December 5th, 2014

Why Social Media Is Central to your Writing Career

Laura KayeLaura Kaye

Most authors struggle with how to balance their writing time against their social media efforts. They feel that the more time they spend promoting their books on Facebook, Twitter, their blog, or other blogs, the less time they have to devote to writing. Some even go as far as wishing they could wash their hands of the whole business end of their writing career and concentrate on what they love best—writing books to put in readers’ hands.

I’ll admit, I’ve had these feelings sometimes, too. After all, there are a finite number of hours in the day. But I’ve come to look at it all a bit differently. I’m often asked how I juggle multiple book contracts and an active blog and an active social media presence and multiple promotional efforts all at once, and I’ve thought and thought about an answer that would be more useful than “I don’t sleep very much.”

I think I just might have found an answer that is more useful: I don’t see social media as a burden, and I don’t approach the business end of my writing career as being different or separate from the writing end of it.

Why do you write books? I write because, well, because I have to write. I can’t not write. But I also write because I hope my words and stories will bring a few hours of joy, happiness and pleasure to my readers’ lives. I do it for my readers. After all, if they weren’t out there reading and enjoying, I couldn’t do what I do. Therefore, when I think of social media, I see an opportunity to talk to and hang out with my readers and friends, not something burdensome or obligatory I have to do.

I adore seeing how readers will react to my excerpts or status updates or posts or weird observations I tweet. Online reader feedback is the best kind of instant gratification, and I find it fuels me. It’s fun and serves as a great break from writing or a way to productively fill ten minutes I couldn’t use for other activities.

  • Writing (X%)
    • Plotting, Writing, Revising, Pitching, Submitting, Editing
  • Business (X%)
    • Promotion (free), Marketing (paid), Administrative tasks

 Social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not being central to your writing career.

Similarly, I’ve learned that the business end of my writing career is just as important as the writing end. In fact, I’ve learned they’re equally part of the whole experience. In fact, for me, I’d fill in the X’s above with the number 50—as in, I estimate that, on average, I spend approximately 50% of my time doing writing-related tasks and 50% of my time doing business-related tasks.

When I’m on deadline, the percentage skews more heavily toward writing. And when I’m in the midst of a new release, it skews more heavily toward business—and I don’t let myself feel guilty or unproductive about that at all. Because, either way, both activities are central to my career. Indeed, these days, most authors can’t be fully successful without doing both. Therefore, social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not being central to your writing career.

I’m not talking about basic procrastination here (I excel at that, doncha know?)—yes, of course, procrastinating on the interwebz might thwart your writing goals for the day. Instead, I’m talking about shifting the way you think about how the time spent on social media, blogging and other promotional efforts relates to your career itself.

I think attempting a shift in attitudes about the time spent on social media has the potential to make it more enjoyable, more productive, more consequential, and less overwhelming. Of course, sometimes you just have to say nope, no time for Facebook today! But that’s a different thing from saying Oh, gawwwwd, guess I have to go post on Facebook and twitter now (cue long-suffering sigh). LOL

So, what do you think? Could a shift in perspective make the business end of your career easier to handle, manage, accept, and enjoy?

Thanks for reading!

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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About Laura’s new release, Hard to Come By (Hard Ink #3, 11/25/14)

 HardToComeBy mm largeCaught between desire and loyalty…

Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.

When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he’s become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.

As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…

Buy at Amazon | Amazon.ca | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Hard to Come By on Goodreads

 And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Hard As It Gets
Hard As You Can
Hard to Hold On To

31 comments to Why Social Media Is Central to your Writing Career

  • I so agree with you, Laura. I enjoy the Social Media part – I find it a great break from the writing side. You can only write so many hours in a day, so I feel like I’m doing the next best thing, when I’m working on my website, or tweeting, or…

    But I’m an extrovert at heart; I can see how this would be daunting for introverts.
    Necessary, but daunting.

  • I wanted to comment on the post until I saw that book. The cover! Blurb! I need to check it now!

  • Orly Konig Lopez

    Fun to have you on WITS, Laura!! 🙂

    I love this –> “I don’t let myself feel guilty or unproductive about that at all. Because, either way, both activities are central to my career.”

    I’m the poster child for Introverts Anonymous but I still enjoy the interaction on social media.

    Thanks for blogging with us.

  • I agree that social media is part and parcel of a writer’s career. I look at it as time to interact and socialize from the comfort of my own writing space. The more my name is in front of people of different careers and interests, the more likely my sales will follow. Thanks for sharing, Laura!

  • Holly Robinson

    Wow, Laura. This is about the most sensible, level-headed approach to the juggling act most writers have to do that I’ve ever come across–nice post! You really help us put everything in perspective.

    • I agree, Holly. It’s lovely to see this approach, and it makes me feel a lot less guilty about how much I enjoy my social media time. Some days even more than my writing. 🙂

  • Perspective and attitude is so important. I’ll admit though that I don’t know if I can ever find joy in blogging. Will head over to your website and see what the heck you blog about. 🙂 Many thanks – from a Harlequin Nocturne writer too!!

  • This is great and I see I need to change my perspective! I do like the social media end of writing, but find I sometimes procrastinate the writing end when I’m at a standstill and blame it all on social media. To get an even balance is the key. Thanks for this post!

  • I’m so with you here! Social media helps my writing and life in countless ways. It’s my warmup, my friend pool, my way to learn, connect and share… It’s also led to career opportunities that weren’t even on my radar. I hadn’t expected all of these perks, and am grateful every day.

  • Brianna Soloski

    I’ve been re-evaluating my approach to social media recently and changing my focus a bit. There are even more changes ahead in the coming year. I don’t get any ROI on social media, personally or professionally. Sure, I get a few likes and comments here and there, but for the most part, it’s just me, talking to myself. And that’s fine. It could just be that social media isn’t where I need to be focusing my efforts.

  • I really appreciate all your comments everyone! (and thanks, Barbara, for the cover love LOL!)

    Deb – I blog about things about my books I think my readers will want to know – sales, awards, fun cross-promos, giveaways. It’s reader-oriented, though, not purely promo. And I blog a ton about my author friends’ books, because I think readers are always interested in book recommendations from the authors they follow, plus I believe a lot in cross-promotion. I also occasionally do a blog hop kind of thing, also reader focused. Like, right now, I’m doing a holiday recipe ring with other Avon authors.

    Brianna – from the very beginning of my career, I found that promoting other authors helped build my social media reach. And I participated in lots of promotions like blog hops that help build your numbers ( so there’s actually someone there to talk to – that’s half the battle). I think the other thing is, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Get comfortable and build on one platform, and then expand when and if you feel comfortable in that.

    Enjoying your thoughts, guys!

  • I just have to say that the dude on your book cover has edible abs. That is all.

  • Laura,
    Wonderful thoughts. I’m with you in that I totally enjoy the interaction of social media. I’ve met so many amazing people, enjoy seeing their comments and talking to them, and it’s a blast sharing my photos of wildlife or inventing fun things to share on my social pages. For me it fills a part of my creative well. And, I appreciate all you do, Laura, you continually inspire me. I wish you every success!
    God bless,

    Diana

    • Diana, I’m going to follow you now – you had me at ‘photos of widllife’.

      • 🙂 Laura, I just accepted your friend request – thank you for sending one! I sincerely hope you enjoy my photos of wildlife, I love taking them. I look forward to getting to know you. Enjoy your weekend, and may your holidays be filled with friendship and laughter!

  • Angela Adams

    Great post. Thanks!

  • Fae Rowen

    I wouldn’t necessary call my self an introvert, like Orly freely admits to being, but I am a geek in most social situations in real life and feel very uncomfortable talking with people I don’t know. This whole social media edict thing (you have to have platforms and a boatload of followers) freaks me out. Your rational approach helps my math-mind wrap around this social concept in ways no one else has been able to touch. Thank you!

  • Phew, now I feel better! So it’s all about attitude, then.

  • I so appreciate blogging. I can try out ideas and styles. One of the things I discovered is how much of my humor comes through, especially in the short pieces. And because of that, I’ve remembered to work more of that humor into my book writing. I also grew up in a storytelling family and that extends into my own life. I tell stories. And like you, I appreciate having such a wide range of people and writing in my life.

    And while I spend less time on Facebook and Twitter than blogging, I really like having that window onto the world from my desk. I’ve avoided posting blog links to Twitter because Twitter seems more a media/political site than a promotional media, but I’d like to hear what you think. Do you promote on Twitter?

  • Hey, Laura and WITS folks. Love your take on the SM/writing contest. As in everything, it’s always our attitude. I do love blogging–my own and others. Janet, I do use Twitter for promotion. Frankly, I don’t know if it leads to sales, but if you remember the first rule of SM is relationships, then I think it does help as does FB. 🙂

  • I do enjoy social media, actually. I thought I wouldn’t, but once I got the blog going and the Facebook and Google+ (totally overlooked by so many people!) and Twitter more established, I find that I get a lot out of it! Like you said, it’s a break from the writing, and after the intensity of NaNoWriMo I had in November, I was more than happy to delve into Facebook again.

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