There's a true dilemma that writers face on an on-going basis - what's more important, writing a great novel, or mastering social media. Both of which, on some levels, can be equally important.
When I search through my list of articles for writers that I want to read, I find most are about social media than what I truly deem important - writing skills. You can be successful with social media, drawing people to your sites and enlisting those buyers, but unless your book is up to snuff those sales will drop in the long run. Not just from the fact that your book has outlived its shelf life, but because you've disappointed readers and they won't invest in your latest novel.
So, in other words, your book needs to grab readers and keep them turning the page. Without those skills necessary to write a great story, your readers will skim and maybe even set your book down, never to return.
Most of the time readers don't know why they've set down your book, only that it's hum-drum, inconsistent, or too many plot holes. So for me, creative writing skills is the place where you need to expend most of your energy.
Yes there is a "skill" to mastering social media and can be equally as tough, but unless you write a clean, tight novel you will lose fans in the long run.
Recently I've been reading a series from a New York Times best selling author that at one time was all the rage. I love the story, don't get me wrong, but the author's skills are, let's just say, lacking. The problem is these books were written a while ago, some as long as back in the 70's, but it sometimes amazes me that this author made it as far as he did.
I know back then creative writing skills weren't outlined like they are today, but the fact that he uses very little dialog and just tells the story, and hops from one character's head to the next, makes me wonder how the books became so popular. Yes, story is important, obviously, but most of you out there aren't a NYT best selling author and you need to grab your reader right away.
With the overabundant competition out there, your book needs to shine in order to survive. Although it is true I am constantly working on my craft and have a long way to go to mastering great writing skills myself, at least I'm putting forth the effort. I would never dream of publishing my work without a lot of revisions and critiques. Nor would I publish work without an editor, but I do see a lot of writers doing just that.
So if you really want your hard work to be evident, take the time to do it right and leave the social media to 10% of your writing time, instead of 90%. You'll be glad you did in the long run.
What are some of the challenges you have with balancing social media and writing? Have you been sucked into the marketing circus?
Have a great weekend everyone and I hope it's filled with lots of reading, or writing!