Social Media=Sales?

Does being active on social media translate to more e-book sales?

That’s a question a group I belong to is discussing right now. I read all the posts, and sad to say, most agree with me — you can Tweet, Blog, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook your heart out, and you won’t sell a single book more than if you’d stayed busy cleaning house.

In fact, touting your book 24-7 is a good way to alienate your friends so they unfriend you at worst, or skip over your post, eyes glazed, at best.

Yes, I like to tell my friends/fans when a new book is coming out or when one is on sale. I think in my heart of hearts they are pleased to know this information. But these are folks who will buy the book anyway, either because they like me and want to help, or they genuinely like my writing. In short, I am reaching folks who are already fans, not making new ones.

I feel a stab of sympathy when fellow writers post of the amounts of money they have spent to “push” their book on review sites or in e-book newsletters. Some even hired assistants to get their book “out there.” All agreed they had lost money they may never recoup. It is like the author who orders a thousand copies of her book, only to have them take space in the garage for years on end.

I have spent a little bit of money, and it did bring a spurt in sales. But when I added it up, I’d spent more than I earned. Every time.

And yet…I know some writers who have earned over $1000 in sales and their books have not even been released yet!

What is their secret? I wish I knew. Catchy covers…great log lines…an enormous network of fans?

Not that I’m envious (she said snarkily). I’m happy for their success.

But let’s face it, competing with the thousand+ ebooks released every day is daunting. I could sell more books if they were print, but my books won’t be in print until the publisher sees X dollars earned by the e-version. Talk about a catch-22!

I will continue to Tweet and blog and post on Facebook, but only when something new happens that is worth sharing. My philosophy is that pounding someone over the head with your book isn’t going to make them break down and buy it.

But not having an online presence isn’t the answer, either.

I think there’s a happy medium. Be nice, be present, share, but don’t nag.

And meanwhile, write the next book and make it even better than the last one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. CristineGzr
    Sep 27, 2015 @ 09:15:04

    When I was designing web sites, a really fun job with horrible clients, I did a lot of research for SEO and exposure. I’m seeing a lot of the old (late nineties and early 0’s) online wisdom still holds true and translates well into what a lot of author’s are doing to market online.

    Most important, never confuse a presence with sales. Creating a presence is vital –you may not see a return on your investment but you can’t live without it. You may love the posts an author writes and enjoy her kitten pictures -so, you share them and then one of your friends will wonder about this new person with the kitten meme and notice that she’s an author and end up buying a book.

    Volume is a huge factor. In email marketing, a 3% click to sale is considered wildly successful, average is less than 1%.This means if your email newsletter is only sent to 100 people, if 10 go to look at your book and 1 person buys, you are doing it right… but it feels so wrong. A good marketing person will buy a mailing list of romance readers (not other writers) and send your newsletter out to 10,000 people with the hope that 100 people will buy your book.

    The Wharton School in Philadelphia published a white paper a dozen years ago about online sales. People who purchase from your online store become invested in a way that does not exist in brick and mortar retail. Consider this with your books because you are selling online (other hat).

    I once designed, built and managed an online commerce site for the second largest distributor of home health care products. The customers were fanatical, they acted like they ‘owned’ the store or at the very least deserved a role in decision-making.

    A person who bought an exercise ball was suddenly emailing us weekly about other products they wanted listed on the site. No, they did not buy these products, which caused confusion for the owner, but they did leave comments and raved about the store online -which did bring in new customers.

    I won’t go into SEO but I it might be a new topic for me to write a post. Business schools like Wharton and Harvard are studying online buying behaviors as closely as a scientist. It’s evolving and changing very rapidly, sometimes behaviors change so fast the white paper is obsolete before it’s a week old.

    With self publishing and ebooks still in their infancy, it’s basically the old pasta cooking technique, toss it on the wall to see if it sticks. But, do so with caution, alienating a customer is a lot like making a vindictive enemy… they will spew hatred. I am amazed and entertained reading Amazon reviews for books and products. I’ve seen people give a one star review because the packaging was wasteful or the packing material ‘seemed’ odd, nothing about the product at all. Authors have seen books slammed for stepping on a reviewer’s pet peeve toes.

    Bottomline: wear another hat to sell, you need to be a savvy marketing person with a good SEO base or hire someone who has a PROVEN track record. This is an area where a newbie can get you banned from Google search engines or worse.

    Oh dear… I went on and on… I hope there is something interesting in this piffle 🙂

    Reply

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