Monday, February 11, 2013

Carol Kilgore: Balancing Social Media

Today, I have a special guest, the lovely and talented award-winning author, Carol Kilgore. She is here to share with us her social media experience. When she's not busy writing, you can find her here: website . blog . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon. Take it away, Carol!

Hi, Lynda! Thanks so much for having me at your blog today. It’s still winter in San Antonio, and it’s great to find a touch of summer here with you.

I’d planned to write about writers and social media, but I had so much to say it was turning into a full-length article complete with subheadings, bullet points, and a sidebar feature. So I dropped back and regrouped to try for a more personal touch – my own social media experience.

Four years ago, I started my blog, Under the Tiki Hut. Blogging has been a totally rewarding experience, and I’ve met so many fabulous people. Present company included, of course :-)

Two years ago. I made a big leap into Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest – all at the same time. I advise not doing such a stupid thing. The learning curve was huge.

Google+ and Pinterest fell by the wayside. I’m still signed on, but I don’t participate.

And after all this time, I still don’t have a good handle on Goodreads. I hate to say this, but as much as I love the site, I’m there pretty much in spirit only. I need a Goodreads Fairy Godmother to totally handle my presence there because I simply do not have extra time. I could spend my reading time at Goodreads, but that would kind of defeat the purpose. See my problem?

Where do we draw the line so we still have time to write and read and have a family life?

The only answer I know is that the line will be different for each of us.

For me, the answer is this. I spend my social time almost exclusively on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. In that order.

I like that I can do a lot on Twitter in a short amount of time. I don’t like the feeling of tweeting into a vacuum.

I like that on Facebook I’m almost able to make the same kinds of connections I make on my blog but with much less time and effort. I don’t like that Facebook doesn’t send my posts to everyone’s news feed.

A good friend of mine is very tech savvy (I’m a techie idiot). And she knows much about networking and social media. When I decided to join Facebook, she told me I needed an author page as well as a personal profile. I balked. She insisted. And she won.

So for two years, I’ve posted the same type of posts on each one and struggled with how to make the two different from one another. And I think I finally found a way. Time, of course, will tell.

Beginning February 1, my author page is now devoted to all things Book. We’ll chat about reading, favorite books, favorite authors. I’ll post new releases from authors I know. I’ll talk about my books, give some story behind the story and inside info on new releases. And the first Tuesday of each month will be a “Tuesdays Are Texas” feature. All my books are set in Texas, and I will post photos and tell things I know about the place or event or whatever the photo is about. All posts will be short. Everything will be open to comment. You’re invited to chat with me and with each other. And to post on the page.

My personal profile/timeline (and see, I still don’t know what to really call it) will be devoted strictly to writers. Same rules apply except my posts will be something related to writing or something I find so funny I just have to share. Mostly my ‘posts’ will be one-liners about a shared image.

My goal is for both page and profile to become totally interactive and destinations for readers and writers. I say ‘destination’ because Facebook won’t supply my posts to everyone’s news feed. The trick will be for readers and writers to add my sites to their favorites and remember to visit every once in a while.

Sure it’s a gamble, but it costs me nothing except a little time. Will I succeed in reaching my goal? I have no idea. But it’s better than muddling around like I’ve been doing.

So my best advice to you?

Try anything and everything. The established places like Facebook. Newer places. Places no one knows about yet. Find what works best for you.

And above all else … do it your way. Be yourself – your individual, unique self.

How do you handle social media? What works for you?

I hope you’ll share your secrets and give me new ideas to ponder.

And while you do, I’m sneaking off to the beach to dig my toes into some warm Aussie beach sand :-)

No home. No family. No place to hide. For Summer Newcombe, that's only the beginning.

The night Summer escapes from a burning Padre Island eatery and discovers the arsonist is stalking her, is the same night she meets Fire Captain Gabriel Duran. As much as she's attracted to Gabe, five years in the Federal Witness Security Program because of her father’s testimony against a mob boss have taught her the importance of being alone and invisible.

No matter how much she yearns for a real home, Summer relinquished that option the night she killed the man who murdered her father. But Gabe breaks down her guard and places both of them in danger. Summer has vowed never to kill again, but she's frantic she'll cost Gabe his life unless she stops running and fights for the future she wants with the man she loves.

Available at Amazon
Kindle and Paperback

A missing belt. Buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes her crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?

U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell is on a quest to unearth her uncle’s buried treasure. There’s one other minor glitch. She's certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy's dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses. He doesn't like the charade, but if he doesn't follow the plan, his dad will make Jake's SEAL training feel like a day on the monkey bars in kindergarten.

Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with her. That was his first mistake.

Available at Amazon
April 2, 2013
Kindle and Paperback


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Carol!
I'm still not on Facebook, but glad you figured it out.
I think I have a handle on Goodreads, although I don't pursue new friends like I should. Twitter seems to be working, but still not sure. Blogging is the only place I think I've done all right.

Maria Zannini said...

I'm like you. My blog and Facebook first and then Twitter if I have something good to add.

For the most part, Twitter comes across as noise. So many tweets, so little content, so I try to only tweet when it's something worthwhile.

Like you said, what works is different for each of us. Some of my friends are powerhouses on Twitter. Everything they tweet is amusing or interesting. Others are great at FB or Goodreads.

It's all good as long as you enjoy it first.

Great post, Carol.

Southpaw said...

Blogging is what works for me. I've tried twitter and still have an account but it's too much to keep up with. I know Goodreads is supposed to be a type of social network but I see it as a book club still. Maybe I don't really get it either.

Bonnee Crawford said...

It's always good to try a few ways and then pick one that suits you best. I ended up deciding that using blogger on it's own was the best move for me, and then I simply post a link to the blogpost on facebook so that my Friends can make the decision for reading it on their own. I use Goodreads purely for keeping track of what I want to read and leaving reviews. But everyone is different and will find the best method that suits them if they look. Thanks for sharing this post with us :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your new ventures. Change is good.

Like yourself, I focus on my blog, then FB, then Twitter. Google+ and Pinterest fell by the wayside. Tumbler tumbled out as well.

Trisha said...

I am not yet on Facebook with a writer page - I think I'm waiting until I have something actually published. I love GoodReads & spend a fair bit of time keeping my reads up to date. But I'm not on there as an author yet, for the same reason as above.

My blog is definitely the spot I spend the most time on. Twitter I basically use as a link to GoodReads to show off what I've read/reviewed. I haven't got the hang of it like some others have.

Unknown said...

I'm glad to read about someone else who has a hard time with social media. I'm a little more turned off than you though. All that social media stuff makes the writing biz less attractive to me even though I know some people are good at it and love it. Thanks for presenting your side. :-)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Blogging is at the top of my list. I'm "on" Facebook and Twitter, but it's mostly in name only. I've gotta be the world's worst tweeter, and only marginally better on FB.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hey Carol, I too struggle with handling social media. I am not on Twitter, I have a blog and am on Facebook, I also started an Author Page on FB. That's all I can manage for the time being.

Carol Kilgore said...

Lynda, thanks so much for hosting me here. I'm looking forward to my first visit to your corner of Australia!

I would have dropped by sooner, except we had a little dinner thingie here tonight. I made shrimp and sausage jambalaya in honor on Mardi Gras. I'll try to stay awake long enough to answer everyone here. And I'll be around to blogs tomorrow.

Theresa Milstein said...

Lynda, nice to see Carol here.

Carol, there's too much social media. I do some blogging, a lot of Facebook, and I've just started Twitter. I have a Goodreads account, but only go on for the books I read. I never go on my Google+ account. It's all about balance, isn't it? We need time to write!

Enjoy your new author page!

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi Alex - Blogging is my favorite, too.

Maria - I like to tweet about really interesting blog posts I read throughout the day.

Southpaw - I'm not a book club type person, so I don't even use Goodreads for that. Sad, I know.

Hi, Bonnee! Nice to meet you. My Goodreads shelves are a huge mess. Worse than my real life shelves, by far.

Stephen - I never tried tumbler. Yay for blogs!

Trisha - Good to meet you. When my FB author page went up, I had short work published, but no novels at that time.

Lexa - I could spend so much more time writing if I didn't participate in social media. It's Catch-22, 21st Century Style.

Susan - I know that feeling really well.

Rachna - Pleasure to meet you. I don't handle mine very well most days. Or that's what it feels like, anyway.

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi Theresa - We crossed. For me it's a lot of blogging and some Facebook. We're probably the same on Twitter and Goodreads. Totally agree about there being too much.

Meradeth Houston said...

Honestly, I am regularly overwhelmed by social media. I try to handle my blog above all, and facebook and twitter too. I love Pinterest, though more for myself than anything else. Goodreads probably had a million resources I'm leaving untapped. But the trick of it for me is to spend what time I can enjoying the process. When it gets annoying or feeling like a job, I call it quits for the day :)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

You are most welcome, Carol. And your dinner sounds wonderful!!

Old Kitty said...

Hello lovely Carol and Lynda!! Yay!!

I am feeble and old and only have the blog to amuse me!! But I agree though - see what works for you and try anything and everything if you want to get yourself out there! And add some fabulous looking firefighters too! And cats! LOL!

Take care

Unknown said...

I'm just getting to know what I see. Thanks for the spotlight on her. I'm floundering through all those media sites as well. Sort of the same pattern she follows.

Jennifer Shirk said...

It is really funny what appeals and what works for different authors. I keep going back and forth with Facebook--sometimes I love it and am there all the time then sometimes I love chatting on Twitter. I do think I need to give myself a FB page though. That might be more fun.
Thanks for sharing!

Luanne G. Smith said...

I don't do Facebook or Pinterest. I have a Google + account, but just send my blog posts to it. I'm really not that good with the social media, other than blogging and sending out the occasional tweet. Even then it sucks my time away to the point I feel it squeezing my writing, reading and sleeping time. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Meradeth - I allow a certain time for social media, too. If I didn't have anything else to do, I could spend all day at Pinterest, so I try to stay away :)

Old Kitty - Firefighters and cats. Purrfect!

M.L. - Thanks for the kind words. It's tough out there in Social Media World.

Jennifer - Sometimes Twitter really pops for me, too, but those times are few and far between.

Yolanda Renée said...

I enjoy blogging, but I've never been good at social networking, to my detriment. Although I've meant some truly wonder people via all of it - A literary attorney via twitter. Guests for my show via Facebook, and due to those interviews great friends with awesome advice. So maybe it's not as much a failure as I thought. Granted successfully selling books via the net would be more than awesome, but it's the personal connections that can never be replaced. You're right it's all about balance -- finding it is still my goal.
And I am so envious, toes in warm sand....ah....

Mel Kinnel (@TizMellyMel) said...

I just recently created a Facebook author page because I figured I needed some sort of presence there. I hate the fact that posts don't get seen by all followers. I feel I get more from Twitter because I have more writer connections there. I found Google+'s nostalgia wore off so I don't go there much. Pinterest is like a playground for me so I haven't really utilized it for writing.

Patsy said...

I handle social media pretty badly, I think. The blog is OK, but all the rest takes up a lot of time and I'm not at all sure I'm getting the best out of any of them.

DEZMOND said...

greetings to our dear lady Kilgore!

Shelley Munro said...

Great post. I always feel as if I'm not doing enough. Social media is the first thing that falls by the wayside when I get busy with writing.

Carol Kilgore said...

Yolanda - Mine, too. I think the personal connections are best, too. The warm sand is awesome :)

Melissa - So true. And because Facebook doesn't share with everyone, it's a limited venue. Sadly.

Patsy - I know that feeling really well.

Dezmond - Hi! You found me :)

Shelley - Thanks. Same for me.

Nancy Thompson said...

I love Facebook and even though those in the know say it's on its way out, like MySpace, I don't believe it. It is the most personable way to make connections. I have a personal profile which I guard like Fort Knox, and an author one that's pretty open and garners me multiple marriage proposals each week! I use exclusively for promo though.

I use Twitter but despise it. It's way too fleeting to make much of an impact. But I devote 2 hours each Sunday to pre-scheduling tweets.

Google+ blows and isn't worth the time. It's too complicated and dense, not user friendly in any way. But it is connected to the biggest search engine in the world so it's good to at least have a profile.

I haven't even stepped into Pinterest. Too time consuming.

I still blog, but only because I've come to love it and the connections I've made.

Nancy Thompson said...

Oh yeah, I forgot the best social media of them all...Goodreads! It is the best resource to connect to your actual readers, so I advise you to utilize the best you can. It is so worth it!

Mel Chesley said...

I've yet to learn how to balance my social networking with everything else. Like you, I don't know how to use Goodreads. I blog, use FaceBook and Twitter and that's about it. I'm now on Pinterest, but I honestly don't get that either. That just may become a personal thing, who knows. I like your idea about your Facebook profile and author page, though. Might have to network with that a bit more to split the two. I have no problem using the author page for writing and keep the other more personal. Great post!

Unknown said...

I would say the only social media site I'm on regularly besides blogger is Goodreads. I find it's a great place to connect with readers.

M Pax said...

I would love to feel some hot sand on my toes right now. :)

The balance is tough. I just recently got better at FB, and I agree that it's as great for networking as blogging. So is Twitter. I've met some fantastic people on twitter. It's obvious I love Twitter.

I'm still on Pinterest. It doesn't take much time. I guess it could, but I don't let it.

Tara Tyler said...

that solomons compass is a big temptation! have to hurry & finish the books i'm reading so i can get to it!

and i am with you on all the media. will figure out goodreads before twitter tho, goodreads means reviews mean sales!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Carol & Lynda,
I wonder how some writers manage social media so well in addition to writing, but I see how it helps in terms of marketing ones books. Time though is always an issue for me and half the time I only remember to post now and then at best. Good thing some of the stuff is automated and post from my blog to FB.

Carol Kilgore said...

Nancy - Goodreads is on my goals list, but it will be a major time investment. So I have to figure out how to budget what little I have.

Mel - It sounds as if you and I are on the same social path :)

Clarissa - You, Nancy, and some other writers I know swear by Goodreads. I need to clone you to fix my shelves and tutor me for a month - LOL.

M Pax - The virtual sand is nice :) I'll email you some!

Tara - I think I need a Goodreads for Dummies book.

J.L. - My blog posts automatically to Goodreads, but not to any other site. It's tough. I think I may have said that already :)

Melissa said...

Great post, Carol. I'm on FB, but with my real name on my main page and my pen name on my author page. It's a nightmare. With all the recent changes, I'm about to delete the whole account, even my personal one.

I stick to my blog and Twitter. I'm on Google+, but I haven't mastered that one. I forget about it, honestly. I'm learning about Goodreads, but I don't spend a ton of time there. Writing comes first as much as it can.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I do love the cover for Solomon's Compass.

Blogging will always win out for me too. I think if any of the other social media platforms closed down, I'd be okay--but if Blogger did? I'd be running around in tiny circles, waving my arms and screaming... forever. I wasn't sure what I could put differently on my author FB page either, but I just post about my book or anything zombie related. I never think to go visit FB pages, so I hope they sort out the streaming issues, one of the reasons I'm starting to warm to Google+.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I haven't juggled Facebook yet to really make it about being a writer. Once I get to where I have books, I'll do it! Before then, I feel like it would be quite presumptuous of me. I do think about how I will split them when the time comes, though. I do have a blog Facebook page, but never get much, if any, response when I post a question or anything there, so it mostly ends up being links to blog posts for now. I'd like it to be more interactive, but I'm not sure anyone is seeing it in their feeds at this time.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

DWei said...

I have no reason to reach out with social media and what not. I just have a simple blog. Nothing special.

ManicScribbler said...

Well Carol,
You sound pretty clued up and organised to me! Goodreads, Facebook - they are still a total mystery to me!
Great post - good to hear you sounding so confident and positive.

Carol Kilgore said...

Ack! I wrote some comments here and they went away. My apologies if a couple of them show up twice. I'll try to recreate.

Melissa - I'm happy to write under my real name, especially as it relates to Facebook. That's one thing I don't have to worry about.

Charmaine - Thanks! I love it, too :) I hate (for real) how Facebook treats pages. Some days they send my page post to fewer than 1% of those who like the page. Some days they send it to around 20%. Usually it's somewhere in between. I've never seen it higher. Why do we put up with it? End of rant. Sigh.

Shannon - I'm hoping Facebook will see the error of their ways soon and do something to rectify this. I understand the intent--to make money for the shareholders. But I doubt this method will succeed.

DWei - I wouldn't be reaching out without a reason either. One of the reasons I delayed joining anything until a couple of years ago. I do love blogging, though :)

Lyn - You have a great grasp of Twitter! And although I'm on Goodreads, it's pretty much still a mystery to me, too.

Sherry Ellis said...

This is another great post! I've tried a lot of social networking sites, too, but I find that blogging, Facebook, and Twitter are the most productive.

Suze said...

A very well-prepared post, Carol. I think it also depends on what each individual needs from social media. As Christ said, sabbath is for man, not man for the sabbath.

I think that applies to a lot.

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice post that touches on a few things for me. Social media - I use it, I try to engage in it, keeping up with it can be a nightmare at times.

Blogging is different. You truly can keep up with people through their blogs, especially when they visit your blog and you form that back-and-forth friendship. It's almost like popping in on a neighbor and seeing what she's up to.

As for the rest of social networking, I agree. Don't overload and do what works for you.

Carol Kilgore said...

Sherry - And some days, those become too much.

Suze - I need to remember that. Thanks :)

M.J. - A true nightmare. I agree that blogging is like making friends with your neighbors :)

Unknown said...

Hi Carol,

I've found much the same problem - too many platforms and too little time. I've decided that G+ and Twitter are where I'll spend most of my social media time, after my blog which I'm slowly building. It's all tough though - I'd rather be writing or reading than building a presence online. 'Dem's the breaks.

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Carol!

Great post! Spending time on socialm media leaves little time for actual work! I'm still trying to balance between the two!


Carol Kilgore said...

Chris - Yes. Must write :)

Nas - Finding the right balance is so hard.

Anonymous said...

Hiya! I think blogging and twitter are the most beneficial for me in terms of being able to talk to other writers and connect with an audience. In all areas, I think consistency is key - and i think your facebook plan sounds great.
I love Pinterest but use that just as an ideas/research board for poems & short stories.
In terms of incorporating social media into my day, I try to make sure my writing is completed first, then any additional paid work, before venturing into anything online.
One blog post a week is plenty for me to maintain - anything more is too much Facebook - I just don't seem to get any dialogue going there so I treat it as an available page if people are looking for me on there.
But finding the right balance is always difficult - I just let it ebb and flow as needed and try not to beat myself up if it sways one way or the other.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the advice, Carol! I'm still working on finding the right balance. Thanks to you too, Lynda, for hosting!

Lynn Proctor said...

you give some great insights carol---it is so much out there and i know, i have to pace myself!

Arlee Bird said...

Every little bit helps, but I've probably only scratched the surface. Only so much time in the day and like you say sometimes it feels like there's just a big time suck into a vacuum. Oh sure, I see some results from my efforts, but it sure takes a lot of time and effort.

My focus remains on the blog. I can say more and do more there and then promote the blog on other mediums. For now that's all I think I need to do. When I have a book to promote this may change.

Have you ever compiled a life soundtrack?
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Carol Kilgore said...

Terri - Thanks for commenting.

ermurray - It's all about connections and making relationships. Whatever works best for each of us is what we prefer.

Karen - I'm still working on finding the right balance, too :)

Lynn - I have that problem, too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Oops, Arlee ... we crossed. When we're rich and famous, LOL, we can hire peeps :)

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, I think it's a great idea to have your author page strictly devoted to books. Looking forward to it!

I struggle with so many of these same issues, and it seems like most others do as well. Still trying to find a balance but I do agree that I seem to use FB and Twitter the most. I made the same mistake of trying to jump into all of them at once and I wish I had a do-over on that. Great post, Carol! :)

Emily R. King said...

Excellent advice, Carol! I dipped my toe in social media, found the water warm and welcoming, and dove in! I'm still not a huge FB fan, but hey, everyone has their limits. :)

Hi, Lynda!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great article. Blogging is my favorite pasttime and creative outlet that is also a great way to connect with other artists. I use facebook as an extension of that with closer friends and family. I am signed up for Goodreads but never go on it. People must think I've given up reading! Which I haven't. Oh, well. I use twitter just to get my blog out and check it maybe once a week. There's too much to do, but keeping involved a little goes a long ways.

Carol Kilgore said...

Julie - I hope the author/book page works out.

Emily - So true about limits!

Mary - I agree. And your approach sounds very sensible. Good to meet you!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Thanks again, Carol, for this wonderful post.

And thanks to everyone for leaving such great comments. The key is definitely finding the networks that work for you rather than trying to do it all.

Carol Kilgore said...

My pleasure to blog with you, Lynda. I loved meeting several new people here.