad about my poor sense of design and my inability to make cute things. But you are sort of my mentor and I'll follow your lead.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Elana! I like to blog and read blogs. I like Twitter, but find it hard to follow at times. Google + is fun, but it is 98% of the people whose blogs I already follow. I'm not crazy about Facebook. I really like helping promote authors, but find that people are getting tired of the same old thing. I like reading/doing interviews, but there are a lot of people who don't like bothering with them. This is where we all need to think outside of the box, to find new ways to pique people's interest.

Anonymous said...

I'm so burnt out on social media it's ridiculous. So I pretty much do just what I want to do. I do some light facebooking, blog sporadically, and support authors/writers I like by buying and reading their books. I try to get the word out when I can, but honestly, with not being all that "social," I frequently miss out on when people are running contests, etc. And I'm weirdly totally okay with this.

Sara B. Larson said...

It has definitely become completely overwhelming over the years, and I agree that it is less and less effective. My approach is to focus mostly on making real connections. To get to know people and make friends. Yes, I still try to promote my friend's books, and occassionally join a contest or two. But mostly, I am trying to just be real. Be me. And that's the best I can do and hope the people who follow/friend me like that. If not, they can always delete me I guess! ;)

Mary Aalgaard said...

All things in moderation. You can't do it all, and you certainly can't do it all in one day. I am hesitant to join any more sites at this time. I'm sticking to the basics for now.

Unknown said...

I think every step in writing and publishing is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Never easy, but creative types must embrace the challenges. Again, and again, and again!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

So many books. So many voices. I finally came to the conclusion that those who care, will care. Pushing too hard doesn't do anyone any good. I'm doing what I love and I have to stick with that. Making true friends and supporting those close to me has to be good enough for now. :)

June G said...

Social media definitely has become somewhat of a drag. For me, it's the big time suck of all the online goings-on. It was stressing me out and I don't even have a book published! Crazy.

I finally felt better when I gave up trying to keep up. I don't blog every day, or even every week. I gave up on my daily Twitter-fests, though I love Twitter...It just took too much time.

My husband doesn't blog, tweet or do anything social media related. He doesn't have a clue when I talk about the folks online...His life is just fine. Maybe we should all follow his lead---at least a little bit! LOL...

Thanks again for an awesome, validating post, Elana!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

My secret?

I've given up. Oh, I still write. My covers are beautiful and evocative.

My latest contest has autographs of Robert Downey, Jr. Nathan Fillion, and Jennifer Lawrence as prizes.

I dare to write thoughtful posts that demand thought and gather cyber-dust.

We either write because we must or we shouldn't write at all.

As a rare blood courier, I have very little free time. I visit my friends as much as I can ... which isn't as often as I want.

Yet, I am happy as I picture my haunted jazz club, Meilori's, and my "friends" who chat with me about their adventures.

I will never be JK Rowlings. Sandra, my best friend, said my legs aren't pretty enough!

That's all right she says. I am myself which, in her book, is a fine thing.

Thanks for a thoughtful, fun post. Roland

Nichole Giles said...

I so agree. Serious hangover. I hope my voice can be heard by...someone other than the crickets. Thanks!

Leslie S. Rose said...

The word blur comes to mine. My TBR pile is already growing feet and threatening to stomp on me. It has forbidden me to enter any more giveaways.

Nicole said...

Agreed! It's hard to keep up, even though all the individual posts and interactions are great. Social media has such potential, but at the same time I still like to retreat from the blogosphere, back away from my computer and curl up with a good old fashioned paperback now and then. ;)

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Stephsco said...

As another commenter mentioned, Kristen Lamb took back her writerly-support hashtag back from spammers (mostly, it's not entirely preventable). I've had a great time with social media and the best experiences are when I'm having fun with it, not just sending out links. I do that if I legitimately want to share something but I pretty much bow out of any contest that requires tweeting about it or promoting that blog. I promote blogs based on content I like to share.

Having said that, I do enter contests sometimes, or at the very least, comment to support the author. I can't do it for everybody but I like to support writers who are trying to get their book out there. Great thoughts!

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