Oversaturating My Own Audience?

Self-promotion is a huge topic for web fiction authors, and it's something I've been struggling through quite a bit as I try to gain a foothold with my various web fiction projects and build my audience. Here's something that's been going through my head recently on this subject.

I'm working on a lot of writing projects right now. I have two ongoing serials (Losing Freight on http://1889.ca and Special People at http://specialpeople.timsevenhuysen.com), I'm about a quarter of the way through my Year of Stories challenge (http://timsevenhuysen.com/year-of-stories/), and I'm still keeping up http://FiftyWordStories.com.

Managing all these projects means that I have a lot of new stuff coming out every week. If I go on Twitter (@TimSevenhuysen -- plug!) and share the link for each new story or chapter I post just once, that means I'm sending out 13 self-promoting tweets each week between Monday and Friday. Add to that 1 or 2 blog posts per week and maybe a new product in my Store, and I could be averaging between 3 and 4 self-promoting tweets each weekday without even doubling up on any links!

What I've noticed over the past while, and what I think seems at least partially self-evident, is that when I'm bombarding my followers with that many updates every day, they're bound to start tuning them out. There's nothing special about the tweet to catch their attention. The links don't feel exciting or "new" because they're surrounded by so much other "new" stuff...

Another side effect of having so much new stuff to constantly promote is that I can't give any sustained attention to any single new thing. If I write a blog post about a new product in my Store and tweet that out, I feel like I shouldn't mention it again the next day because it'll just clutter things up with all of the other links I have to post. So I put a little bit of space, and maybe wait a couple of days before reminding people of the new product, and before long there's something else competing for attention with that product--a special event or a blog post or an important chapter or <i>something</i>--and the new product gets lost in the shuffle, relatively unpromoted.

One step I've taken to deal with all of this is to move 50-Word Stories back to its own Twitter account (@50WordStories). That's cut down one tweet per day. I've considered doing that with my other projects, so people can just see the links they want to see, but my 1,500+ Twitter following is one of my biggest self-promotion assets, and it's a bit frightening to think of splitting that up further.

I'm fighting with how to deal with these problems, and whether I need to slow down on my projects (seems like making myself "less productive" is a bad idea), or plan my special events and new releases better, or rethink my self-promotion efforts completely...

I don't know if anyone else has faced issues similar to these, but I'd love to get some outside advice!

It's really nice to see people actually worry about this. :-) Because there are at least five occasions where I've followed someone for all of half a day and then unsubscribed because every half hour on the hour they'd tweet a link to a single novel they were plugging over... and over... and over... and over...

So if it makes you feel any better, I don't think you're oversaturating at this point. Not compared to the genuine offenders. You have new stuff going on all the time and you tweet about it. After a while your audience may start filtering out the tweets they're not interested in, but you don't have control over that. You can't force someone to be interested in everything you do, but can still talk about everything you do.

I publish a webcomic on the same site where I published Pay Me, Bug! and where I'm now publishing The Points Between. Visitors are far more interested in my webcomic, by a ratio of about 100:1. I assume people who aren't interested in reading fiction will ignore any posts where I talk about writing it.

Thanks ubersoft. That's helpful to hear.

Your observation about how many more people read your webcomic than your fiction is accurate for webcomics vs. web fiction in general, I'm sure, which is really too bad for web fiction. There's so much great stuff to read! Why does it have to be cut into a few pieces of dialogue at a time, pasted onto pretty pictures, before people will read it? :/

I don't actually read web serials myself; I wait for them to finish and then buy them as e-books, if they're available.

I have the time to read a page web-comic (though I only read one regularly) a day, because it takes me a glance. I have time to read a book, when I'm lying down before bed and have half an hour. But the 6-10 minute chunk a piece of web fiction requires? That's exactly the wrong time slice for me: just long enough to break my attention from other things, and not long enough to devote my attention to it. I'd rather save that time-slice and just read the book.

It's not all about people needing pretty pictures. :,

Good points, MCA. Format and delivery are definitely part of it. I do plan to release all my webfiction in book form in various ways. It's just hard to keep that in mind sometimes when I'm looking at my audience numbers! :P

I like "brands" I follow to twit say, once a day. More than that is too much. PEOPLE i follow, like authors and artists... one brand / sales based twit, and im good with 3 or 4 more "personal" communications. I like those.