After writing two pieces this month on authors and social media, I have had some additional time to reflect and discuss this issue with various authors, publicists and readers. The vast majority of authors have said THANK YOU, readers and reviewers have said YES, EXACTLY THAT, and publicists have said THAT’S WHAT WE SAY ALL THE TIME!
But. In addition to those affirmations, some authors have reached out and told me that regardless of the benefits, they won’t be trying Instagram. A publicist told me that many writers believe their work is too pure to dilute with social media use – they shouldn’t need to use it. Another author told me the same thing.
I’m currently reading this book that is really making me think about distractions in general, and social media for authors in particular. I’m reading it for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and I highly recommend it to everyone – I’ll be telling my whole staff about it on Monday and referencing it in some speaking I will be doing at a conference in March.
Here’s the thing, though. I didn’t say that the AUTHOR had to be the one managing it all. I stated very clearly multiple times that it is completely acceptable to have someone else help you with it. People do it. It’s okay. In addition, I refute Newport’s story about an author who never touched social media and won massive literary awards. That author was a famous person in his field and had a huge marketing team behind him. It’s true that if you are an author whose publisher has decided to throw crazy amounts of money at your book, you can definitely step back. However, for the most part today, publishers are expecting authors to run their own social media and are NOT throwing massive amounts of money at debut authors. They just aren’t. I just chatted with a former colleague of mine about this as she is working on her own publicity for her book launch at the end of March.
You’re right. JK Rowling doesn’t need to use social media. Neither do many other huge name authors because their work is known and they have TEAMS doing their marketing. If you aren’t in that league, social media helps get the word out.
And if you need to focus on the Deep Work of writing, GET HELP. It can be even asking writer friends and reader friends to be on a street team for you – I know a middle grade author who did a FABULOUS job of this! There’s an adult author who just had a book come out who partnered with a craft-related company for a project that has taken off like wildfire with people posting photos of her book with their knitting projects. I have a million ideas for you, but just remember this……
If you are a debut author or a lesser known author with a book coming out soon, it is highly unlikely that your book will be widely known or anticipated if no one tells anyone about it.
That seems completely logical, right?
If you are okay writing in your stone castle in complete solitude and just writing and doing your Deep Work and NOT SELLING BOOKS, I am happy to leave you alone – you don’t need this advice!
But if you want to sell books and connect with readers, social media helps.
Get assistance with it if needed – IT IS OKAY TO DO THAT.
But while Newport is right about Deep Work being good, it does not market books.
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