Social Media and the Author
A Response to MJ Rose’s article in the IWSG Newsletter.
I read Ms. Rose’s article in this month’s newsletter with interest. I’ve been working on doing better with my marketing knowing that too many authors’ sales are on the way down–mine included. As Rose says, there are just way too many new authors and new books in the market, we’re all getting lost in the avalanche.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but she seems to say that social media isn’t worth an author’s time. They should leave their marketing to their publisher and focus instead on writing and being social with our friends in real life.
Bwaahhhaaaahhaaahhaaa… er, um. Excuse me while I roll on the floor alternatively laughing and crying.
Our publisher? Really? What publisher would that be? Oh, right, that would be ME!
Are you KIDDING? I’m sorry, but what era are you living in?
When I did have a publisher in New York, they put my books on the shelf of the local Barnes & Noble and Borders and that was it. They were taken down again a month later, swapped out for the latest batch of releases. That was the extent of the marketing they did for me, a new, no-name author–one of many, many authors they had on their rolls.
If an author has a publishing contract with one of the big publishing companies, they don’t spend a dime on anyone who isn’t a big name. It doesn’t happen. Not anymore. It didn’t even happen thirteen years ago when my first book with Kensington Publishers came out.
So… um… no. Sorry, Ms. Rose, we are not going to rely on our publishers to handle marketing for us.
If you want to become known to potential readers, go on social media! Yes, do it! Do it today!
But what you don’t want to do is scream “Buy my book“. If you do that, you will quickly be ignored and then blocked.
Social media is meant for friends to get together and share their interests and their lives. That’s what it was created for and that’s how you should use it. Find friends. Make friends. Advertise your author page or profile everywhere you can (your website, in the back of your books, etc). But then be a friend. Don’t be a scammy marketer. That’s not who you are and it’s not who your friends on social media want you to be.
When you post on social media, tell us what you’re eating, where you’re going, what you’re doing, what you’re reading (yes, promote the books of other authors!), and then after you’ve made friends, after you’ve got a following, you can sprinkle in that other thing that you do–write.
Tell your friends that you’re so thrilled that you just wrote a 3000 word scene. Or that the book you’re writing is going well. Or that you’ve finished. Or that you’re going to put it on sale to celebrate Halloween/Christmas/your birthday/whatever. But that is one posting among fifty or so.
If you smash people over the head with your ads you’re not making friends and you’re not treating your friends like friends, you’re treating them like customers. Don’t. Treat them like the friends that they are or want to be and then they’ll celebrate your writing milestones with you and perhaps even buy your books and share them with their friends.
So, yes, please do go out in real life with your real friends. Enjoy yourself. But then don’t worry about hopping on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to tell the rest of us (your social media friends) what you did. We’ll enjoy knowing about your life, feel closer to you, and help you spread the word when you publish your next book.