Thursday, September 20, 2012

OMG! TMI! Drowning In The Digital Age

I was talking to an author a couple of days ago and they asked me about this new publisher that was floating around on the loops. My comment? "Another one? When did this happen?" Now, while the publisher wasn't someone we would have been sending her projects to, it got me thinking. While there is a ton of hype out there about book promotion, social media and the new face of publishing, we might simply be getting to a point of such saturation that we don't know which way to turn.

Think of it this way? Stop and examine what digitial sources you "follow" right now. Start with the platforms:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • My Space
  • Pinterest
  • etc.
Now, within each of those, think of the number of people you have contacts with
  • Friends
  • Publishers
  • Agents
  • etc.
Now add in the blogs you might be following on a regular basis?

In all honesty, I love my Twitter and I do try to keep up with things but I only follow 361 people. I stick to using Tweetdeck (on my computer) and Hootsweet (on my iPad). These are editors, agents, publishers and swimmers (for my kids). Even with the column breakdown on each of these platforms, keeping up with what is going on in the world is nightmarish.

I was at a conference with Leah Hultenshmidt earlier this year and she made an interesting point. We were talking about the rise of e-publishing and self-publishing and she talked about how it was really becoming a matter of rising above all of the "noise" out there with your books. In other words, writers who want to be successful have to dig, claw and climb their way above all of the other authors out there.

Don't get me wrong. I think there is certainly a place for social media and a lot of this other digital technology, but if there is far too much out there, are we really helping our readers to find us, or are we disappearing into a fog of all of the other authors trying to do the same thing.

In all honesty, I am starting to think it is time for a complete re-thinking of how publishing is working. Maybe some of those "old school" techniques are the way to go and maybe, just maybe, we have to think about not trying to do everything and only do a few things but do it great?




  1. Hi, Scott. I agree with your general premise but I think we would need to see some numbers to see what has been successful and what hasn't before we could really get to the nitty-gritty.
    Even so, I believe you're spot on re. the nightmare factor (which likely can't be objectively measured anyway)! Something's gotta give...there just aren't enough hours...and most people already don't get enough sleep.

  2. Miss Sharp!

    I agree with you on the numbers. I think what I simply wanted to focus on was the massive amount out there. Authors are now spending a huge amount of time just trying to stay ahead of the "new trends" and so forth.

    This was just something to think about but thanks for that POV!

  3. I read somewhere that for many authors social media was like an incestuous relationship - authors interacting with authors rather than with readers. And it wasn't getting anybody anywhere.

    Lately I've been focusing on the media I enjoy most - blogs. I've simplified my Facebook and notice that I do have many writer "friends" I've never spoken to. And MySpace, I walked - no point hanging onto to a stale site when there's still Goodreads, Twitter etc. etc. to deal with.

    Maybe in the online frenzy, old-fashioned methods become more powerful. They might remember a "handshake" over a "like".

  4. I think the big thing about social media is it's supposed to bring out the interaction between readers and writers.

    Does it?

    Not terribly well, but it does. It's a little more interactive for the readers. I know the few bigger authors I follow, I appreciate the ones who actually respond to posts, but that does take a lot of work, especially if you get 100 comments on a post.

    But it is true, it's about getting the message out there, rising above. And I think you're right, it's very much about maybe not doing everything, but doing a few things, very well.

    Doesn't matter if it's via social media or verbal communication, it's still a "word of mouth" thing.