Is it just me, or is there a huge "disconnect" between the thoughtful, solitary pursuit of crafting a novel, and the subsequent public onslought of trying to market it, especially on Facebook and Twitter ("look at me!" "like me!")? Is it possible to become well-known and established as a writer without engaging in those particular activities?
To date, I do not see that they have gotten me very many book sales--although I have connected (and reconnected) with some interesting folks. But it's like competing with the more popular kids for attention in the schoolyard. I am finding it a bit demoralizing.
I'm curious whether other writers feel this way, and if any have had success using these platforms. If so, how do you avoid coming across as a "hawker" and make it a productive and positive experience (without wasting a lot of precious time)?
I've had luck making connections with professional; I've connected with the senior editor from History Magazine, and have connected with my new publisher, PULSE via Facebook. As for sales? I wouldn't rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote your book with the aim to build sales, because Facebook and Twitter are better for networking. I'm just speaking from experience.
Thanks, Deanna. I think I am finding the same to be true. I can't say I've made professional connections, but I have connected (or reconnected) with lots of people I wouldn't have otherwise, many of them aspiring writers. So it affords a nice sense of community, and a fun diversion. But so far, not much else.
My novel will be coming out later this year, and I share your concerns about using these social networking sites to "hawk" my work. I feel I'm taking advantage of friends/family members. I suppose we could rationalize and claim that we're giving them the opportunity to view our current work. They don't have to buy the book if they don't want to. If they care about us, they'll want to be in on our creative endeavors. But this rationale still doesn't sit right with me, and I'm not sure if using Facebook, et al, in this way is worth the negative feelings that could be engendered.
A good friend of mine told me that friends and family owe a new writer their support, which means buying a copy of the book and reviewing it favorably, even if it isn't quite their "cup of tea." I'm not sure I agree with this, but she said that ultimately, the public response will make or break the author, and the job of our family and friends is to support us enough to where we appear to have something of a following so that we can get to that next level of public judgment.
I am beginning to conclude that everyone in the world I have ever known could buy my books, and that would not establish me as a writer. For that to happen, we need for some segment of the public beyond our own "four corners" to embrace us. That has been the most challenging thing for me.
Two suggestions for you: Set up a separate Facebook account for your "author persona." On on that one, reach out to book clubs, friends of friends whom you don't know directly, and other up-and-coming writers. "Like" their stuff, post comments, and reach out. You'll make some new friends and break into different circles. And in addition to "hawking," post things of general interest, tell these folks something about yourself. Also, use Goodreads TO DEATH. It is an incredible tool for reaching readers. You can post a giveaway for your new book, buy an ad or start a blog. I now have 100 friends on Goodreads, most of them people I don't know. It takes time--I have been at this a year. I can't honestly say that my book sales have been rewarded by all this effort, but at least I feel I am planting seeds in some good places.
Best of luck with your book!
Really well said, Sheryl. Everything you say is so true. It's the professional connections we make on our writing/publishing journey that opens up the door to greater sales. For example, say you connected with the senior editor of 'People Magazine'; you present your best writing to that editor and he or she really likes your writing--you're set for life, because this grand opportunity is what will lead to other grand opportunities, which is what will gain that momentum we authors are working so hard to strive for. Before you know it, your book is selling well and now, you can pass it forward to new, fledgling authors.
Okay, now I'm rambling, but I hope that I'm making sense....it's those professional connections we make via Goodreads and other sites that get us going.
@Sheryl and Lily--I wish you much luck and success with your books.