As authors trying, sometimes struggling, to get published, we are often called upon to be our own brand managers, our own chief marketing officers, and our own directors of communications in addition to being writers. We are told we need a “platform,” meaning Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, Tmblr, and Instagram accounts. I have to admit I hate it. Hate it, hate it. Hate. It!
When someone my age (51) says that, someone younger and more computer savvy invariably makes a comment about the way things are done these days. I often have to restrain myself from reminding these young whippersnappers it was my generation who freaking invented this stuff. (A line I am reminded I stole from Paula Benson!)
True confession time: I love checking Facebook for juicy gossip. I rather enjoy the blood sport of watching people, with some of whom I am barely acquainted, go at it over The Bachelor or Obama versus Bush versus Reagan, etc. I get giddy when I see some of my more conservative brethren practically implode when they are faced with one man kissing another man and then having the audacity to ask for equal treatment under the law. Facebook was created for my prurient interests, of that there is no doubt. Other than that I have no use whatsoever for social media. You could say, I’ve lost “Pintrest.”
As a matter of fact my psychiatrist says I display antisocial media tendencies. She's afraid one day I may become a “cereal” killer. (Okay, so it’s not that funny of a play on words!)
I read an excellent article online the other day. It's title? “Please Shut Up: Why Self-Promotion as an Author Doesn't Work.” You can read it here. It makes some excellent points. Perhaps I can get to the crux of it with this example:
Have you ever had a friend who you met and only know through church, and the only things that person can talk to you about are church-related?
“Hey Kathy. How was your day?”
“Isn't God wonderful? I have truly had a blessed day.”
"Kathy, I was sorry to see your house blew into a million pieces after that gas line explosion the other day.”
“Well you know, God doesn't give us more than we can handle.”
“Kathy, I heard your dog has an abscessed tooth.”
“Yes, Muffy needs your prayers right now.”
Having an author friend on Facebook feels much the same way. That author never posts pictures of his kids at Disney World without throwing in a reminder that he has a mystery series set in a theme park that involves a killer clown.
And don't even get me started on Twitter. The only thing I want to say in 140 characters or less is, "If you ever want to see your husband again, bring $5 million to the dock at midnight.” And I can still post that message loud and clear with letters cut out of a magazine and some rubber cement. I don't even need a computer.
As this article suggests, I just want to concentrate on writing the best novel I can. If I wanted to be Mark Zuckerberg, I would've learned to write computer code rather than complete sentences.
Do you think that authors are too pushy on social media?
Sam Morton is a three-time nominee for the coveted Tissue Award for best short story written on a piece of toilet paper. His cookbook, Urinal Cakes and Other Tasty Treats, was a finalist in the Culinary Writer’s Guild of America Book Of The Year contest, and he was a 2014 inductee into the I Never Met A Carb I Didn’t Like Hall of Fame. He and his wife Djibouti live on the south side of Chicago, the baddest part of town.
(SEE WHAT I MEAN?)