Digital Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong

I’ve been following along with a discussion about authors and self-marketing through a group set up by one of my publishers-to-be.  These men and women have absolutely fabulous ideas, and it amazes me how resourceful some of us starving artists can be.

But I have to agree with one of them.  There comes a point when you are spread so thin that you can’t possibly keep up with any of it anymore.

For example, I have accounts at:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

This Blog
ARe Cafe
Manic Readers
Goodreads
The Romance Studio
Kindlegraph

 

Then I have access/spots in:

Guest Blogs
Interview slots
Facebook groups
YahooGroups memberships
Six Sentence Sunday
Tuesday Tales

And I know there are more, but I can’t think of them right now.

…yeah, I think I’m doing this wrong.  The big discussion came from “how do I update everything at one time”… and I think the answer, plain and simple, is “you don’t.”

There are wonderful multi-tasking tools like HootSuite, but for someone like me with two facebook pages (one author profile and one real profile) and a plethora of other junk, it still doesn’t do me justice.  I tried it, and I like it, but it isn’t right for me.  Of course, part of my problem may be that I’m leading a double life as author AND administrative professional.  Yes, I do still have a full-time job.  I also have a family. And a child on the way. Plus,  I have an addiction to World of Warcraft.

All of those things, plus the laundry list of marketing spots makes for a very confused little girl here.  But being confused isn’t so bad.  I always have an excuse when I need one.

I’ve been a “professional” writer for just over three months now.  My first book was published in May.  I self-published something in June.  I have two under contract and three in production.  And I am completely overwhelmed.

At first, I had a lot of days where I kept thinking “OMG…I suck. I suck, I suck, I suck.  I suck, and I’ll never amount to anything.”  And then I got over it and started writing again.  And picked up another contract.  And then another.  And I’m finally starting to realize that I’m not as bad as I thought.

There are still days when I become completely overwhelmed by the lists of things that I have to do, to finish, and to say.  And that’s saying something, because I like to talk, and I do it a lot.  But I’ve also had realizations:

– When I get overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a step back and breathe.
– If I haven’t contracted for it, a deadline is just another day.
– Daily blog posts aren’t necessary.
– Lists are useful, even if they don’t mean much.
– A calendar is a necessity.

I’ve discovered that the list of accounts are great resources for when I need them.  The networking sites are a bit easier – I can just be me, and if they get to be too much, I can easily step back.  I know all of my people will understand.  The blog is my venting and advertising space.  One day I might get to the point where I start accepting guest spots…but I’m not quite there yet.

It takes a lot of time, and most of it is extremely intimidating – after all, as a writer I’m sort of on my own when it comes to my advancement and success.

That’s a scary thought.

But so long as I keep my head level, don’t freak completely out, and keep going with the flow, I’ll eventually get there.  Hopefully sooner than later, but you know… I’m really learning to enjoy the ride.

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9 responses to “Digital Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong

  1. Hi Siobhan, I appreciate your openness – especially the part about how on some days you think you’re a terrible writer and just suck. It’s nice to know that someone who’s been published and has paying contracts, also has self-doubts on occasion. So, using your super-powers of 20-20 hindsight, what would you do differently. What are the Top 3 things that you would tell a newbie author to focus on when it comes to digital marketing?

    • Hi, Benjamin! If I were to do anything differently, I’d have quit worrying and submitted LONG before I did.

      As for the top three, I think Douglas Adams said it best when he created the Hitchhiker’s Guide.

      1. DON’T PANIC. It isn’t worth it to stress yourself out, because you get less done when you worry. Take it as it comes, and in baby steps. If you jump in all at once (like I did), you will become overwhelmed fast.

      2. When you get to the breaking point, don’t be afraid to walk away. The internet, the rest of the world, and your books will all still be there when you come back. This goes for marketing and writing. I don’t care who said it or how adamantly, writer’s block is a real thing, and it can be paralyzing. And it can happen on more than just your books…blog posts stymie me all the time.

      3. Don’t compare yourself to other writers, new or established. I have to admit that I’m VERY guilty of it, and it does absolutely no good. You are your own person with your own style and personality. Use that to your advantage. I write romance and erotica, but I’m not a sexy vixen like a lot of my fellow writers. I’m just me, and I’m what I have to work with. It gets easier when you take the pressure off of yourself and just go with it. Who cares if they have pretty covers or lots of followers or big sales? It just means that they got started sooner.

      But that’s just my opinion. 🙂

  2. I feel your pain, my friend. I’ve been frantically working on a guest blog post for Sinful Writings since I got home from work. I’ve had no time to actually write something for myself. The good news is– I did schedule your post for tomorrow!!!!

  3. What about critique partners? Do you think it’s wise to get mulitple opinions or do you think it’s a watse of time?

    • As a matter of personal interest, I think a critique partner/group can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on your situation. I prefer a partner over a group, because it’s a more intimate setting and you’re more focused on each other than a six or eight people in a room.

      If you have a good partner that you trust (for example, I have Lexxx Christian from the previous post), then I think it’s worth the time and effort. It’s always good to have someone off which to bounce ideas or to talk you down when you threaten to throw your hero off a literary cliff. (I don’t know what I’d do without my Thursdays with Lexxx. I certainly wouldn’t get much done, I can tell you that.) I also think it’s helpful to have a partner who writes in the same general genre as you because there’s less room for misunderstandings.

      On the flip side, when dealing with critique GROUPS you’re (more often than not in my experience) faced with a group of frustrated writers who can at times take out their frustration on those who don’t deserve it. We have a friend that’s in a similar situation now, and every time she gets a set of comments back, she gets upset by the some of the unnecessary and often cruel remarks. She’s a fantastic writer, but doesn’t always have faith in herself… and that’s where it can be a curse, because you start to second-guess your abilities. (This also goes back to the past point I made to Benjamin above – don’t compare yourself to anyone else because it does you no good.) You also end up with more diverse styles in a group, and some of the comments you get back may not fit with your particular way of doing things.

      All in all, no matter which way you go, I definitely suggest taking any comments you receive with a grain of salt. And it’s not a bad idea to grow a pretty thick skin too, because sometimes even friends can (and will) tell you things that you don’t want to hear.

  4. Hi Ms. S., thanks so much for your reply, I will take all of your advice to heart. One more question(s); so…how did you deal with the Inevitable rejection that all new authors must find a way to cope with, if they expect to ever be published and what is your secret for developing a tough skin when it comes to the critics?

    • Funny you should ask that… I didn’t handle my first rejection well at all. I got mad and threw an absolute tantrum and swore I would never touch a pen again. But as usual, I got over it, realized that I was being a total idiot, and looked at the story again. It still needed work. Lots of it. Still does, as a matter of fact.

      When it comes to rejections, a big part of it is has to do with the number of submissions each publisher gets. With small presses being such a big fad right now, everyone who puts pen to paper is going to send something in, and it tends to overwhelm the submission editors. They’re having to slog through hundreds of these things a day, and it really doesn’t matter how good a story is… if it isn’t something they think will sell in their market, they won’t buy it. It doesn’t necessarily have a thing to do with the writer, because while it’s a passion for us, it’s a business for them. A rejection hurts, yes, because someone is judging something you’ve poured your soul into. However, it isn’t the end of the world. There are other publishers, agents, and people who will love you. And if an editor takes time to tell you why you were rejected, take that advice and say thank you, then do what they say for the next round.

      As far as developing thick skin against critics – I had one not too long ago that absolutely ripped me apart, and it really hurt because the author of said review was unnecessarily cruel. But a week later I got my royalty statement with a personal note from my publisher telling me people wanted more of my stuff, and it completely fixed that problem. So I look at it this way – for every one person that gets snarky, there are at least a dozen that like what you’ve done. The real trick to surviving the critics, though, is surviving your editor. She (or he) will be absolutely brutal, and will be paid to do it. If you can survive edits, you can handle anything.

  5. Thanks again – I think all your answers/comments are right on point. Thoughtfully done!!@

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