I’m coming to the conclusion that my original belief that being on facebook, twitter and blogging is for the most part very harmful to a writer. There is no doubt that social media is an indispensable aid to a writer trying to get the word out about his work. I’m sure I have sold more books by promoting them on twitter and facebook than I ever would have without them.

Ranking them in order I’d say twitter is the most effective means of letting people know what you’re doing and which of your works are available. I’ve only been on Twitter a couple of months but I’ve already got over 260 followers and the number grows by two and fours every day. I’m certain that come of my promotional tweets have resulted in immediate book sales.

Facebook is second in effectiveness. Facebook lets you say more than you can in a tweet, but getting “friends” on facebook takes a lot longer than it does to get followers on twitter. tao01-300x300

Last is blogging. It takes time to build an audience for a blog and while I’ve been at it a couple years I can’t say I’m thrilled with the number of views I get on a daily basis. However, you can write longer pieces and print excerpts from your work, as I did earlier today. The blog may not initially attract that many readers but you can link to it on twitter and facebook. So essentially, what you need is to have all three.

Of course, all this takes time. Time away from actual writing. I have to admit my output has slowed down considerably compared to the days I wrote for Ray Gun Revival and swore I would never get on twitter or facebook, or even own a cell phone. I could turn out a 10,000 word story in a couple of days. And I still could if I wasn’t so busy checking my facebook, blog and twitter.

The thing about writing on social media compared to real writing is that you become addicted to the immediate response from followers and friends. You write something and you keep looking to see what somebody has to say about it. When you write for real you’re alone at a keyboard. It’s just you and the blank screen and nobody’s even going to read what you write until god knows when it gets published. You can concentrate, focus, stay on subject. You’re really writing something for yourself, not for immediate gratification or to tickle some of your friends.

It’s a different world for writers now. If you want some success in terms of readersip you have to engage people on the internet. And it’s great knowing the ones you make friends with. But it’s yin and yang. You gain something and you lose something. There isn’t much you can do about it. Except maybe follow an old zen master’s advice. “Walk on!”  And hope for the best.