“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” So said Bilbo Baggins to Gandalf when reflecting on his life after his adventures. If we think of the butter as our resources of time and brainpower, and the bread as the many social media platforms available for an author to promote their work, Bilbo’s statement reveals a profound truth. There is so much out there, and if we do it all, continuously posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, blogs, etc., we are stretching our butter over so much bread that it becomes stretched out and thin.
It is easy to exhaust oneself in such a manner, and social marketing doesn’t have the same sort of energy boost and thrill that writing does (at least not for me). So what is an author to do if they want to get noticed without their mind becoming stretched thin on tasks they would most likely rather do without?
Although others would certainly disagree, I think it is best to choose a few (one or two) social media platforms rather than do a bit of everything. Maybe you have a regular blog, or maybe you post on Twitter often, like Andrea Churchill talks about in Don’t Be Afraid of Twitter Marketing. I think that a dedicated effort to one or two platforms is much more productive than trying to spread your butter over an endless piece of bread.
With only a few platforms, you can have a nice thick layer of butter for your readers to enjoy.
Perhaps it’s a silly analogy, but for me, I find that it expresses that quality rather than the quantity is what matters, not only in writing, but in social media as well. Stick to a few platforms and do a good a good job, and your readers will eventually thank you for it.
I‘d like to share an excerpt from my novella Perilous, which was published with Kellan Publishing last year. It falls somewhere between historical, Arthurian, mythical, and religious fantasy, told from the point of view of the Holy Grail, called the Sangreal. This is the closest I could find to self-promotion within the story, when Merlin displays his powers to king Uther and becomes his royal magician:
Yet he was not devoid of ambition himself, and as he grew into a young man, he listened to his father more and more, if only out of curiosity. And, as I had expected, my master worked to gain Merlin’s trust, showing him visions of far-off lands as well as the plots of various lords and kings throughout Albion. Thus, in light of such knowledge, Merlin became something of a prophet. Sometimes, he welcomed it, such as when he had conveyed specific details about a Saxon invasion to the young and militant King Uther Pendragon. Merlin had broken into the castle in the form of a magpie to demonstrate his power. After flying into Uther’s bedchamber one night, he had leapt inside, swiftly resuming his human form, the bird’s wings sweeping behind him into a black cape. He had, of course, been locked in the dungeons, but not before conveying his message to the king. After the Saxon invasion had come to pass just as Merlin had predicted, Uther himself came to speak with Merlin, and they had held council in the dungeon until nightfall. Thus, at sixteen years of age, Merlin became Uther’s advisor and resident magician.
~Excerpt from Chapter 5
I wish every author luck in the endless bread of social media. Make sure to spread your butter—but not too thin!
Get your copy of Perilous
Other books by Mary-Jean: Aizai the Forgotten