Don’t Let Social Media Take Over Your Life

I attended an all-day Mystery Writers of America conference last Saturday. Got all sorts of good tips and ideas, met fellow writers and, overall, enjoyed the day. The best tip came at the very end, however, when the speaker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, told us to be careful not to let the “marketing” of your book overpower the writing.

It dawned on me that that’s exactly what was happening to me. I’d been so wrapped up in social media, blogging and publicity that I haven’t made a dent in my next book. What’s wrong with this picture?

Even when I made the cover of the San Diego Union Tribune about my search for a missing Van Gogh (and my book, of course) — imagine, front page, above the fold –I still had not very impressive results in the sales department. Ironically, I’m not even in this business for money or fame. This is a second career, one that was originally a hobby I adored. Now much of the time I feel stressed and guilty about how to best spend my time.

As I was about to sit down and write this blog, I chanced upon another writer’s take on social media and wanted to share. Randy Ross has some very interesting statistics about his experience with social media and how much it did not help his sales. Here’s his blog:!

The conference session and Randy’s blog were a wake-up call for me. It’s so easy to get sucked into spending time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et al that there’s little time and energy left for actually writing.

So, I’m going to take Ryan’s advice. I’m allotting only a few minutes, several times a day for social media connections. The rest of my day will be spent writing my next book.  Blogs are important to me, so I will try to continue those weekly. I hope they offer something of value to other writers.  For now, I’m off to meet with the witches of Salem and my next mystery.