Social Media: help or hindrance?

As the resident crone, I can remember the time before computers.  Heck, I remember the time before television.  But the computer and I fell instantly in love. Y0u see, I had always wanted to write, but hated crossing out, erasing, writing up the margins of the page, and all the other mess of putting pen to paper. Cut and paste! That was the miracle I had been waiting for.

When I finally published a book I learned that it wasn’t enough to tell my friends and relations, but that I somehow had to publicize the darn thing to the world at large if I wanted to sell enough copies to get a royalty check. Social media, I was told, is how one does this.

So okay, I put up a Web page. Luckily, I knew HTML, so this was easy. Next, I starting writing a weekly blog.

Then I was told I needed a Facebook fan page. I already had a Facebook page for the purpose of  spying on my grandkids (hope they don’t read this), but I put up the requisite “professional” page. I won’t say I have trouble remembering to switch between the two before posting but you probably guessed that anyway.

Then along came Twitter. I held out as long as I could, but was finally convinced I needed to do this “to get my name out there.” So I Tweet once or twice a week and feel silly doing it.  And, if I run across a really good book, I put a review on Goodreads.

Just last week a friend launched a Pinterest site where she has posted  pictures and excerpts from her latest novel.  Very clever.  Then there is Tumblr, Instagram, and God alone knows what else is out there under the Social Media heading.

I’m drawing the line. Yes, I could do a Pinterest  page. I could Tweet a hundred times a day and post fascinating tidbits on Facebook every half hour.

The truth is, I’d rather be working on my next novel.

Does all this really help sell books? As Fiona Lowe said in the RWR June issue, “I have a website, a blog, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest account. Does this sell books? Some. A few. Maybe. I don’t know.”

I don’t either. I’m interested in what has worked for you.  Is spending precious time promoting your book worth the effort? Or should we spend our time  writing the next book and concentrating on making it the best darn book we can?  Or is there (we can hope) a happy media — er, medium?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ashantay Peters
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:16:35

    I agree! Social media may be overrated, and by the time someone is efficient with one site, ten more types have popped up. Word of mouth (WOM) is still my favorite form of communication and referral. In fact, for every social media success, I bet there is another propagated by WOM. But then, I remember writing stories with pencil and paper. Grin

    Reply

  2. CristineGzr
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 13:13:23

    Sandy, I can understand your perplex-itude. Everyone is offering an opinion and advice. When I had a web design company, it never failed to amaze me how many (all) of my clients were expecting to become #1 on Google. I would send my tip sheet, very simple suggestions but they just wanted a magic pill.

    Recently, I created an online presence for my pen name and was stunned that ‘she’ was more popular and had more friends than me LOL I was just testing out a few suggestions. I now have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. I feel comfy that between the time I get a contract and the book comes out, I will be able to set up a solid social foundation.

    Here are a few minimal suggestions:

    1. Your email signature should always end with links to your books on Amazon, your web sites and blogs posts. You never know how far an email will go or who will click on a link. But, that said -don’t try to track it or analyze results, SEO is a complicated fulltime job and you are better off writing.

    2. Occasionally, or daily (not hourly or every five minutes) tweet a provocative line from your book with a link to it’s Amazon page.

    3. Write a blog post about your book -with a link to you books Amazon page! and use all those little share buttons.

    4. If someone comments on your book on Amazon, reply with a relevant comment. People love talking to authors and will become your biggest fan.

    5. Post occasional comments on other popular blogs with links to your blog post about your book! Look under the comment box, many times you’ll see a post from your blog, click on it and reset it to the book post.

    6. Bottom line is you want people to read your books, you want more books published. So, you need to find a sweet spot in marketing your product or find a dependable person to do it sanely for a price you can afford.

    7. Remember, all this advice is anecdotal. These articles are read eagerly and also create traffic for the author and their book! 😉

    Try a few things and if it something works, keep doing it; if it’s consumes too much time or doesn’t reap results, stop doing it. Find your sweet spot!

    Reply

  3. Sandy Bruney
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 13:56:32

    Hi Cristine, I’m already doing most of these. Just wondering if it was worth it.

    Reply

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