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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History


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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.

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Musings on Social Media

By Fay Sampson ~ November 6, 2013

Welcome back, Fay Sampson, with some thoughts on a topic that is never far from a writer's mind— to what extent should we let the internet invade our lives? And how can we possibly find time to write if we do all the social media we are told we should do?  

Fay and I would both love to  hear how our readers control this ever-pressing aspect of modern life.

Fay also reports that Beneath the Soil, the sixth Suzie Fewings genealogical thriller will be out with Severn House in February in the UK. 

Fay's many devoted fans, of whom I am one, will be delighted to hear that she has also finished Blood in the Well, the third of the Aidan Mysteries for Lion Fiction,  set around the holy wells of Cornwall and Devon.


And here's Fay on a recent visit to the Isle of Crete.



Now, over to you, Fay:

When I first started writing seriously for publication I realised that I would have to set boundaries. It was going to be difficult enough balancing writing, part-time teaching, family, church and housework. One of the things I wasn't going to be able to do was coffee mornings.

My friends have always been supportive about this, and recognized my need for that creative space.

But we are now into a new era. We are showered from all sides with requests to participate in social media. We are led to believe that the future of our writing career depends on this. I resisted invitations to join Facebook for a while, but then caved in. Even now, I only post occasionally, and I try to make it interesting. Yet I find writer friends who are constantly adding new messages, about trivial things. These are the digital equivalent to the casual chat one has at coffee mornings. Is there something wrong with me? When do they find time to write books?

It's the same with email groups. I've joined writers' groups only to find that much of the talk is taken up with matters that have nothing to do with writing. In self-defence, I've stopped reading them. I can't find time to do all the things I want to as it is.

And I've never gone anywhere near Twitter.

I am not usually the sort of person who is negative about innovations. I'll try to adapt to new circumstances even as the years advance. But I find myself overwhelmed by the scale of what is now considered the norm. It takes me all my time to keep up with my Inbox.

I'd like to close the study door and immerse myself in my work. I'd be happy to let the world go by and leave others to publicise my books. I don't have ambitions to keep a high profile.

Yet I may be burying my head in the sand. The profile other writers work for may be the clue to larger sales. And sales are what publishers are looking for to keep offering us contracts.

Am I just being negative, or does a writer nowadays have a genuine choice about how far to get involved?

What I love about Deeds of Darkness, Deeds of Light is that it offers the opportunity to talk about the writing experience at greater length. It's more than trivial chat.

Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.

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Reader Comments:

I've just closed my account with Twitter because I know I need to save time. Although much of it was useful, I knew I could probably manage without it! And I can!
-Fran, November 6, 2013

Hi Fay and Donna,
Great post and great topic. While I've always been a writer (and been published in the news world) I'm just in the last few years getting serious about becoming a published fiction author. Of course, I was told being a part of social media was an element of the equation that leads to publishing success. So last year, I joined Facebook - probably the last of my generation to do so. I echo many of your thoughts about the trivial nature of Facebook. Currently, I'm experimenting with a personal FB page and fifty or so good friends, before I branch out to an author page. My original idea was to only add posts that fell into four categories. Posts that: delight, entertain, cause my friends to laugh, or cause my friends to think. After a year of posting, I've narrowed my categories down to one, based on my friends' response: posts that cause my friends to laugh and think at the same time, preferably with a picture included, bonus if I can include something that gives people insight into my personal life. I think if I could manage one post like this per day, my people would be happy and engaged. I've also decided those are generally the kinds of posts I will take the time to comment on. I must say, between FB and my blog, I've gotten a pretty good handle on who "my people" are, and what they love, so it's been worth it for the up close and personal market research, if nothing else. To manage my in-box, I check my email and FB about twice a day, and respond to anything that is urgent. Other than that, I've started picking a day every two weeks, and I spend time scanning and commenting on (if I have something worth saying) my friends' works, blogs, etc., and the few other folks I've chosen to follow. Of course, just like social media and publishing, I'm still refining and things change on a weekly basis. My favorite thing about social media? Nice to know we're all in this together!
-Lisa Hess, November 6, 2013

I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I finally got a smart phone andfind it not only helps me keep up with social media but it also draws me in more.It is nice not to have to get on my computer to check updates though. I think blogs are important. Even if you can't be on social media blogs can help. :)
-Isaiah T. S., November 6, 2013

What interesting comments! I agree about Twitter, Fran, although I mostly just ignore it rather than actually closing my account. which reminds me--I need to post this blog to twitter!

Lisa, that's a wonderfuly thoughtful comment. You sound incredibly organized. I find Facebook particularly useful in keeping up with my far-flung family and it is a great delight to hear from readers on the other side of the world through my FB page, so it's all a mixed blessing.

Isaiah, I'm afraid I haven't even taken the leap to a basic cell phone yet--my goal is to be the last person on the planet. I think I'm close.
-Donna, November 6, 2013

Great article, thank you!
-Heidi, November 7, 2013

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on this. I think one of the problems is that I always used up all the time there was. So when social media came along, something else had to go. This year, I've done a lot less family history research than I used to. It was fun, and provided the inspiration for the Suzie Fewings crime novels.
We are told that it's essential to join in with these links for the sake of our book sales. I wonder how far that is true. Does it really make that much difference? I'd like to hear other people's evidence.
-faysampson, November 10, 2013

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