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.
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’.