The Social Media Post

Maybe it’s more of a rant, or perhaps even a vent, or just a disturbance I feel in the force.  Who knows, but something doesn’t add up.  All the reports, blogs, and newsletters, I read on how to improve your market all say the exact same thing: social media presence. Have you read that, too?

Okay, here are my stats:

linksFacebook Fan Page: 279 Likes

Twitter under @TaniaLRamos: 1,890 followers

Twitter under @writingapocalyp 1,229 followers

LinkedIn to 24 people (I think)

Pinterest: 26 followers

Goodreads: exponential

Blog: 111 followers

YouTube book trailer: 894 views, 17 subscribers (a must see)

That’s a lot of numbers, yet the book sales through retailers are lower than my personal sales. I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t care if I sold a million out of the trunk of my car and only 6 through retailers, but that isn’t the case.  If social media is the be-all-to-end-all in building sales, then I am doing something terribly wrong here!

I’ve Tweeted, blogged (but this I do because I really do love it, maybe because it’s writing), I post, and try to stay LinkedIn, and occasionally try to have fun with my pinning on Pinterest. I have followers, I follow, and I engage, but none of this correlates with book sales.  However, it does correlate with book trailer views. So, I ask again, what am I doing wrong?

Late last night, when I should have been getting eye rest, I read several posts on utilizing social media to its fullest potential.  Apparently, I am doing everything right.  Or at least for the amount of spare time I have.  I now understand why so many people are doling out hundreds of dollars a month to have someone take care of social media for them. But does it build followers or a fan base? Or does it simply look good on the stats?

The more stats, the more credible a person may appear, which is why so many people are purchasing followers.  But does a paid follower care about your work? Do paid followers even exist, or are they fictitious followers? Are you simply paying for numbers? And if that is all it is, then what are the numbers worth?

I don’t know!

I do know, I am not willing to pay for followers who don’t care about books or may not even exist.  So what is with the social media hoopla? This much I do know: those people who follow me because they are generally interested in my books and future writings are the ones who interact the most. So is social media a way to gain followers? Sure, because we all love the numbers.  But does it equal to sales? I don’t think it does, or at least not at the out-of-the-gate, first time, self-published author stage.

Let me put it this way: I really don’t care that Tom Clancy has a fan page, because I’m not a huge Clancy fan. I do however, follow Chuck Palahniuk because I’m a fan. If i followed Clancy just for the number aspect, does it mean as much as following Palahniuk? Nope. In the end, I would likely never buy a Clancy book, but I do get excited when I here a new Palahniuk book is in the works. So what does that say about followers who aren’t fans?

Now, am I saying I will delete all my social media accounts? Hahahaha … catching my breath … NO! It simply means I will not devote all my free time to it, and instead devote my time to writing novels which is what all ten of my real fans want to see more of. Just kidding, I have more loyal followers, but this time last year I only had a whopping ten.  Oh, I’m sure they’re interested in updates, and fun facts, but my fans are readers, not numbers.  So, I made a command decision to cater to my true fans rather than numbers. I’ll still update, still tweet and post, and definitely going to blog (because I love it!), but I’ll give the majority of my time to writing.

Someone once said that the secret to becoming a successful author and to selling more books is simple: write more books. Fans want books. Let that be a lesson to all of us writers. Ignore the stats. Use your time wisely to go after the true readers, the fans who love your writing.  Stay engaged with them through social media, but keep writing on the front burner not the back.

As always, thanks for lending me your attention.  And if you don’t have the time to keep up with your social media accounts, or the time to set them up, email editor@blackbirdlsd.com. He does my publicity, but he has also been helping people to set up and maintain their social media. Remember, I’m not saying not to have these items in play, I’m only suggesting that it shouldn’t dominate all of your time. Social media is huge and shouldn’t be overlooked for those true fans who want to stay involved with what you are doing.

Update: 12/12/12 2:51pm PST

Facebook fan page now has 280 followers . . . LOL. Just thought I’d put it in there for reference.

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7 responses to “The Social Media Post

  1. This post really made me think!
    I feel like you hit the answer in the last stages of your post: the secret is to just write more. With that said though, social media IS an incredibly powerful tool if used correctly. If you aren’t generating book sales, then…
    1. Your writing needs improvement and all the social media-ing you do will just succeed in letting everyone know this fact.
    2. You’re targeting the wrong social media audience, i.e. you mentioned your differing tastes concerning Tom Clancy and Chuck Palahnuik.
    3. Your audience base isn’t large enough. If you’re trying to sell book via social media, you need a massive, massive audience. Think about Leo Babauta and his 260,000 followers, let alone Seth Godin’s massive following.
    If you can do both, writing and social media, then you’re on the right track. Given time restraints though, you definitely need to be more strategic. How do you find that line between your writing and your promotion of your writing?

    • Thanks for your reply, Jordan. your last statement is what stands out the most. I believe social media is a very valuable tool. I have met wonderful authors through these venues, and great readers too. I think, and just me thinking, unless you have a fan base of 260,000 (which are usually mainstream authors), then how much does it really help the little guy? I guess that was the question I was trying to answer. One blog I read last year said to publish a book and devote 3 yrs to marketing. that’s crazy. Any fan base you build might be lost over that time. And for me, well, I’d rather be writing. That is the point, right? I sometimes jump on my social media early in the morning, only to realize I spent half a day on it. That is frustrating, especially with hitting so many different avenues. I just want to write. I love writing, but I will never ignore social media. It’s a double edged sword sometimes. Can one survive without the other in the 21st century?

      • Of course you can survive without social media. Authors have become established for hundreds of years without it.
        Social media might make it easier for a certain type of author to gain notoriety, faster, but it’s not the end all-be all.
        I’d say follow your passion! If your heart says to write way more, write way more! Raw passion trumps strategy without it nearly every time.

      • “raw passion trumps strategy . . .” that may be a wonderful quote I’ll have to repeat to myself when I’m writing not social mediaing. I do believe sometimes you have to follow your passion if that is what brings you peace and comfort. Thank you for your uplifting reply.

  2. Remember that building up a social media presence takes time. And like Jordan said, writing more = more books = more fans = more sales!

    • i understand, but between working full-time (and over-time), I sometimes feel like social media is more like running in place than bolting forward. Then I see the numbers rise, which is great, but does it equal sales or even readers? That is the frustrating, running in place part. But, we push on, because we have a story to tell, and we have great stories according to Iuniverse 😉

      • iUniverse does seem to think so, don’t they? And they’re professionals, so their opinion is nothing to scoff at.

        And if you’re bummed about book sales, remember that writing careers rarely take off until the author has four or five books under their belt (I believe that’s called ‘backlist’). I’m not thrilled about that concept, because it means I have a lot of writing, editing, etc. to do before I can make a career out of this, but it seems to be more or less true. I mean, Harry Potter didn’t get famous until book … 4, I think? Twilight was around book 3, etc.

        Not sure where I was going with that, lol. Anyway, I agree that social media is annoying and slow at times, and I don’t know if it translates to readers, but I still enjoy it either way because I’ve met lots of awesome people through my blog — like you 😀

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