Shop Talk: The Great Social Media Glut

The usual housekeeping notes….I’m wearing my Susannah hat and am over at Frankie Blooding’s Bookshelf today, doing an interview about the Pentonverse and doing a giveaway. Also today, thanks to Manga Mania Cafe for the review of River Road! And to Fae Books for featuring Storm Force.


Also, this week is the last chance to sign up for my “Quilting 101: Patchworking the Perfect Plot” online class, which I’m offering through my local Southern Magic RWA Chapter (you don’t have to be a member). Email me at suzannej3523 at gmail dot com if you want more info. It’s great for working through a book-plotting process or digging a stalled manuscript out of a rut.

Which is a good segue to talking about social media. Authors are told to “have a presence” online, including social media. When one talks to editors and agents, a common question is, how many hits does your blog get? How many people follow you on Twitter. How many “likes” do you have on your Facebook page?

Hey, we gotta actually WRITE sometime, right?

I’ve been kind of a hopper with social media. Obviously, I’m comfortable with the whole blogging thing (duh, ya think?), probably because I’ve worked as a journalist and we’re taught to spew out words at the drop of a hat. Start me on a topic and I can go like the Energizer Bunny of Aimless Prose.

I have an author page on Facebook, but I spend more time on my personal page, where I talk about books and friend anyone who wants to be friends (although, alert to foreign men who want to friend me and then instant message about sex? Uh, not happening. I know how to unfriend). And music. And my silly dogs. And my hatred for shopping at Walmart. Susannah Sandlin also has a Facebook presence, although she’s a very poor correspondent.

I used to spend more time on Twitter, but now I’m almost a hit-and-run Tweeter because my day job has ramped up so much I’m freaked out by the number of Tweets streaming by. I still try to get on there at least a couple of times a day, though, to see what I’ve missed and answer any questions or Tweets directed to me.

Pinterest? Stuck up my book covers. Not sure what to do with Pinterest.

Google Plus? Usually feed the blog there.

Goodreads? The discussion groups scare me–they tend to be vicious if authors try to join discussions, so I mostly feed my blog there and keep up with what I’m reading. Man, my hair was short last summer!

Instagram…Flickr…on and on and on. And OMG let’s not even get started on email loops.

It’s pretty overwhelming, so I’ve retreated back to primarily blogging, my comfort zone. I think one could easily spend 24/7 on social media.

What do you use? Do you find books or authors via social media, or do you mostly socialize with friends? I know it’s important but I can’t figure out what’s an effective use of my time. Plus I want to be, like, SOCIAL and not this marketing whore.

Has the amount of time you spend on social media changed now that the novelty has worn off? And does the Facebook timeline drive you nuts?


Share your social media philosophy for a chance at this week’s $10 gift card to the retailer of choice. Let’s get social!
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

40 thoughts on “Shop Talk: The Great Social Media Glut

  1. On FB I mostly interact with friends, although I’ve liked several authors’ pages. On Twitter, however, I follow bloggers and authors. It’s been a great way to interact with authors! I can see that it would be a huge time suck for writers, though. The popularity of programs like Write or Die! is certainly understandable.

    • Yes, I haven’t quite gotten to the “Write or Die” stage, but I do have to remind myself to stop checking email and Hootesuite! I tend to follow more authors on Twitter too, and more non-authors on FB, although the lines get blurred.

  2. I mostly interact with friends on FB. Although I do follow several authors. I’ve never found a new author that way. Mostly I find new authors through blogs or checking the new book shelves in the library.

  3. i’m no author but i ‘m not on facebook nor twitter and i’m happy to have the readers i have for my blog so i guess i try to avoid too much exposure and stress

    i find new author throug blog and i enjoy when they come to answer comments andsuch that’s more friendly i think than facebook

    • Miki, I’ve found Twitter really good for driving blog traffic. Facebook, not so much. Facebook is fun for chatting, though! But you’re right–it all adds a layer of stress we could do without πŸ™‚

  4. I spend at least an hour a day checking out book blogs and sites. I have most of them delivered by email so it’s easy to skim through and read what catches my eye. I don’t have facebook, which I think saves my sanity πŸ™‚

    • I scroll my blogroll (to the right) just about every day but I also subscribe to a lot of blogs via email and it makes it much easier. Facebook has become a quick in-and-out for me because I’m trying to avoid these creepazoids who try to IM me. I haven’t had a chance to “unfriend” them yet, but when I do I’m sure I’ll be on there more.

  5. Definitely author blogs and their websites!! LOVE THEM – especially when I want to know when their next book is out, and it’s a wonderful place to find extras, like bonus scenes or playlists. Some authors even feature fan art based on their books created by fans, which is so so awesome. That’s the big draw for me when it comes to author blogs – upcoming releases and bonus content. It’s wonderful when there’s more about characters, or the mythology behind their paranormal world. What you’ve done on this blog is perfect;))

    Please Please Please use Pinterest!! It’s so cool when authors actually post photos that inspire them, or photos of the settings where characters live or where key scenes take place. It’s very visual, and it’s very immersive if a reader wants to really “see” the story. Lots of authors put up photos of what characters look like in their mind, and other authors post teasers for their next novel, a whole board of images that play a part in what they’re working on and fans have to kinda glean clues from the photos. Pinterest is really useful for books that have a lot of things like recipes, where readers can actually go click on the photo of whatever dish is mentioned in the book and then get the recipe.

    Youtube isn’t often used by authors, but when it is it’s perfect. There are a couple of authors who actually did a youtube tour of a haunted place they featured in their novel, and they talked about it as readers saw the real location. For a place like New Orleans, it would be awesome to “see” it with you as our guide (Hint Hint!!)

    Twitter is great when I want to tell an author I loved their book, or if I want to ask when the next one’s out. I’m always scared I’m bothering you guys, just another silly fan, but you’ve all been amazing and so gracious and happy when we fans give you our feedback:)

    I find new authors from book bloggers, but once I find an author I definitely go to their website and read their blog and bonus content. I think the key for author blogs is to offer bonus content of some type for readers and not just marketing or buy links. Readers who haven’t read the books yet but are interested based on reviews can always check out the bonus content. It gives them a sense of what the writing and story is like and it’s an awesome way of making a sale while really hooking a new fan with content that truly is extra and free. It’s helpful when the bonus content is in a different tab of its own, separate from the daily blog where you’d have to scroll through for it. Like there are Books and Blog tabs, just a new one for Bonus Content pulled from the blog.

    Hope all this helps!

    • Oh man, you’ve given me some GREAT ideas! I love the idea of a video “tour.” And a “bonus content” tab to put the “behind the scenes” stuff. (Adding this to my ‘to do’ list.) Great comment–thank you!

    • Glad I could help!!

      I think it’s important to keep it fun for the author too, and not too complicated, while still putting your time into something readers can connect with:)) Can’t wait for your videos now!!

  6. Hi Suzanne! I guess that I would be considered a social media dinosaur. I don’t do FB or Twitter but I do constantly check out book/author blogs (yours for example **Grin**) everyday. I get plenty of info about upcoming books, new authors etc on the different blog sites. The sites also give me info on other places to check out. Just a side note, I really appreciate authors who keep up their websites/blogs with up to date info (thank you Suzanne!).

  7. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter. I follow lots of author and book blogs. The whole social media thing does not appeal to me. As an author, it seems like your time should be spent writing what you want and having to invest all your energy in social media.

    • I agree about the writing part, although I really enjoy connecting with readers online. I just wish there wasn’t so much pressure on authors to do it. In the end, we have to decide what and how much we’re comfortable with, I guess.

  8. I use facebook for friends/family. I signed up for twitter but don’t use it much – all the “bookspam” is sickening. Have a website/blog which will be expanded in the near future.

  9. Social Media can be a time vortex. I blog and I have a twitter account (too many things going on there), I don’t use FB though my co-bloggers do. We just started using Pinterest, so we are testing that. I stumbled on to Stumble Upon which is a lot of fun but a big time waster – it does drive traffic but they don’t seem to stay long.

    I do like the idea of a video blog, especially about the places you write about. How about a Jean Lafitte tour of New Orleans. That would be so cool.

  10. I have to admit, I’m a FB junkie…lol. I love FB! But if I’m looking for books or authors I like reading blogs. I have a few favorite ones but if I’m needing new book ideas I just start blog hopping. I only use twitter for contests of spreading the word because that gets way overwhelming. I also hate being limited on writing just one sentence πŸ™‚ I use goodreads for just my personal reasons of keeping track of books I’ve read. I don’t care for the groups on their either. I also second the Jean Lafitte tour of New Orleans! I love that place. I had so much fun. I felt like I was walking through your book πŸ™‚ My husband thought I was crazy…lol

    • LOL–I love that NOLA story! I also really like FB because it’s more like chatting with friends than Twitter. Although Twitter is better for spreading the word about giveaways and such. Too little time!

  11. I am mostly stuck on goodreads or twitter or reading reviews on other blogs. I hardly was a fan of FB from the beginning so I don’t use it much.

  12. I do twitter, some facebook and read a lot of blogs. I’ve worked on balancing my life and pretty much tune it out on the weekend

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  13. Social media had certainly changed our way of life. It can be quite a boon if managed correctly, but that’s the whole key “correctly”. I spend XX number of hours a week keeping up but it’s definitely useful in getting book recommendations & I love knowing what my fav authors are coming out with next.

    • I love connecting with people via this blog and through FB and, to a lesser extent, on Twitter. Going to RT was fun this year because I kept meeting people I “knew” from online! I imagine RWA next month will be similar.

    • LOL. Yes, sometimes I think I subscribe to too many as well. But I’m glad they come into my email instead of one of the old RSS readers. Makes it easier to keep up πŸ™‚

  14. I’m not really a fan of facebook so I don’t use it a lot but I check it all the time lol. However I’m a twitter addict, it’s terrible. I love love love twitter. Goodreads is also perfect for me, I like to post my reviews on it and to see and speak with friends. I’ve just deleted all the persons I don’t have any books in common or just a few of them because at the end it’s a bit stupid for me. Now I understood it was just to have more friends for them…

    • I really enjoy Facebook, probably because it’s such a mix of readers and friends and relatives. I love Twitter, but it’s gotten overwhelming to me. I know all it will take to manage it is to put the people I follow into groups and make better use of Hootsuite…soon, soon. As I said earlier, I go on Goodreads and read reviews of my books (ouch) and keep up with what I’m reading but haven’t gotten into the social part of it.

  15. I use pinterest, twitter, facebook, goodreads….:) I love social media and it’s an outlet for me. My kids keep me busy, but it’s fun to get online and see what’s going on. It’s also been a great way for me to interact with people who have more common ground with me. My friends and family aren’t as book crazy as me and could care less when an author has a new release or could care less if they hear about a new book or series or squeals over an insanely gorgeous book cover. Nope, that would be me and then I get the your crazy look. I have love coming across that on social media and I love seeing book nerds like myself get excited over all those things. I went from feeling alone to seeing a whole group of people from all over who shares in the same thing. I go a little crazy on the facebook follows and likes and I love seeing authors get on and interact with their readers

  16. I am trying to cut down my time on social media because it’s such a time suck. I only follow people I really want to know about and have weeded friends off my FB to keep it managable.

  17. The only social media site I like is Twitter. It’s easier there to keep in touch and it’s a great place to keep in touch with what’s happening in the bookish world. Facebook is not bad and that’s where I waste most my time on reading nonsense. I rarely use Goodreads to interact.
    Most of the authors I follow have moved over to Tumblr so I’m there to and it’s good place to have a laugh! πŸ™‚

  18. Great question Suzanne. I do have my own blog, and I follow all the blogs I want to follow by email, as that is so easy, just read and comment, or delete. I can sneak some in during workhours.
    I find new authors through reviews on blogs, not via Facebook or Twitter. I start following them when I have read their books, otherwise, the streams are just too big to follow anymore. I really enjoy being able to chat with authors and other book lovers on Twitter.

    My Twitter and Facebook accounts are only for book related stuff, and not for persons I know in real life though.

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