Counting Up To Networking

Summer?  It’s here?  Where?

It seems that summer is upon us.  At least, it is in some places!  Personally, I’m not convinced.  The weather here certainly doesn’t suggest it.  Anyway, judging by the stats, a fair number of people are now able to get out and about in good weather, and maybe even have vacations.  There’s definitely been fewer people looking around the blog over the last week or two.  Hopefully they’ll wander back when they aren’t off enjoying themselves LOL!  In the meantime, while the summer months may not get the same volume of traffic, I’ll maintain posting daily, if possible.

Numbers

Anyway, I was delighted to discover, this morning, that the blog has still managed to reach a total of over 7.000 views since I started it!  The vast majority of those views, more than 6,300 of them, have come since the beginning of 2013.  The blog also has just over 370 direct followers – kind folk who have either clicked on the ‘Follow’ link if they use WordPress.com too, or subscribed by email.  I would like to thank all of you who have done so!  When the Social Networks are added in, that’s a lot of followers or people who at least receive notifications of what’s happening on the blog.  In fact, there are 1280 Twitter and 370+ Facebook followers.  I also have way over 500 LinkedIn connections, 200+ fans and friends on Goodreads, and links with folk on Google+, Pinterest, tumblr, etcetera.  Of course, there’s duplication, but it’s still an awful lot of very good people!

The Same Old Advice?

I have seen a few posts recently extolling the virtues of Social Networks.  It still intrigues me that the message is still being pounded out that Social Networks are not only nice to be a part of, but fundamentally essential to success, despite my own recent findings to the contrary.  Don’t mistake me!  I have no intention of abandoning the Social Network scene!  What concerns me is the forceful claims.  Surely these must impact on those newest to writing and self-publishing?  If that’s true, just how useful, or damaging, is the advice?  Active participation in, for example, Facebook soon leads folk away from the matter in hand into strange lands, where peculiar graphically enhanced (GE rather than GM) quotations – many of dubious authenticity in regard to the alleged sources, humorous photographs of animals and other matter, status messages where folk have hit the panic button having read a piece of ‘news’ proven entirely false some years previously, invitations to participate in (fake) competitions for products that are too good to miss out on owning, invitations to join groups/like pages/play games… well, you get the idea!  So, the one absolute certainty of devoting significant time to Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter is that there’ll be no hope of ‘distraction free’ writing!  Other networks can be approached with a little more confidence, but even they have their dangers, circling like sharks, ready to strike.  For example, Goodreads.  There is, in my honest opinion, nothing to compare with Goodreads!  It is a superb system for readers, authors and reader/authors.  But, there are perils, mostly in the form of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of ‘special interest groups’ and more generalised forums.  Join more than a handful, and you will be pulled and pushed, poked and prodded, to be active in them.  And that’s when the trouble starts – just like Facebook and Twitter: overload!  So the potential damage to the actual writing process is obvious.  What about benefits?  Well, I guess there are some.  When an author’s website or blog is very new, then the Social Networks may bring a few visits from the curious, and I do mean a few!  The evidence simply can’t be disputed.  A more significant benefit is in finding other authors!  But even there, it’s good to be wary.

Mistakes in Social Networking

Believe it or not, many authors who have been using the Social Networks for a significant amount of years are actually abusing the system, deliberately or otherwise.  It may be that they simply haven’t got the message, or they may have ignored or discarded it.  There is, however, a very simple truth that must be given heed to!  It is very bad practice to issue post after endless post advertising your book(s)”!  Don’t believe it?  Then you evidently enjoy being continuously Spammed via email, social network sites, and so forth.  More, you enjoy Spamming others!  Because that’s what it is.  If all you ever post is advertising your work or you, then people will flock to the doors – the exit doors!  Apart from the Spam aspect, it’s just bad manners to do it.  If you blog, then let your blog system post updates about your blog.  Don’t repeat the effort.  Social Networks exist to keep people in touch with each other, in a sense that sees constant advertising as an evil.  If you do the same to people you know in real life, then I pity them, and the chances of you having many real life connections are very low indeed.  No, you have to work at it properly!  You have to provide interesting, humorous, sometimes informative information, with only the occasional advertisement for your work, almost as an aside.  This is true at all levels – from blog to network.  Anything else, and the only visitors you’ll have in any numbers will be Spambots and worse – and many of those won’t bother with you, either, because your statistics are so shockingly low.  Everything is open to abuse, intended or misguided.  If you’re determined to use the available facilities, learn to look beyond yourself, beyond your work.  If you’re not inclined to provide ‘informative’ posts, at least try to amuse your readers!  It’s like any social situation.  You have to ‘court’ your audience, even if you don’t appear to have one.  If you get it right, people will find you!  More, if you truly engage in a friendly manner with both readers and fellow authors, others will support your efforts – not just in direct responses but by Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and numerous other ways.  But I’ll sound another note of caution here: if you set out to use others, they will find you out!  In other words, just be a real, ordinary, sociable person – willing to help others not because you want something in return, but simply because

The best advice I have to give?  Be ‘good people’.

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

13 thoughts on “Counting Up To Networking

  1. Pingback: Counting Up To Networking | Imagineer-ing | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

  2. Wonderful post! How I wish everyone would read it. I’m not on FB, but am on Twitter. While I love the ability to see what my friends/colleagues are up to (i.e., links to interesting blogs, news items, and/or interviews), the sheer mass of “Look at ME!!” and “Buy My Book! NOW!” tweets on there, make my head spin. It can be staggering to peer into Tweetdeck. Less really is more. No one wants to be constantly hit on the head with in-your-face promo. Or posts that are thinly veiled self-congratulatory pieces aimed at showing how wonderful the author is. What surprises me is that this scheme appears to work because many of the best-selling writers do it. It is also sad that NY, at least, urges authors to behave this way. Not the fine art of old-fashioned good manners, which I believe should always prevail over monetary gain and fame. But who asked me?

    • Thanks Sue-Ellen :) I’ve always responded the same way to “hard sell” tactics – I walk away and never return ;) I have no problem with a polite “Hello, can I help you?”, but if it’s followed up every couple of minutes, then it’s time to leave! If anything, I find it actually offensive when it’s online. That’s bully-sellers invading my home! As for self-congratulatory – well, I always feel very sheepish and guilty when I do post anything along those lines, so I tend to do it once, in a rush LOL. And as to the successful people using the scheme – well, I’ve made a habit of not listening. If I happen to come across something of their’s somewhere, I might try it, but it’s very unlikely! I generally reject the hyped stuff out of hand. If that means I miss out on something I would actually have enjoyed, I’ll survive ;) As far as I’m concerned, anybody recommending the system should be locked away somewhere!

      Long live good manners! :)

    • Thanks Jo :) Yes, it’s a pity that they can’t be branded with a warning! It’s a pity that civil law would soon come into play if anybody ever started a website that named and shamed such people :(

  3. Top post, Steve. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. We should all play nicely on social media sites, I for one was brought up to be polite and that extends on these sites. I shall now spread the word!
    Congratulations on all your visitors here too.

    • Thanks Carol :) I had started to wonder, until posting this, whether I was just too old fashioned (and stubborn) to give in and cop the hard sellers ;) It’s good to know that I was right to avoid doing so :) Thanks – that would be great!

      Thanks :) I still don’t know what kickstarted the increase LOL!

  4. I only signed up for Twitter a couple of weeks ago because it seemed as if it could be overwhelming. A week later I went back onto my account and found I had fifteen followers which amazed me because at that point I hadn’t tweeted anything, had not put my twitter link on any of my sites and I had never heard of any of them before! So why did they want to follow me? At first it was tempting just to follow people back automatically but I started looking at some of their profiles and discovered that they tweeted several times every hour, often the same tweet, so now I have decided to be discerning about who I follow back – go for quality not quantity! If people who have followed me get upset that I have not followed them back, no doubt they will ‘unfollow’ me eventually, but at least my inbox won’t be overloaded with spam.
    It seems like there is a ‘bigger is better’ attitude towards the number of friends and followers on social sites – I have seen some mind-boggling numbers – but if numbers are all they are rather than genuine connections, as you say, all it’s doing is distracting you from the real task at hand and probably not doing much for growing your actual audience.

    Great post. I shall tweet it!

    • Thanks Mel :) And excellent points about the need to be discerning with followers you opt to follow back! Quality is definitely better than quantity ;) I’d rather have a 1000 genuine followers than 10,000 ‘flooders’ or ‘hard sellers’ ;)

      Thanks, that’s very kind of you :)

  5. Thanks Steve, for this excellent and genuinely human post. I will try to follow your advice but am currently in a state of some desperation, so may be unable to follow your last suggestion!
    I’m likely to contnue to make very clumsy attempts to drive people to my WordPress blog, where I do my best to continue to fulfil its promise of “an interesting read every Friday”, and dream of the day when it achieves such traffic that it can be monetized in some way or my work may be discovered and supported by a publisher, if such angels exist.
    Apart from such hopes, the WordPress thing is at least a chance to publish one’s work without compromise or further impediment. You have been kind enough to “like” a few of my posts, and this and other positive feedbacks suggest that there may be a way for “independent” writers to make the technology work for them. I’ll keep looking and learning (hopefully!) and try not to totally alienate all potential readers with rantings such as this.

    • Thanks :) I fully understand, when you’re just setting out it’s so very tempting, and yes, you do need to be a bit more insistent. In all honesty, though, you can generally get more traffic by making yourself sound interesting, with things to say, rather than just by pushing your ‘wares’ ;) Tweet notions or things that intrigue/interest – some of them personal. Retweet tweets from others. On Facebook, write status updates like mini blog posts, rather than ‘promotional’ updates. Join Facebook groups and Like pages from other authors (but only if you really do!). In other words, be seen and heard as a person rather than just being seen as a salesperson ;) Believe me, it works much better,especially as it doesn’t repel people.

      If you’re offering your work on WordPress, as ‘episodes’, or whatever, consider making them ‘time limited’ and let people know that’s the case. Then you can bring it all together as an ebook and ‘hide’ your posts as Private when you release the ebook ;)

      Too few people appreciate that feedback, especially the positive kind but not always, is our lifeblood, as creators. The positive encourages and gives confidence. The negative can drive us to strive harder, defying the cruel, or teach us, if it’s a well thought out critique.

      Take care :)

      • Thanks Steve, It’s always good to hear from you and I will keep working on this. I hope my posts and other public comments don’t sound too self promotional, though I have been thinking I should remind Twitter and Facebook friends of posts because, given time differences, 0830 BST might be too early for them! Hope we can continue this dialogue but now I must go and attend to the other areas of my life that also need urgent attention!

      • Thanks :) I’d suggest posting twice a day at most – roughly 12 hours apart, to get the maximum coverage around the world ;) If that’s difficult to organise, I believe there are programs available which let you schedule posts/tweets ;) You can certainly schedule WordPress posts to go live at any specific date and time.

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