Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Social Media: Use it and Abuse it!

I have read various opinions on how authors ought to use social media. Best seller Jonathan Gunson, for example, thinks it's a big rookie mistake to shout out your book on Twitter and other social media (Facebook, Tumblr, Goodreads, etc.)

But I rather think it's like the brilliant blogger and self published author Christian Mihai says, it's not so much about how you use social media that matters, it's how well you develop your platform.

Both authors, however, stress the importance of reader interaction. People log onto social media to *interact with their favorite authors as well as fellow readers.

Neil Gaiman is a master of this. He also happens to have one of the most read blogs of any living author.

But what if you're a new comer? What if you, like many struggling authors, have a day job to support your family and cannot spend hours on end trying to *interact on social media?

What then?

Then do what I do, screw the opinions of successful authors. They're not successful because they mastered Twitter. They're successful because they have a damn good book which resonates with readers and they happened to luck out in the timing and the response.

Even Neil Gaiman knows luck has a little to do with an authors success.

That said, I think Mihai is right. Improving one's social media platform could never hurt. But at the same time, is sending a shout out to a book you've published going to turn readers off?

Probably not. If you have an excellent book, it will find a fan base. Just don't expect word of mouth to be instantaneous. As a self published author, you still have to do some selling.

My book Bitten has been out for over a year and the sequel, which just came out this month, has already sold twice as many copies, and I haven't pimped it nearly as much as the first book.

Does that mean I turned readers off with all my "shouting" on the first one? I highly doubt it.

It's just that after nearly a year of non-stop interview inquiries, sending out promotional copies for anyone who would read it, and yes, pimping my book like a shameless book whore, I have more name recognition. It helps.

So as long as you do try to interact a little bit with your readers and fans, and you create a strong platform with good networking between the various social media, feel free to abuse it. Heck, the way I see it, if you didn't use it at all then you'd just have one less outlet to advertise your book.

Can a new author take it too far? Certainly  If all you are doing is reposting the same link again and again, well, that would get old fast. But if you're like me, and you simply don't have time to master every form of social media, then focus on the one you are good at and as for the rest, use them however you see fit.

If you have a quality book, people will notice, regardless of how you advertise, or don't. But certainly  it couldn't hurt to pimp it a little bit.

Case in point: I put up a link to my book Bitten 2 and generate 30 sales in one hour. 30 sales I wouldn't have had if I had thought, oh well, Mr. Gunson is probably right. Nobody will want to read me if I just advertise another ole zombie book.

Actually, yeah, there is always somebody curious enough to click on the link to your book. Will that mean they are apt to buy it? Probably not. But sometimes I like a good shouting match, so shout away fellow Indie authors! Be proud of your work.

Besides, if people really cared about conversations, I mean real conversations, they wouldn't be spending all their time on social media sites which limit what they can say to catch phrases and two-bit jokes, or a series of fleeting memes. 

So if I actually do scare someone away with my shouting, I hope they can outrun the sound of my booming voice, because YEEEEARGHHHH! Also, Bitten 2 is available for Barnes & Noble's Nook as well as Amazon's Kindle.

So I'll keep abusing social media, whether people like it or not. I'll let my unnatural charm take care of the rest--although I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

--Tristan Vick

No comments:

Post a Comment