On-line addiction or book marketing? You decide.

19 Mar

Addiction. You can't see it coming.

Addiction. You can't see it coming. Charcoal drawing by Lily Nathan

Originally published 3/19/09

The topic of on-line addiction has come up in my life a few times. Friends who participate on twitter.com find it an incredible marketing tool. Everyone in the book trade says authors MUST cover the ‘net to sell. MySpace, Facebook, gather, blogs, forums, all the above. Authors MUST keep their postings current to stay in the swim. People spend hours every day, blogging, posting, cut and pasting––all to promote their books.

Or is that what it is? How much is on-line addiction? How do you tell the difference?

Pain is the hallmark of addiction. When you wake up from whatever high the experience gives you, are you in a worse fix than you reckoned on? Or are you running to keep ahead of what will happen if you stop?

If you’re concerned that your participation on-line may be more than a strong marketing instinct, please visit Kimberly Young PhD’s site. Dr. Young is a clinical psychologist, one of the pioneers treating on-line addictions. She’s got tests on the site to determine how many tweets is too many. Dave Greenfield is another clinical psychologist and pioneer in the area.  The link takes you to his site, which also contains tests and tools. Both have written books on virtual addiction.

Not a very nice subject, actually.

I knew nothing about on-line addiction until I found myself a full fledged eBay addict. Ah, yes. I can’t go on the site at all. It took me about two years of hard work, a bunch of relapses, and a very forgiving husband to get clear. I’m lucky. We also have locks on our computers so I can’t get on eBay.

The only “cure” for addiction is abstinence. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re a true addict, you can’t dabble with your addiction thinking you can manage it. An addiction is unmanageable by definition.

Here’s a series I wrote about eBay: The eBay Series. Some of the buttons on the menu don’t work–I stopped writing when I discovered I was in trouble. My book on spiritual practice, Stepping Off the Edge, contains a couple of chapters on my eBay addiction, the more colorful and painful parts. (And, please, don’t think spiritual practice is just for those with no problems. Spiritual practice is how you get out of the problems you’ve got.)

So I worry about on-line addiction. I know how one can get lost. I had no clue when I logged on that first time.

How to tell if you’re marketing your book or on-line addicted?

Stop whatever on-line activity you’re doing.

If you can’t stop, you’re addicted. (Excuses don’t count. “The dog made me log on,” does not fly.)

The other sign is symptoms of withdrawal if you do manage to stop. Usually with online addiction, signs of withdrawal include irritability, anxiety, and depression. Occasionally, rage. Yes, rage.

Not a beast to provoke.

Not a beast to provoke.

When I had The eBay series really going on my website, I had people write to me saying, “I’m leaving my husband. Our credit cards are maxed out. He doesn’t talk to me. All the does is check his auctions.” I had one person tell me that they were buying the fixer house up the street, not to fix it up and and resell it, but because they couldn’t walk through their house any more. Her husband’s auction winnings filled their home.

On-line addiction is not a beast to provoke. I’m very careful about what I do on-line. I let myself go on-line once a day for less than an hour. It’s entrancing. That’s the problem.


9/25/2011 I revisited this article before re-posting it. Nice words up above, Sandy. True words, then. What’s happened since? I still don’t participate on eBay.

But you can friend me on
Facebook at:

Twitter:  @sandyonathan

Sandy on Amazon


My Goodreads Author Page

My Redroom Author Page


Do I keep up these social media sites? Some of them. Are they necessary for successful book marketing in 2011? Beats me. Hundreds of thousands of books will be released this year. I’m not going to chance being left behind.

Is this positive or negative? Negative as an “hours of my life down the tube”? The positive is when I connect with you, my reader, and we establish a dialogue. Let me know where you stand/are on this on-line thing. Menace or savior?

Sandy Nathan (and yes, the link goes to my website.)

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author


Sandy Nathan’s books have won seventeen national awards, praise from reviewers,
and garnered close to five star reviews on Amazon.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link for more information on all selling outlets. Links below go to Kindle editions.)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with an early 2012 release date planned. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.

No Responses to “On-line addiction or book marketing? You decide.”

  1. L.C. Evans September 26, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    I am not addicted. I am going to log off right now. As soon as I finish this post. And check my email and my KDP stats. Wait—have I looked at Twitter yet today?

    Thanks, Sandy. Very useful post.

  2. admin September 26, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    It’s something that’s on my mind a lot. I don’t even want to THINK about how much I’m online these days. Am I addicted? Maybe. One thing I don’t do is check my KDP sales. I figure they are none of my business. If God and all the stuff I do on the internet can’t bring buyers for my books, I’m done for. I’ll post other stuff on the topic as needed (by this writer.) Thanks, Sandy