Featured Business

This month’s featured business is:

Allen Schatz ~ Author of The Marshall Conner Series.

We asked: How Authors Use Social Media

I was recently asked how, as an author (and a self-published one at that), I’ve been using social media. For me, I think the shortest answer is “very carefully.” What I mean by that is I’ve learned there is a fine line I have to walk when dealing with people online.

There are as many opinions on this subject as there are authors. A quick Google search would bring back a lot of “expert” advice on the subject. Some will say to go full on aggressive, flooding the social sites with any and every link, teaser, trailer, promotional blurb, etc. about your writing you can think of.

Others will suggest an opposite approach. They’ll tell you to NEVER say a word about your writing directly. Simply “be online” and interact with people and should a conversation come around to it, then mention that you’ve written something.

Of course, there is the obligatory “some combination thereof” approach, bridging the two extremes in search of a sweet spot where you maximize every second you spend online toward furthering your writing career. I’d say I’m still searching for that spot.

My direct experience includes: a dedicated website I built and manage (http://www.allenschatz.com); a personal Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/raschatz); an author/writing Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AllenSchatzWriting); and a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/#!/raschatz)

If you visit any of the latter three sites, you’d see timelines filled with a variety of comments, including direct promotional attempts as well as interaction with readers and friends. Those attempts have yielded mixed results. The fine line I mentioned earlier comes from the observation that if I (a) promote too much, I am accused of being a spammer, and (b) if I do no promotion, my work is soon forgotten.

To date, I’ve discovered no magic formula. There have been times where I get sudden increases in sales for no apparent reason. When that happens, I look into what I was doing online before the spike to see if there was some pattern I could then duplicate. I usually find nothing specific I can put my fingers on.

I think part of the conclusion I’ve reached is that as a self-published writer, I face battles far greater than my social media presence. The nature of self-publishing lends itself to certain predisposed notions and blatant biases. Many think we’re all hacks, so ANY mention of our work is instantly discounted. Then there is the fact there are so many doing the same thing (self-publishing), the field is very crowded.

All that said I wouldn’t change what I’ve done or what I’m doing. I will continue to be active on the sites mentioned above, interacting with people (readers!) and promoting myself. As more than a few of my online friends have said, you never know when that one perfect set of eyes “sees” you.

Allen Schatz has published three books to date, a series of baseball-themed mysteries garnering great reviews and ratings from readers. The “Marshall Connors Series” can be found online in eBook (all reader formats) and paperback. For a complete listing of links on where to buy the books, visit http://www.allenschatz.com/wherebuy.html