If there was ever an award for being the worst at social media…I would win hands down.
Social media, for me, is almost a bigger nemesis than writing a synopsis is.
There has been debates as to whether or not social media helps authors generate sales. Some say you can’t be successful without marketing your product (or books) in all the media outlets: Twitter, Facebook, etc. Some say it doesn’t make a difference. I wish I knew which answer is correct but I don’t. I simply don’t know because I’m new to this and my first book isn’t slated to come out until next month.
When I first signed with Booktrope back in January, I was told that I needed to set up a website, a blog, a twitter account, and a Facebook page, if I hadn’t already. I had two of the four things. I had a twitter account I hadn’t logged into in so long that I can’t remember and I had a Facebook page that I was rarely active on. I suddenly became overwhelmed. I still am. Because if I’m to be honest, I don’t know the first thing about using social media to my advantage. Nor have I learned to make the time to learn and post regularly. I struggle every day with it. But the fact remains, that each day I’m pushing myself to do more and to learn more. Simply because I believe in a way social media is our greatest asset.
Before I started writing and before I signed my contract, I ran a book review blog. It wasn’t anything fancy, it didn’t generate a lot of traffic, but I was fine with that. I did it simply because I love to read and I love the access I had to the people behind the words. In my short span as a book blogger, I have met and established friendships with more than just authors. I have come to learn that authors truly ARE people like me. They don’t sitting in a dark room all day typing (or writing) while chain smoking and drinking coffee (or whiskey). Authors are people who have lives, who have full time day jobs, and families. Shocking, I know.
So what is with this thing called Social Media?
I get it. It’s a great approach to reaching millions of people you never would’ve been able to reach just a short time ago. But is it really worth the time and effort. Who knows? Twitter and Facebook gives us an opportunity to not only reach a wider audience but to actually interact with fans of our work. To establish a sort of friendship, a camaraderie, and way to reach out to those who love and support us. By allowing this access, we invite them into our lives, we invite them to learn more about us than just the words we put onto pages, and we are real. We are human just like our readers and social media allows us to show that there is more to us than just our work.
That’s the great thing about Social Media.
Whether it helps us grow and sell or not shouldn’t be the point of it. Yes, we all want to succeed. We all want to generate high sales for something we have worked hard on to achieve. But none of that means nothing. Not if you don’t take the time to interact with those who support you. I’d rather have a handful of dedicated readers who share their thoughts about their work, who reach out to me, and spread the word because they genuinely like me as a person.
Now I’m not saying that social media isn’t a good place to generate sales because it most likely is. But there is a way to using it to your advantage without being a nuisance. Instead of saying, “Hey, buy my book. I’ll love you forever.” Try something along the lines of posting a picture of something, of anything, like a funny sign, and asking people where they would hang it. Because I guarantee that will generate more likes and traffic. If we allow ourselves to be humans, if we allow ourselves to show we are just like readers, the response we will get will be more than we ever expected.
I’m not a master at social media. I don’t claim to be. Like I said, I’m the worst at it. But I’m trying to be better. In my personal experience, I’m quicker to buy an author’s newest book for two reasons; 1) Their talent at telling stories is phenomenal and 2) I truly love the author and the relationship we have built. There are so many authors that I consider my good friends, people I have never met in real life, and I will do anything to help them and their books. Then there are those people who randomly contact me, asking me to help them out, and I’m hesitant because I don’t know them or their work. Ultimately, I believe that social media isn’t a place to generate sales but a place to generate friendships/relationships with our readers and THAT is the way book sales will generate.
So this thing called social media…is a curse and a blessing.
I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. If anyone figures it out before I do…please let me know all the secrets of the trade.
The socially inept author.