The Perils of Social Media

Guest Blog by Tosca Lee

Our guest today is Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve. She is also the co-author with Ted Dekker of the NYTimes bestseller Forbidden. The next book in that series will be out this Summer. A sought-after speaker and former Mrs. Nebraska, Tosca was a senior consultant for a global consulting firm until turning to writing full-time. She holds a degree in English and International Relations from Smith College and also studied at Oxford University. Please visit her web site at www.toscalee.com.

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Facebook. Twitter. Shoutlife. LinkedIn. Dopplr. Google+. Plaxo. Blogger. WordPress. Shelfari. Goodreads. Writer’s loops. Conference loops. Endless loops.

By the time I finish updating my status, writing my blogs, tweeting, pasting my bulletins, my newest pictures, my URLs and YouTube links, recruiting friends, recommending friends, sharing reads, rating reads, ranking reads, ranking friends, tagging friends, responding to posts, responding to friends, responding to blogs, ranting, reblogging, re-bulleting, re-accepting (plants, gifts, pinches, bits o’ karma, flowers, flare, tickles, candy, drinks, siege warfare by angry goats and lil green patches–what the heck is a lil green patch anyway??) it’s time to repost my status–and respond to those responding to my status who are reading their walls, shuffling friends, organizing bookshelves, recommending contacts and waging mob wars.

By then, the day is over. I have missed my hair appointment, my deadline and a conference call, needed to go to the bathroom three hours ago, blown off dinner, ticked off my friends (who live in town and did not check my wall to see why I never showed up), neglected my Significant Other, alienated my family, and defaulted on my mortgage.

I’m already grossly behind on an article and some reading, on projects for friends and the synopsis I owe my agent… and yet I cannot tear myself from Facebook because I might miss something important–say, another lil green patch–and then I will have gone from being behind with writing, reading and work, to being behind with the relational fiber of my life that is supposed to make the reading, the writing, the work all meaningful.

***
Bouncing back and forth between the social, networking and professional sites I signed up for to catch up with friends, connect with readers and promote my work, it’s plausible that I might never have time to write another book–or if I do, it’ll be 360 pages of 140-character one-liners.

I don’t know half the people in my extended network, but they came highly recommended. And even though I may not actually know Marlene in Dekalb, I’m fascinated by how white her teeth are in her picture and the fact that her relationship status just changed from “In a relationship” to “Single.” I’m wondering if they broke up or she forgot to change it before her last boyfriend. And if I know any friends of friends willing to dish.

I’m fascinated by hub friends, who seem to know and be on everyone’s page, horrified at how many colleagues know schoolmates who have seen me do stupid things, appalled friends’ exes who never had the decency to settle down more than one degree away.

It gets a bit uncomfortable–I worry if raucous friends will offend the straight-laced among my network (or vice versa). I wonder whether I’ll say something dumb that will haunt me forever–or at least until it scrolls off the new bulletin list, pushed down by the newest rants, requests, ramblings or reciprocal idiocy of others.

The only way to know, of course, is to stay pasted to the screen. I find that trolling for feedback is an especially convenient time to spy on high school friends and frenemies, the real lives of people I only see in suits, my exes, my readers (it seems only fair), my colleagues, my neighbors. And I am at peace with my virtual social life, holed up like a voyeuristic hermit, my picture neatly made up in the window as I sit stinky and unkempt at home in my sweats.

One of these days, God willing, I’ll start a new project. Crickets will chirp from the void that was my blog. The status line of my Facebook page will stare blankly at no one. Invites will turn kudzu on my homepage, and my Shelfari shelves will grow dust. Concerned friends will send notes like morose pings into the ether as I wrestle with metaphors and confront the empty page, wishing I could trade my Roget’s for the tiniest lil green patch or bit o’ karma.

***

Tosca just sent you a lil green patch.

[Accept] [Decline] [Ignore] [Wage Mob War Instead]

#caffiene

 

 

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Fun Fridays – Jan. 6, 2012

Kevin Olusola, “Celloboxing” – the talent of playing the cello and beatboxing at the same time. Give it until the one minute mark and then try to keep your jaw from dropping.
Wow.

Kevin is also the “percussion” for the “Sing-Off” competition winning group “Pentatonix.”

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New Year’s Resolutions

So many resolutions. So many possibilities. So many dashed hopes.

In the interest of avoiding disappointment, here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions I am likely to keep:

1.) Watch more television.

2.) Buy more awesome clothes that go with red lipstick.

3.) Add to my collection of black pointy-toed spiked-heeled shoes.

4.) Increase my collection of black high-heeled platform shoes.

5.) Do less housework.

 Well, maybe I shouldn’t keep any of these. But my hope for the new year is to show everyone I care about even more:

 1.) Love.

2. Understanding.

3.) Mindfulness.

4.) Compassion.

5.) Patience.

Yes, more of these than ever before.

This is actually a very selfish resolution. For when we do these things, the likelihood of being rewarded in kind is great.

Happy New Year!

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Ready, Set…WAIT!

Ah, New Year’s. When hearts soar with best intentions and resolutions tumble around us like snow-melt waterfalls. Our hearts and minds surge with all we want to be, all we hope to accomplish, all we regret and want to change…

Okay, now, show of hands: How many of you make New Year’s Resolutions?

Again, show of hands: How many of you KEEP them??

If you were here, watching me, you’d notice my hand is down. I’ve made hundreds of resolutions over the years, and I’ve broken almost every one. It took me a lot of years to understand that this fact doesn’t make me bad or weak-willed or a failure. It took me several more years to realize that the new year isn’t, for me, about resolutions. It isn’t about saying what I will and won’t do.

It’s about listening.

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News You Can Use – Jan. 3, 2012

Publishing Predictions for 2012 – Various industry insider look into the Crystal Ball. Including Randy Ingermanson, Julie Gwinn, Steve Laube, Jeff Gerke, Chip MacGregor, Mary DeMuth, and Thomas Umstattd. Save this link and see who was right 366 days from today.

Update the Copyright on Your Web Site – A good reminder!

Christian Publishers Anticipate Global Growth in 2012 – Don’t forget that books sell around the world! Click through to read more.

Lack of Snow Get You Down? – Click through to make your own Star Wars snowflakes

What is the Magic Price for E-Books? – Insightful article on the history of e-book prices and a bit of the economics that influence pricing.

Lagging Movie Sales a Lesson for E-Books? – Fascinating parallel from some observations by Roger Ebert.

QR Codes are soooo last year…. – Richard Curtis predicts 2012 will be the year of the “Snap Tag.” How many of you were just starting to notice QR Codes? And they are already passe?

Why You Still Don’t Have an Agent – Jeff Rivera on the query letter. Then note his web site: HowToWriteaQueryLetter.com.

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2011 – The Year in Review

It is a good exercise to reflect on the past year. Count the blessings, reflect on the hard lessons, and remember the good times.

The highlight was bringing both Tamela Hancock Murray and Karen Ball into the agency in late May. I was and continue to be very excited about the talent and work these two are doing on behalf of our clients.

That hard work had visible results as we secured sixty-four (64) new book contracts that will cover 113 new books. That works out to a new contract every four business days.

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A Year to Remember

Anyone following this blog or who knows me personally realizes this was a very exciting year for me on a professional level. After ten wonderful years with Hartline Literary Agency, this summer I joined The Steve Laube Agency. I am thrilled to be working with Steve as my new boss and Karen Ball as my colleague.

Although I kept the same title of literary agent and both agencies are headed by Christians, they have different personalities and styles. The transition has been challenging but rewarding. I extend my gratitude to my faithful clients who remained with me through this time of change, and can’t wait to explore the many possibilities ahead for their careers. I am enthusiastic about forming new relationships with beginning and established writers. I see God’s hand in my career as He gave me the leaders I needed at the time I needed them. Joyce Hart gave me chance when I first moved from being an author to an agent. Steve Laube is working with me to help me reach my full potential as a literary agent. My excitement about being part of this great agency has not diminished one iota since I wrote my first post for this blog, Happy to be Here! My esteem for Steve Laube has only grown and over this past year we have formed a solid relationship based on mutual respect and trust.

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What A Year It’s Been…

2011 was a year for the books. In my household alone, we saw three job losses (two for my poor hubby, one for me), all to lay-off, a new career launched, job searches (which are still going on), loss of a beloved pet, the addition of a newly beloved pet, health crises faced and survived…and the list goes on. Add to that the upheaval in the industry where I’ve worked for over 30 years, well, everywhere we turned this last year, it seemed something else was going wrong.

I don’t know what your 2011 has been, what challenges or joys you’ve experienced, but I know that many today, yours truly included, wonder where the next year will take us. Will there be total economic collapse in the US? Will we find ourselves in some kind of sci-fi life where we’re fighting for survival?

In the darkest moments, when fear gnawed at the edges of our lives, it was easy to feel as though God had, somehow, glanced away. That He’d blinked of an eternal eye, and in that moment the enemy surged.

Thank heaven feelings aren’t reality.

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News You Can Use – Dec. 27, 2011

Independent Bookstores are NOT Doomed – Farhad Manjoo rethinks his position after the reaction to his previous article about the demise of bookstores.

Dr. James Dobson to Write Fiction – You can hear the gnashing of teeth by full-time novelists who already face a crowded field.

Beware of E-Book Scams –  You have a new e-reader and you see a promising “how-to” book for only $1.99 so you buy it. Only to find that all it contains are articles from Wikipedia slapped into an eBook.

Christianity and the Future of the Book –  Alan Jacobs is so smart it makes my head hurt. Read this insightful article and see what you think. If you don’t have the patience, skip to the last three paragraphs.

Highlights of 2011 in Book Publishing – Using numbers to describe events this is a clever overview of the year.

Great Author Interview with Jared Wilson – If you have an hour and fifteen minutes, watch this conversation on the Desiring God site about Jared’s new book Gospel Wakefulness. (Yes, Jared is a client of our agency!) There is a convenient “contents” section that will give an overview of the topics discussed.

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