Monday, February 01, 2016

Suffocation by Social Media

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of Rapid-Fire Fiction. After twenty-five years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. She can be found at:
     Twitter: @roniekendig
     Instagram: @kendigronie

Reviewers call Ronie's newest release, EMBERS, "Simply amazing!" 

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I have a confession: I'm easily overwhelmed...with social media. Sometimes, it feels like I'm being pulled in a thousand different directions by just as many platforms. While I *love* people, sometimes, it starts to feel like Suffocation by Social Media. And all I want is...OUT! 

VVolt N629 (ret)
The publishing industry has changed, and it's now expected of an author to "on stage" and performing to the crowds, so to speak. Some authors thrive on this demand for in-person engagement. Some of us feel like we're drowning. Don't get me wrong--I ADORE getting to know people, hearing their stories, learning about them. But I also have a family and children to homeschool, a retired military working dog that I can't shut up about, and--oh yes, I need to write. :-)
So, how can we not only survive, but thrive in this digital world? I scrounged up some tips to help. 
  • Be There! - Today's readers demand interaction with their favorite authors. Most have come to feel its disingenuous for authors not to engage with readers, and while I agree to a point, we must also guard our time and energy for writing. So to avoid Suffocation by Social Media, schedule time to be online and choose one  (or two?) forms of social media that works for you, and Be There! 
  •  Be A Champion! – We all had help in one way or another getting to whatever point we're at. Be that to someone else. Find an author or aspiring writer, and champion their journey. Be there for them. We all had help climbing the ladder, so reach back and help someone else climb. Not with critiques or whatever. Just cheer them on. I've been determined about this for the last couple of years. It feels so empowering and fulfilling to help others, to Be A Champion!  
  • Be Authentic - Readers definitely want to know about your books--after all, that's how they probably discovered you in the first place. Because our readers want to engage with us, they love learning about you, about your life. Everyone needs to be careful what you share, but when you are smart about what you share, it creates an atmosphere of friendship and fun. Show readers glimpses of the real YOU. Be Authentic. 
  • Be Protective! – Our family endured a frightening incident a few years ago when a woman ingratiated herself into my writing world through one of my social media accounts. She then friended my then-14 year old daughter. Next thing we knew, this supposed fan had my daughter’s full name, phone number, our address, and had put my daughter in contact with two older men.She then offered to “come and get” my daughter, if she wanted to leave home. What?!?!?! It happens, so be alert. Be smart. While it's important to engage, we also must be careful and remember that we have no obligation to share private information. So, be there, but Be Protective! 
  • Be You! –  The amazing marketing guru, the Great Rudini (aka: James L. Rubart, author of the new The Five Times I Met Myself) once told me, "Ronie, the reason people will buy books is because they like you.” The last "you" could be replaced with "the author." The point: Relationships have to be built, and building requires engaging. So, talk to your readers. Find out what’s happening in their lives. Engage readers with questions like “what do you. . .?” or “what is your favorite. . .” This is an invitation for readers to not only get to know you, but for you to get to know them. And it's so much fun--just Be You!
  • Be fun!! Don’t we all want to be there’s laughter and smiles? Then create some of your own. Have fun with those who are willing toe engage and the “party” will become contagious and draw others. Find what works. Be fun!!  
  • Be Short and Sweet! - We live in a fast-paced world that demands information in tidbits, short and sweet. Remember, they're the same people upset when the drive-thru takes longer than 5 minutes. Messages longer than, oh say...140 characters, make their eyes bleed. Engage, but let's Be Short and Sweet! 
So there you have it. Being an author is hard work, but if you break it down into some bite-size pieces, it'll be manageable--and fun--and you'll practice good netiquette at the same time! 

Do you have a favorite tip to avoid Suffocation by Social Media?
Let us know in the comments, please!

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"Simply Amazing!" 

Ronie's most recent release, Embers, is an epic fantasy adventure that  is wowing readers! 


Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but he is crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the Nine has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?

Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-wielding ability to her brother. When she does, it comes at a terrible price and arouses their father-king's wrath. 

Haegan flees alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for his sister and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth. 


Ron Estrada said...

Last year I discovered Periscoope and Blab. Wanting to be up on the latest wave of social media wonder, I dove in, scheduling times each day or week to make my appearance. Yeah. It took about a month to burn out. I think we're now into the backlash era of social media. People are either checking out or simply ignoring it. A quick scan of my Twitter feed reveals about 20 ads to "buy my book" and maybe one personal note. The rush to "get more followers!" has resulted in large, meaningless numbers.

I've been focusing on replying to those people who reply directly to me. These are actual fans or friends. We should take much more time nourishing those relationships than tossing a net over the entire Twitterscape, hoping to land a few people who probably don't even read. Same thing with Facebook. I've tuned out the political jabs (with great effort) and focused on what is helpful, uplifting, or personal. I think I like Instagram the best. Not only does my target readership of teens live there, but it is nearly impossible to spam or grow followers for the sake of numbers. I actually get most of my personal messages on that platform.

Thanks for the post, Ronie!

Patricia Beal said...

Twitter doesn't stress me. Facebook did. I used to be so overwhelmed. Then I got one of those two-year planners for fifty cents at Dollar General exclusively to plan Facebook posts. What a blessing. I schedule one post for every day, and if I add more later or share something, that's great, but the pressure is off. I can live with one FB post per day. I'm scheduling April now :) When I show up online a few times a day, I show up to hang out, reply--reap. Love it. This works for my fans, who know and love seeing a pretty ballet tutu every #TutuTuesday, a Bible verse every Sunday, a #WIPWednesday post every Wednesday, either a #TravelThursday or #TBT on Thursdays, #JumpForJoy on Fridays, etc... I hope it works for you and your followers. It was life changing for me :)

Southern-fried Fiction said...

It's tough, knowing what to do and when. I'm afraid I need to actually try a schedule of some sort, to remind myself to take 5 minutes every 3 hours or so to tweet or something. If I were rich, I'd hire someone to help me. Oh, quit laughing.

Edward Arrington said...

Ronie, I appreciate this article. I'm a reader rather than an author. When I found myself unemployed before I had planned to retire, I started reading more and began connecting with various authors through Facebook. I was selected for several street teams and started following authors via FB, e-newsletters, blogs, etc. I discovered book giveaways and won books from time to time. All of this meant more time on social media. Now authors ask their street teams to use Pinterest and various other social media with more and more Facebook pages, etc. I have gotten overwhelmed and started backing off to some extent. If I don't, all I will have time to read will be blogs, websites, social media posts, etc. and will never read another book. I have to monitor my activities. I think your suggestions are as valid for readers as for authors.

chappydebbie said...

I think you've been doing great on the social media aspect....scary thing that happened to your daughter by the aren't overdoing your exposure on Facebook, yet you are there. I look forward to seeing pictures of Vvolt. This is a great post. Sharing.