Hi I am self published with 12 paperbacks this year, high quality books in their genre (New Age). I am a 24/7 worker, good writer, meticulous publisher, prolific producer of good products! But I am not social. I have no social talent or motivation for this, and so using the social media is not a good option for me. I find it mundane, empty and boring. I do post announcements of my work on facebook (blog, radio show, books, research and other related sites) and I add "friends" regularly to my facebook list, but I do not have the time or the inclination to post empty hobnobbing "social" messages that nobody could possibly be interested in anyway. (I have read some writers blogs. Most of them say, "I am going to the dentist this afternoon." Are you kidding? Does that really create a folowing?) Having said that, I do not have an alternative. I don't have a large friends and family group to buy my books, and anyway I have read comments by authors saying that once that buying group is exhausted, they sell no more books. I am looking into Google Adwords which of course are expenseive, and following the genreal advice about sending info to the media and so forth. But aside from soliciting bookstores to carry my books, what are the real oportunities here? What do you REALLY have to do to sell books? How do you really inform the public that your book exists? Any ideas?
We try to help as much as we can. :)
Yes, that's so important in this business. Information is needed to make the best decisions as we go.
Dariel--I just came from your blog. How beautiful! I can see your really put energy into it. The list you posted recently looks very helpful for media and promo connections. thanks! Sarah
Hi Sarah. I really appreciate your thoughts here. I have the opposite problem, feeling TOO affected by Facebook and other social media sites. I just wrote about it on my new blog, actually:
I am just waiting for the post-facebook world to be upon us. Am I too hopeful?
I have read your blog post. Just great! I posted a comment there. You give me courage to speak my mind about this subject! I will post a blog post here at SW about it, I have a few things to say, thanks to you! So glad to meet you! Please accept my friend request.
My pleasure, Sarah! Real people UNITE!
Here is the blog post I wrote in response to yours, Bethany. If you want to post it at your blog you are welcome to do so.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Pitfalls of Facebook
Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading an honest, real people article about hating Facebook by sensitive writer Bethany Saltman at her blog Is This My Chair? Bethany describes it this way:
"...After all these years of Zen practice, I know a hell-realm when I see it. Facebook transforms me into a voracious hungry ghost, unable to be nourished by the food at my own table, and in a state of envy and psychic disarray, trying to stuff more of whatever it is they have into my little cake-hole, but alas, nothing satisfies. Am I alone?"
What is Bethany telling us? That you cannot make friends on Facebook. Granted! It is a place where people flash themselves. All social media is. Real discourse is not even welcome there. And as Bethany says,"Duh...they don't really 'like' you!" But the thing is…where do you find somebody to talk? Or more to the point, where do you find a chat room to talk in?
Twenty years ago in Honors College I was required to read "Amusing Ourselves to Death," by Neil Postman, a book warning about public discourse being destroyed as it takes on the form of entertainment. Postman was alarmed by the western trend to reduce all communication to short bits presented in quick flashy media shots, turning communication into advertisements. Recently I reread this book and was amazed at the perfect futuristic description it gave of Facebook! Postman, a philosopher, wrote this book with astounding foresight previous to social media and before digital television screens created an epidemic of autistic and ADHD children who have abnormally short attention spans.
Concurrent with the popularity of social media, community on the Internet is completely dying out. I was dismayed when MSN closed their free groups service 10 years ago, the original and wonderful service that existed parallel to public chat rooms. MSN Groups provided rooms with an excellent, full service private chat room, a message board on the front page, unlimited web pages, unlimited space for graphics, html option, storage pages for files, lists, links, an easily usable calendar, email contact with the whole group, outstanding technical support, and very few intrusive outside ads. All of that plus messenger services made for great community! And altho I am glad that predators can no longer stalk victims in open, public chat rooms, I miss community!
The feeble groups services at Yahoo and Google, left after MSN, do not offer anything equal to MSN and will not last much longer. But the point is that they are dying because nobody wants them. Nobody uses them. Everybody uses Facebook and Twitter. You cannot protect a culture from itself. Whatever sells will get space on the Internet, and Facebook sells. It sells itself and it sells everybody and everything else. That is the point. It sells. It is all about getting something. It never gives. And it is not quite honest about its purpose. That is why it is slightly distasteful. A product may be for sale. But do I have to pretend be your friend to buy it?
Facebook and the era of social media will run its course, as everything does. Structures of lasting value and quality will endure, win-win structures that are honest and show respect for people, structures that uplift, educate, offer opportunities, and promote a high quality of life. Things that all people in all times value. Things that make life worth living. We must create those and allow them to take their place when the flash and the buzz die down and people start searching for something of substance. For that is inevitable.
Bethany's Blog: www.isthismychair.com
Thanks, Sarah! I will post it on my blog.
Great post, Sarah. I agree - worthwhile things and relationships will last, as everything changes constantly in technology. I view social media as a networking tool to assist in forging lasting, meaningful relationships. No, everyone who says they "like," "follow," or "friend" you is not sincere, but I've found genuine people among the one-dimensional, people I actually miss when we don't cross paths online for a few days, and that makes it worthwhile. I think for so long writers and musicians worked in solitude because it was all we had. Now, geographical lines are non-existent and opportunities abound. When I spent too much time in my bubble, I emerged confused and overwhelmed. I probably still am, but at least I can share it with others, now. LOL
Hi Dariel! So good to hear your refreshing intelligent mature comments as always! You are right about the writer bubble! It's lonely! I've been there for years! And the Internet and social media has changed that for us! And it's good. The Internet itself has done so much for so many...for the whole world. It has truly changed the whole world and we have much to be grateful for to the all the nerdy computer guys and girls who brought it to us. The world is changing, and for the better. Now there is opportunity for the isolated and accolades for the intelligent and the hard workers who produce. It is cool to be smart and cool to produce and even cool to tell the truth and be vulnerable, like Bethany Saltman at her incredibly candid, well-written blog IsThisMyChair? Something worth reading. And maybe we CAN make friends on social media! You just have to kind of stick to your values, because it can sweep you along into the nothingness of it..but it's a MEDIUM. And we must use it, not let it use us. I am a person who prays, talks to and hears the voice of a compassionate, brilliant god of my understanding,and "he" told me a week or two ago, "Use it. Use social media. USE it." And now I understand he was telling me, "Don't let it use you and you'll be fine! Understand what it is. And use it for what it is--a tool. Don't buy into it." As always, God saw the future and advised me with unerring perfect correctness. I am glad I hear that voice. Sarah
I'm not sure you can market your books without using social networks and media. It's a part of this whole digital age which allows us to self-publish. I reckon once you get into it you'll be fine.
You have to do it but I dont think social media is doing that much to help unless you're already there - kind of like JK Rowling taking out a full page ad for another HP.
We do it because we have to and for a minute handful of writers it works viz the author who started an FB page "What to read after 50 Shades of Grey" - Suddenly she's big. But mostly it's writers marketing to other writers which is useless - we read of course, but mostly we write.
The most dangerous creation in this social networking thing is that we have made readers expect Ebooks to be free. (Mine is going free tomorrow but I'm not here to advertise that), just saying that I resisted that bandwagon but you have to do it in order to get reviews, hopefully, because without at least ten 4+ reviews on US Amazon (not combined Amazon), you can't get onto review and promo sites. Now reviewers are refusing to take submissions! They say they're fed up with being bombarded. Everyone is getting fed up with constantly being sold to.
In the desperate quest for reviews, a slew of sites have sprung up telling thier followers about Ebooks going free. Some sites now charge authors for listing. Kindle owners now wait for free books or load up their devices with more books than they can read and only actually pay for Harry Potters or 50 Shades or other bestsellers.
It's a tough world in publishing at the moment although the new freedom is also exciting. We're still riding it out as it's nowhere near to landing but Social Media will not be going away, only morphing.