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:
Facebook 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.