Writerly Wednesday

I think this link is pretty self-explanatory: “I Will Be Your Friend, But I Will Not Be Your Fan: A Rant About How Authors Use Social Media For Self-Promotion.”

Ideally, I think, social sites are for friendly conversation and debate, for sharing good news and bad news, for meeting new friends, for posting amusingly captioned cat pictures. The community we’re building is a community based on friendship. Now, we humans have verrrry sensitive antennae when it comes to our social interactions. We can tell when somebody is being friendly versus when they’re trying to sell us something. When authors intrude on social spaces with their self-marketing it can make our antennae twitch like crazy.

The best writing advice I ever heard was from an extremely successful writer of MG and YA books, and it was about self-promotion. The advice was, essentially, this:

Don’t bother. Just write the next book.

There was also an excellent follow-up: “Solutions: One Way to Deal with the Self-marketing Frenzy, Plus a Shout-out to Publishers.”

(Both of those came to me via Erin — thanks!)

Also, did y’all know that Dr. Seuss’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM is now 50 years old? Man, hearing that makes me feel 50 years old. I remember my mom reading Dr. Seuss to me as a kid… I also had a video of ONE FISH, TWO FISH, RED FISH, BLUE FISH that I absolutely loved!

Anyway, to celebrate the anniversary, Random House is sponsoring an adorable Ham It Up video contest, going on between now and Nov 3rd. Prizes include $2,000 and a year’s supply of ham (probably not the green kind). I watched at least one really cute entry that could be stiff competition, but in general the odds are pretty good, so check it out!

12 responses to “Writerly Wednesday”

  1. Todd Newton Avatar

    Interesting. However, while a post like that says a lot about what NOT to do, there aren’t a lot of posts around that say what TO do. Then again, if we all knew what worked, it wouldn’t work anymore because we’d all be doing it.

    It’s like a choice between waiting for the train that may never come, or picking the nearest train to run screaming alongside until it stops and lets you on.

  2. Kimberly Franklin Avatar

    That video is super cute! My dog wouldn’t be so cooperative! :)

  3. Sonja Avatar

    If I were to get a book deal, I would love not having to do any self promotion. Sounds perfect.

  4. Shari Avatar

    Fifty years old? Seriously? Sometimes I feel like my childhood was only yesterday, but then I hear things like that and I realize … not so much :P I used to love Dr. Seuss books when I was younger. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is still on my bookshelf. The message never fails to make me smile :-)

  5. Reader Avatar

    I love this. Love this. I get caught up in a) studying all the material — blogs, books, everything…I am fantastically overwhelmed by the information to learn about writing itself. Then the last few days I’ve been so burnt and stopped and said “um…you actually have to write”. I think I need to stop “studying” all the technicals, all the “how-to’s”, I need to stop worrying about getting up a blog to start honing my skills and connecting, etc. I need to get back to that core. And just write. Thanks for the great reminder.
    I think I’ve had the creative passion sucked out of me. I need to find it again. I need to be a kid again and just relax and let it flow and stop the pressure-cooker I only impose on myself.

  6. Amanda Kendle Avatar

    You’ve reminded me that one of the best things about having a baby is that you have a really good excuse to read Dr Seuss books. I bought the whole boxed set not long after Ruben was born and we read them over and over. Think I might be getting more benefit than him!

    On the more serious issue, that fine line between self promotion and “social media friendship” is very tricky, isn’t it? I’m just about to run some training courses on how to use social media for promotion (for community courses/speaking events) and I’m trying to make sure they understand that you have to be genuinely friendly and interactive, not just promotional.

  7. Jon Avatar

    Agreed. I hate “fan” requests from total strangers, especially on facebook. I have to know and appreciate your music/art/drawing/writing before I can adulate you!

    RE: Dr. Suess: but will you eat green eggs and ham?

  8. Kristan Avatar

    Haha, the train analogy is a good one. I think there are in-between options, you know? But the right place in the middle ground is something we all have to find for ourselves.

    I think Riley would be cooperative… I’m just confused about what those green eggs were actually made of!

    Oh, but readers would LOVE your sarcasm and wit! At least you’re funny. I ramble. :\

    Heh, we have that book too. Graduation present to Andy — I actually didn’t get it, which is fine. I think Asian families don’t realize the significance of that book, lol.

    Glad to be a helpful reminder. :) I know I need a lot of them. It is SO easy to get caught up in the blogosphere, and it IS helpful to be educated about this industry and what’s going on — BUT it’s also a huge time and energy suck, and we’ve all got to find the balance between staying informed and being productive.

    So I hope you find that balance! Good luck with your writing. :)

    Yes, please please PLEASE make sure they understand that. Or give me a list of the ones who don’t get it so I know who to avoid. :P

    Exactly! I mean, I’m fairly generous with my Fan/Friend-ing, because I don’t show my Like pages publicly, but I still resent the request if it’s not from someone I have a genuine connection with. And I usually end up deleting them later, lol, when I’m feeling purge-y.

    And no, I probably wouldn’t eat green eggs or green ham, unless they just had some pesto on them or something. :P

  9. Joelle Avatar

    Me and my sister wrote a slightly warped, no let me try that one again. Me and my sister wrote a very warped version of one fish, two fish. Not fit for little ears that is for sure.

  10. Sarah Avatar

    Just the word “ham” kind of grosses me out. Don’t know why. It’s so close to “spam” maybe? I do eat ham, but I don’t say the word before eating because it might put me off.
    Writers are an eccentric bunch, eh?

  11. Sarah Avatar

    oh, p.s. those social media quotes make me feel less stressed and generally vindicated. okay, I’ll stop talking now.

  12. Kristan Avatar

    Hah, you would do something like that!

    Hmm, neither ham nor spam (as words) gross me out. But yes, we writers are eccentric. And also, we don’t have to blog to self-promote! We can just do it for fun! Rejoooooice! :D