Social media and its purpose?

Social media is extremely important for a struggling author, artist, small business and big business. I get that. The nauseating words that permeate all the help blogs, sites, and articles all have made it perfectly clear it’s how you get your wares in front of people. Get connected they say. Post your stuff with links and tags and witty comments. Don’t forget to talk about other people. Post their stuff too. Engage your followers. Blah, blah, blah.

(I’m making a point so stick with me here.)

OK. I get it. Cheap advertising. Bring them into the fold. Talk about things important to them. Spread the word on other things and occasionally pitch what you have.

Here’s my problem. You see so many adds on social media to buy this or buy that you become numb. You watch the twitter feed go by and if you’re lucky, or persistent enough, you might see 1 out of 500 tweets that are actually engaging. What’s worse you see the tweets from people that are “experts on social media and will show you how it’s done to grow your base” about 1 in every 20 tweets. You click the link and check out their message. It’s just recycled information you’ve seen 1000 times. OK. I get it. Everyone is saying this is what you do.

So I click on their twitter page. I scroll through their tweets. Their tweet history is 90% what they’re selling, 8% other people and 2% that might be interesting other things.

Huh? Really? Practice what you preach there, dude.

My point in all this? Yes I really have one and it’s not just a rant.

People that are going to buy what you’re selling have to be invested in you emotionally. Sure there might be writers out there that are better than you and sell their books $5 cheaper. So what? If someone doesn’t know them they are less likely to buy those books. However, if you have been actively and sincerely engaging your followers they are more likely to by what your selling. They invest emotionally in you and in a way you have to do the same with them.

How many of you have tweet deck setup and auto-respond to follows and DMs? Is that really engaging your followers? When was the last time you actually responded with a personal note to the people that followed you? Did you thank them for the honor of the follow and to have a great day?

Yes I said honor for the follow. Why? Because there are 50 billion tweets every minute (ok maybe not 50 billion but a lot) and your tweet caught their attention enough to actually look and follow you.

Social media is supposed to mean social and interacting not pitching your wares every 30 seconds. Could you imagine if people in the real world did what a very large number of tweeters do? Could you imagine walking down the street and have everyone pushing signs selling their wares in your face with the occasional joke or engaging comment?

Take a break people. Stop and talk to people. Say hi, ask how there day was, ask about the kids, the dog, what they’re doing. BE SOCIAL not an advertising agency.

Tracking tools?

I’m searching for good submission tracking tools. I know a spreadsheet would be the down and dirty way to do it but I also know that I’ll tend not to update it as I should and it’ll end up doing nothing for me or will be very out of date. So… what do you use to track your submissions? Paid or free software? Online or actual software?

What works for you? What are your opinions? Let me know.

What inspires you to write?

This was a question that was presented to me on GoodReads when I was working on setting up my profile. My inspiration really comes from a lot of places. I travel from time to time and sitting in the airport there are a lot of people coming and going. Sometimes I’ll sit there and just watch people. What are their mannerism? What do they look like? Where are they going or coming from? What’s their story? Married? Kids? This generates characters or sometimes a quick little snippet of a story. Maybe they’ll find their way into a story I’m working on or maybe they will generate another one.

Inspiration can came from public spaces or private conversations. My wife likes me to tell her stories when we’re falling asleep. She likes the sound of my voice. One night I asked her for three things – age, sex and school subject. Based of of that I began to tell her a story. That bedtime story is now being written and worked on for a future book.

SO… where do you, as a writer, get your inspiration? What triggers the story? I’d really like to hear what your thoughts are.