By Lynn McPherson
Everyone knows the beast that is social media. It's everywhere. How can an author manage the good, the bad, and the ugly? Today, let's look at how to find a balance.
Let's start at the beginning. Why use it?
There are lots of reasons social media is worthwhile. To begin with, it can help sell books. By having an active and interactive online presence, people get to know you and what you write. It is an opportunity to introduce the world to what's important to you. If you focus on subjects and topics that align with the themes in your book, you can help build your brand--and your audience.
Next, it is a way to be part of a (virtual) community. Social media gives authors a way to connect with their peers--other authors, booksellers, librarians, industry folks, and readers. You can stay at home and still interact with likeminded people. Finding a connection with others is what life is all about.
Finally, it can be a way to learn. Why not take the opportunity to improve your craft with tips and tidbits from quality sources--from Youtube videos created by literary agents, to author interviews, to informative podcasts from industry insiders--it's all there for the taking. Want to know about industry pitfalls? Find out manuscript wishlists from agents? Get advice on how to improve your writing? If you look around, there are gems to be found.
So, with all these great benefits, why not be connected all the time? Because you need to write.
Social media can be like a black hole, taking up minutes, hours, or even days. It is important to be aware of how much time and thought you are spending online. If you often find yourself distracted by it, maybe you should consider removing it from your laptop or desktop--whatever you use to write. If you are getting popups and alerts, you will be constantly interrupted, making it difficult to immerse yourself into your fictional world. Another option is to set specific times you go online. Fifteen minutes in the morning and a half hour at night, for example. Whatever works for you. Just make sure it doesn't use up the time and energy you need to write.
How much time to you spend on social media? Do you find it a worthwhile use of your time?