Friday, 5 June 2015

Sue Moorcroft on Balancing Writing with Social Media!




Sue Moorcroft is my guest today, and if you don’t know Sue already, here’s her bio:

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’, and is a creative writing tutor.

Phew! Sue spins a lot of plates, and I’ve invited her to write a post on ‘Balancing Writing with Social Media’, because she's so good at doing it. Sue produces novel after novel, and does all those other things mentioned above, but still maintains an enviable online presence. Sue knows her audience and provides updates on her writing progress, including information about research; and general updates on her daily life. Also Sue tweets, and updates her Facebook Page with links to those gem-like posts on writing and the world of books; ones you don’t often see anywhere else. 

Last October, I went to Sue’s Short Story Workshop at the Guildford Book Festival, and I wrote about the evening in a neetswriter blog post: Keeping Up the Inspiration

Thank you so much Sue for writing this post for my blog. Over to you!

Balancing Writing with Social Media, by Sue Moorcroft

Wherever writers gather, physically or virtually, a common subject for discussion is how much time we should be spending on social media. Opinions range from ‘I can’t be bothered. It’s a time drain. I don’t get it.’ to ‘I have Xooo,ooo followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and I do four blog tours a day.’

Somewhere in the middle you’ll find me.
  • Firstly, I don’t think there’s any ‘should’ about how long I (or you) spend on social media. I like to engage with readers, writers, bloggers and other industry professionals, or just about anybody who may have something interesting/funny to say and will not offend or irritate me. But you might not feel the same, and so why not tailor your social media efforts to your available time, the results you attain, and your personal preference? Don’t let it be a burden.
  • I concentrate on Twitter and Facebook because they appeal to me and provide me with the most followers/friends. I do use LinkedIn and Google+ a little, too. I have a blog and I guest on other blogs (like this one).
  • Routinely, I turn my attention to Twitter, then Facebook, early in the morning. Then I get on with my writing (or planning or research or whatever that day’s task is). I return to Facebook and Twitter periodically during the day. If one of my books is part of a current promotion, or if I’m involved in an interesting conversation, I return quite a lot.
  • I don’t spend all my social media time bleating ‘Buy my books!’ I chat to people. I congratulate others on their achievements. I read interesting articles that others have flagged up. I discuss publishing with other writers. I pinch their social media ideas if I think they’re effective, I form and maintain business-friendly relationships with book bloggers etc, and I ask research questions (an underused facility in my opinion). I prolong friendly relationships with people I’ve met in the real world. In short, I network.
  • I see a value in building up a network of people whose posts I share and who will share mine in return. It widens the audience for posts I’ve written, my books when on special offer, and any good news I have, and all it costs is my time as I reciprocate. NB I try not to be a blood-sucking, self-interested user, ie cultivating only those people/conversations/contacts that are likely to benefit me and me alone. Some people’s social media strategy reminds me of a vampire looking for a neck. It doesn’t make me want to help them.
  • Social media has allowed me to form my lovely street team – the suggestion came from a reader, via Facebook, and we use a Facebook group to interact. (If you’re interested in joining Team Sue Moorcroft, do contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my website. You can read my blog on the subject here.
  • Very important to me is the privilege of interacting with readers. If a reader contacts me via social media to say that s/he has enjoyed one of my books, it makes my day. I always respond. Always. If I had to choose only one use for social media, it would be this one.
  • Do I think that you should have a social media presence? If you’re a writer, then, yes, I do think that you should. I think writers benefit from being visible, contactable, discoverable. Even if you’re awaiting your first traditional publishing contract I think you should have a presence – because many publishers and agents do Google you if they’re interested in taking you on to see if you have an audience and you can self-promote. And if you’re self-publishing, I’m positive that social media will help you sell your book effectively.
  • BUT, if I’m up against a deadline or fighting a knotty segment of my plot, you probably won’t see me on social media at all. This is an important point. I control my social media activity – I don’t let it control me. Unless one of my books is in a promo, of course … then I will find the time. It’s worth it.
Social media has got me engagements as a speaker and tutor, new readers, promotion, invitations to blog, invitations to be part of a promotion activity, research contacts, radio interviews and literary festival appearances. And work.

But if I wasn’t lucky enough to be a full-time writer I would have to cut my social media time proportionately. If I hated and detested the whole social media circus, found it intrusive and puerile, I would do the minimum. The balance between writing and social media is a lifestyle balance, like work/play/sleep or save/spend. It’s deeply personal and you should tailor it to yourself.

Thanks again, Sue for visiting my neetsmarketing blog, and for writing this informative, and easy-to-read post! (love the bullet points).

Sue’s latest book: The Wedding Proposal
  

Website: www.suemoorcroft.com
Facebook sue.moorcroft.3
Facebook author page
Twitter @suemoorcroft
Google+: google.com/+Suemoorcroftauthor

18 comments:

  1. An intelligent post, as always, Sue. I know I still haven't quite got the split right. I struggle to keep up with Twitter, to be honest, but I do enjoy a good chat on Facebook.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I always enjoy chatting to you on Facebook, that's for sure. :-) x

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  2. Sound advice for writers, Sue - and sometimes social media, particularly Face Book, is just plain fun.
    Mags Cullingford - (I do have the courage of my convictions - just that I can only comment as Anonymous on Anita's blog)

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    1. Thanks, Mags. Sorry that you have to be anonymous. xx :-)

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  3. Some great ideas here Sue - I know I could do more!

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  4. Thank you Laura, Mags, and Angela for visiting; and for your lovely comments!

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  5. Good sensible post, and the same sort of usage as my own. Twitter has brought me readers, certainly at the beginning, and as to the value of Facebook (which I prefer) - well, Facebook got me my agent! Simply because I was interacting with other industry professionals. It works.

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    1. That's really interesting, Lesley. I suppose, in a circuitous way, social media paved the way for me to get my agent, too! x

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  6. An excellent post from Sue - as usual!

    It seems I'm very much on the same wavelength. We are talking about Social Media here - so there is a requirement to BE Social. I tend to "unfriend" or "unfollow" people who don't or won't engage.

    It's not all about sales - particularly in my case - I'm still working on Book 1.

    I'm also happy to say I'm a member of Team Sue Moorcroft. A good bunch.

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    1. Cheers, John. :-) Thanks for commenting. You've got a v good social media platform all ready for when that publisher comes along.

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  7. Some good advice. As a fairly new user of Twitter, I'm still finding the etiquette a bit obscure. Can I reply to posts from people I follow, but who don't follow me? If the following is mutual, the other person is usually still a stranger to me and joining in a conversation that appears to be between friends seems rude. Oh, the agonies of being a shy, English Twitter user.

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    1. :-) As far as I'm aware, you can speak openly to anyone on Twitter if you know their Twitter name, just by using their Twitter handle (like @suemoorcroft). But you can't direct message them if they don't follow you. Sometimes, if a conversation does appear to be between friends you see others saying *butting in* at the beginning of their Tweet. I believe that the general rule is if they are likely to mind someone joining the conversation then they wouldn't put it on Twitter! :-) Thanks for your reply. If you look elsewhere on Neetsmarketing Blog then I think you'll find some great posts on Twitter etiquette. :-)

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    2. This post might be useful April: http://www.neetsmarketingblog.com/2015/01/my-beginners-guide-to-twitter-for.html

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  8. Thank you Lesley, John and April for visiting my blog, and for your comments :-)

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  9. I have a blog, use Facebook, Twitter and have recently joined Pinterest. A year ago, I only had my blog and four years before that, nothing. Do I regret it? Not at all as I've made some lovely writing connections (including you and Sue). Managing time spent on social media is a challenge but I find it gets easier the longer you use it.

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    1. Thanks for reading, and for your comment Wendy. Can't wait to meet you 'in real life' at the RNA Conference!

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    2. Hi Wendy, what sort of thing do you use Pinterest for? I've got my book covers up there and that's about it. :-)

      Likewise, re meeting lovely people on social media!

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    3. Pinterest is great Sue-I use for inspiration and have boards for my works in progress: https://www.pinterest.com/neetswriter

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