Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Social Networking Fail or Save Me from Myself!

What do you mean overcapacity??
It doesn't matter what stage of the writing game you're in these days. From newbie writer, just banging out your first query to published author, pretty much everything you read will tell you the same thing. Get out there! Blog, network, and get yourself on every social networking/writing forum known to man or you might as well just throw in the towel right now, because no editor, agent or reader will know you and you're going to be a monumental failure! Who will want to sell your book when you can't even sell yourself? Gah!!@#$%^&*)*&^%$#@!

I accepted your friend request, what more do you want??

 So, the good little soldier that I am, here is my social networking footprint:

1.    Joined (awesome site, btw) just after I finished my first novel and started querying.  This was in January of 2008.
2.    Started my blog in May of 2009, just after I got my agent.
3.    Sold my first book in July of 2009, subsequently went crazy (see below) with worry     about promoting myself or no one would know who I was and therefore never ever  buy my book.
4.     Joined Twitter
5.     Joined Facebook
6.     Subscribed to every writer's blog and/or website on the planet
7.     Joined YALITCHAT
8.     Joined Enchanted Inkpot
9.     Joined SCBWI
10.   Joined SCBWI Listserve
11.   Joined Private Online Writers Group
12.   Joined Goodreads
13.   Joined AuthorsNOW!
14.   Joined JacketFlap
15.   Joined Chicago Writers Association
16.   Joined She Writes
17.   Joined Book Blogs
18.   Joined Shelfari
19.   Joined Mixx
20.   Joined Project Mayhem
21.   Joined numerous off shoots of Twitter, Facebook, Ning groups and the like...

Are you seeing a pattern here?? How is a writer supposed to write, when we are a member of so many networking groups, because it's so important that we promote ourselves?? These are all great groups/sites, etc., many I would highly recommend joining and I've met lots of fantastic writers, but c'mon, what the heck was I thinking? Did I really think I'd be able to come up with thought provoking commentary on all these sites on a daily/weekly basis? I felt a certain responsibility to myself, that if I didn't make time for everything I was letting myself down! I was letting my book down. Heck, I was letting my family down! Really?

Uhhh...You're doing it wrong...
Okay, that was seriously exhausting (scary) to write. I suppose my point is I had to cut down--severely, not to mention quit wigging out that I was tanking my future if I didn't social network constantly. I've had to force myself to realize you can only do so much. I had a talk with my agent a few months back, freaking about how sales were going to go with Nightshade City (before my book was even on sale) and I was so upset! She told me in no uncertain terms I must chill! She said I must stop worrying about all that. She's seen careers ruined, she told me, because of authors being preoccupied with promoting themselves and their work, constantly worried about sales and nothing else and the preoccupation can become paralyzing to a writing career, which she'd seen happen. OMG! Our job is to write--write books!

Long story short, I needed someone to tell me it's okay to be human. That I didn't have to comment on every post on facebook or every tweet on twitter or read/comment on every writing blog in the known universe. We are not super men and super woman--we are just people--people with kids, and jobs, and classes and bills...and dreams--lots of dreams. So, everyone who feels overwhelmed by their blogs, their friends, their followers, their comments or lack thereof, their likes or friend acceptances or ignores, all I can say is don't. STOP NOW! Click out of all those social networking sites, open up that mesmerizing little word doc icon on your desktop and write! PLEASE! You deserve it. ;)

xoxo -- Hilary


  1. Mary Kelly Ryan11/3/10, 9:44 AM

    I totally feel the same way. I seriously need to spend less time networking and more time writing.

  2. I think social networking is a fantastic tool for a score of reasons. We just know when to say when! I'm so much happier with just fb, twitter and my blog! ;)

  3. Lovely! Funny thing I covered this topic today! Here is my link (I linked this post on it).

  4. Ha! Great minds think (tweet) alike, Angela! ;)

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  6. I agree Hilary. Twitter, FB, and my blog are the ones that are do the most for me and still allow me time to WRITE and spend time with family!

  7. I agree, and I also use good reads to keep up with my read lists. I mean outside of that how can anyone find time to write, not to mention read anything.

  8. Oh my gosh. I swear this is so SO funny. I feel like this every day. Don't get me wrong, I love blogging and tweeting and facebooking etc. But when the pressure is on to do it, it's less fun and you really start to feel the pressure - all self inflicted of course. It's so reasuring to hear that others feel the same way. Thanks for posting!

  9. So true! I know I struggle with this too--and I'm not even published yet. My blog has 1200 followers, and I wish I had time to read all of their blogs every day (shoot, I'd be happy if I had time to read half) But I don't. I have even less time to comment on blogs. And it kills me. But I only have so many hours in the day, so I just do the best I can and let the rest go. I can only do so much. I *hope* it will be enough.

    Great post!

  10. It's a big relief to know others feel the same way. I think we need to give ourselves a major break. It's always hard to let things go, but we're so much better for it! ;)

  11. Amen!! I was starting to get overloaded with social networking. Blogged down if you will! Thanks for the great post, Hilary!

  12. I hear you! And I think the personality of the writer plays into it as well. It was so relieving when I talked blogging over with my agent, and she calmly said that it just wasn't for everyone. I had been forcing myself to blog for a while, and I really needed to stop.

    I find that a cooperative blog like this one is a much better way for me to keep the conversation with other writers and readers going than scraping up sad little posts for my personal blog.

    Thanks for the good reminder that balance is so important for a writer.

  13. I think it's so cool that you got your agent before doing everything else. So opposite of most. Personally blogging and FB is all I can take. I do have twitter, but I'm not ashamed to admit I still don't really get it.

    I barely find enough time to write as is.

  14. I hear you Hillary. I really enjoy blogging because it keeps me in touch with the writing community and focused on writing on a daily basis, but it can be a time drain. I'm trying to do NaNo, have more responsibilities at work, and trying to query my current project, so something's got to give. I figure people will understand if I don't comment as often over the next few months.

    Also, I'm with Matt, I still don't get twitter!

  15. Hilarious (and true) post, Hilary! LOL at the Tony Perkins friend request.

  16. Hilary, that list is INSANE! Glad you cut back! You're going to run yourself down girl. I think if you find a couple you love to do and devote yourself fully it is better than sprinkles here and there.

  17. Phew! Thanks, I needed to hear that. I feel so much better now : )!!!

  18. I'm so glad others feel bogged down too! It's nice to know you're not alone. No more guilt! :)

  19. Funny thing. So as I'm reading all the networking sites you joined, I'm starting to feel anxious thinking, "Dang, I need to get on all of those." Good thing the rest of your blog relaxed me. I've decided I'm just going to focus on three social networking sites (blogger, facebook, goodreads) and join two societies (LUW and SCWBI) and call it good. I already think those three sites (and email) eat into my day an awful lot. Good post.

  20. Wow--what a list, Hilary! Made my head swim just reading it. Glad you're now giving yourself actual time to write :)

  21. Thanks so much for posting this. I'm a follower of lots of blogs and try to read/comment regularly. But you're right, sometimes it takes up the precious little time I have after working full time and family to write. Thanks for giving me permission not to feel like I have to do it all.

  22. Thank you! Helpful perspective at this point in time over here.... :-)

  23. I think you have just saved me :)

  24. I'm not an author but just a reader and followerer of the authors I enjoy. I find it hard when an author is all over the bloggosphere, on facebook, Twitter, and on and on. Who can follow all that and how can you keep the message about what makes your book so special without becoming redundant?

  25. Excellent post, Hilary. All of that really is too much, isn't it? I certainly can't keep up with it. I enjoy reading author blogs and aspiring writer blogs, but I'm always amazed at what time it is after I've read "just a few." And then I realize I haven't even checked facebook or twitter.

    The writing HAS to come first. I'm trying to stick to what agent/author John Cusick said in March: "Write first, tweet later."

  26. MZ is such a wise woman. :)

    Social networks can be overwhelming. You hear at conferences you should doing this this and this. I realized what I am confortable with is my blog. I lurk on twitter, use FB mostly for family and friends (and a few writing friends) and a couple other networks like goodbooks, but it does get overwhelming....

    Great post, Hilary!

  27. Wonderful advice, Hilary! The writing must come first!

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!