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There’s a Fine Line Between (Online) Love and Hate

liz&lisa [1]Today’s guests are Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke [2], authors of Your Perfect Life [3] and, released this month, The Status of All Things [4]. They have been best friends for more than twenty-five years. Liz lives in San Diego with her two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter and two bonus children.

We’re passionate about the topic of not overexposing yourself online because as authors we run the risk of doing it every day! Plus, our forthcoming novel The Status of All Things [4] delves into the issue of being obsessed with social media.

Connect with Liz and Lisa on their blog [5], on Facebook [6], and on Twitter [7].

There’s a Fine Line Between (Online) Love and Hate

We’re not going to lie. Our road to publishing was hard fought and well-documented, and because of that, we have a lot of people rooting for us. And those same people love that we painstakingly chronicle our journey in posts, pics and emojis. They like, they comment, they share until their fingers fall off.

Until they don’t.

There’s a very fine line between announcing and bragging. Between keeping people in the loop and annoying them. Between trying to get your book off the ground and begging your Facebook friends to buy it. Believe us when we say, we get it. We understand how hard it is to launch a novel. But we’d like to believe it can be done without pissing off our third cousin once removed that we met one time at a family reunion.

Not oversaturating your Facebook feeds has been on our minds as we launch our second book, TSOAT COVER [8]especially because it tackles the issue of the obsession many people have with social media. We each have well over 1k “friends” and sure, we hope that they’ll click on that pre-order link. But how do we tell them we want them to buy it without making them roll their eyes? How do we decide which part of our professional lives to share because our kids’ teachers might not find those selfies we take with the audience at a book event as charming as we do? It’s not that our online friends aren’t happy for us or don’t want us to succeed—they just might not want their feeds full of our self-serving propaganda.

Our solution? Live a double life. Well, kind of.

We separate our personal and private social media profiles. On Facebook, this gives us the ability to separate the types of things we share. Our moms or our children’s caregivers will probably want to see the pictures of our kids at last weekend’s soccer tournament and those who have liked our Liz and Lisa page on Facebook will probably get a lot more out of the InstaQuotes we’ve pulled from our upcoming book.

We also each have an Instagram that is private and we have created a joint profile that is public. This way, just like with Facebook, our friends and family can choose to follow pictures of our writing journey. Now we can indulge in and post as many book tour selfies as we please without worrying that we might be coming across as obnoxious. The people who decided to follow us knew what they were getting into when they clicked that button!

And yes, we know there are downsides. When you have multiple social media profiles, it means you have to make time to manage all of them. But we don’t mind—in fact we (not so) secretly love it. Plus, our friends and followers aren’t expecting any more than we give them. It’s up to us how much to post.

[pullquote]So does this separation of church and state mean we never post “writerly” things to our personal pages? Absolutely not. But when we do, we give the CliffsNotes version of whatever is going on. [/pullquote]We know it’s an uphill battle, especially now that Facebook has gotten so greedy and insists you pay if you want more than three people to see your links and pictures. But if you choose your content thoughtfully and provoke engagement, you can side step it a bit. (There are several articles on Facebook algorithms and how to do this). But also keep in mind that your writing is a business, and you will need to invest in it. Even if that means giving your credit card number to the “evil empire.”

So does this separation of church and state mean we never post “writerly” things to our personal pages? Absolutely not. But when we do, we give the CliffsNotes version of whatever is going on. Book cover reveal? Hell yeah, we posted it! The finished copies of our novel arrived and we took a photo with the UPS guy? #Duh Featured in the June 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan? Of course! But we are very careful to keep these announcements to a minimum because the last thing we want to do is to cause the people who have known us since we wore high-waisted jeans and shoulder pads to grow tired of us.

But this social media tight wire walk is by no means a science. We’re sure that we are still overwhelming some with our meant-to-be-ironic-pouty-selfies and we know some people will think, Okay we get it, you wrote a book, now shut your pie holes. But hopefully, our cheerleading squad (led by both of our moms!) will drown them out.

We all walk a tight wire. How do you walk the line between writerly and personal? Between announcing and bragging? Where’s your line?