In this age of information overload, how much online sharing is too much? As authors with books out, we understand the necessity of getting our name and work out there. People have to know about a book in order to buy it, and bookstores and libraries aren't where readers go anymore to discover new books and authors.
With millions of books out there, a physical bookstore can only hold a tiny fraction of them. Besides, what about the unknowns who have written good stuff just waiting to be discovered?
And thus we love Amazon with its unlimited shelf space, and the e-reader with its unlimited storage space.
Writers face this new frontier of book publishing with hopeful enthusiasm for the possibilities. Yet the problem of discoverability remains. With so many to choose from, how will anyone find your book?
We get on social media, figuring the more people know about us, the more we will sell. I wonder if this trend causes us to not only spread ourselves too thin but overshare in the process.
Remember back in the far distant past when the mystique of the writer was part of the excitement of reading their stories? I used to wonder about the people who wrote my favorite books: what was their life like, how did they get their ideas, were they anything like the characters they wrote about? What kind of house did they live in? What was their favorite food? What did they look like beyond the author photo on the back?
We don't need to wonder any longer. It's all out there for the world to see. I know my life is. Read one of my books and want to know more? You'll find everything in a few clicks. This concerns me sometimes.
Blogging especially does this to a writer. You need a topic and there's your convenient daily life including pictures for variety. Besides, as writers, this is what we do. We write. And write. And write. We write about what we know, which is ourselves and our families and our activities, our good days and bad.
Seriously, there are times I'm tempted to delete my blog, wipe the slate clean and keep a nice, spare website with very little personal information. Do you ever feel that way?
But then reality hits. We no longer live in the day of author mystique. A writer who avoids social media might be diminishing the chance of success. So there we have it. The conflict between oversharing and the need to make oneself and one's work known on social media.
A few have found a nice balance between the two. Most have not. There's a well-known women's fiction author whose books I used to love, until I started following her Facebook fan page where she posts long, boring updates about her everyday routine. I can't get past the first sentence. Since I liked her on Facebook, I've had no desire to read any more of her books. Her Facebook oversharing has taken away my interest.
Do you think social media can hurt a writer more than help?
How do you feel about oversharing with your own blogs or with others you've read? How much is too much?
Think the pendulum will ever swing back toward writer mystique? I kinda wish it would, how about you?
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf