Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

One of my AWESOME on-line pals posted something troublesome on my Facebook page. Apparently there is a recent article in a major writing magazine that declares social media does not sell books and, in a nutshell, isn’t worth the effort. I’ll warn you guys ahead of time that I went hunting for the article—at the last remaining Barnes & Noble within a 25 mile radius of my home—and couldn’t find said article (and have asked Kim to get me the specific issue). But, since this type of commentary is prevalent enough in the blogosphere, I feel I can address the overall thesis accurately enough.

Social Media Was NEVER About Selling Books Directly—Who KNEW?

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

I’ve been saying this for about ten years, because the idea of using social circles for sales is NOT new. About ten years ago, I recognized that social media would soon be a vital tool for writers to be able to create a brand and a platform before the book was even finished. This would shift the power away from sole control of Big Publishing and give writers more freedom. But, I knew social media could not be used for direct sales successfully.

How?

When I was in college, every multi-level-marketing company in the known world tried to recruit me. I delivered papers and worked nights most of my college career. Needless to say, I was always on the lookout for a more flexible job that didn’t require lugging fifty pounds of paper up and down three flights of apartment stairs at four in the morning.

I’d answer Want Ads in the paper thinking I was being interviewed for a good-paying job where I could make my own hours. Inevitably it would be some MLM company selling water filters, diet pills, vitamins, prepaid legal services, or soap.

And if I sat through the presentation, they fed me. This meant I sat through most of them.

What always creeped me out was how these types of companies did business. First, “target” family and friends to buy said product (and hopefully either sign them up to sell with you or at least “spread the word” and give business referrals). Hmmmm. Sound familiar?

The business model wasn’t really about meeting people, connecting and actually liking them just because they were good people. There was an endgame…SELL STUFF (or manipulate others into helping you sell stuff).

Ick.

Hey, you go to the gym anyway. Strike up a conversation. Say nice things, then give the sucker friend target a FREE SAMPLE. People who work out need vitamins. That isn’t ookey AT ALL!

The Battle of the Experts

I recall being part of a panel in NYC three years ago and the other experts were all excited about applications that could tweet for authors “saving time” or even certain tools that could measure what days and times Twitter was most active and when people would be most likely to see our tweets. All I could think was:

1) Are these people tweeting or ovulating?

2) If everyone uses this same tool, then all they will do is crowd the feed and no one will see anything. Left long enough, these “Golden Hours” will shift so people can avoid the barrage of ME, ME, ME! MY BOOK!

The panel’s moderator (ironically) worked for the CIA and was tickled silly that there were all kinds of algorithms that could “predict human behaviors.” Of course, I made myself WAY popular when I said, “The only way to accurately predict human behavior is if we all have a chip in our heads and someone else has a joystick.”

Yes, I can be blunt. My mom is from New York. I blame it on her.

My assertion was that, if this was true, and we could accurately predict human behavior, then we wouldn’t be worrying about crime, war or terrorism and that these algorithms were a mirage that gave a false sense of us “being in control” of the uncontrollable.

Also, how would she still have a job at the CIA?

Oooh, But We Can MEASURE…um, NO

In the 90s and early 21st century most people weren’t on-line. Computers were still cost-prohibitive and Internet service was mind-bendingly slow (dial-up?) and expensive. Social media was in its infancy and only early adopters trusted buying on-line.

Companies could launch ads and measure click-throughs. How long did a visitor stay on a web site’s page? Did the visitor click the ad on the page? Did that ad then translate into a sale? Companies still do this. I’m pretty sure authors can do this, but why would we want to?

Could feel like THIS? Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

Could feel like THIS?
Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

Unlike Sephora, Gap or Walmart, most of us are a one-person operation. We don’t have a team of interns to do this stuff. We also don’t have a multi-million dollar corporate budget.

What IF an ad doesn’t work? How many of us have time and extra money to launch a new ad?

Also, there are SO many variables beyond our control. I’ve seen this with blogging. A holiday, time of year (kids getting out of school), a major world news event (Osama bin-Laden captured) can all affect traffic and click-throughs. To try and study our stats and juke them for advantage is a lot of time better used elsewhere (like writing more books).

Might I suggest one of these...

Might I suggest one of these…

Relationships are Key

Social media is social, meaning it’s about relationships. This means, 1) it will take time to build and 2) it cannot be outsourced 3) it cannot be automated.

Can you imagine trying to maintain relationships this way in the real world? Give your husband a call-in number:

For the location of clean socks, press 1. For a word of encouragement, press 2. For the item I need you to pick up from the store, press 3. For the real reason I haven’t talked to you since yesterday, please stay on the line and an operator will be with you shortly.

Your estimated call wait time is three days.

HINT: Anniversary.

Social media and author brands will sell books, just not directly and not in ways that can be measured looking at clicks and stats. Social media is essentially word-of-mouth which has been selling stuff books for centuries and no one can measure it. 

The Bottom Line

Since I don’t have the article (sorry), I am limited here. But I imagine that, aside from telling writers social media was a waste of time that doesn’t sell books, I assume there was no panacea offered to replace social media. If social media doesn’t sell books, then what does? Ads don’t. Never have. Promotions are time-consuming, expensive and have a dismal ROI (Return on Investment).

Also, if social media is so grossly ineffective, what explanation do we have for the MASSIVE power shift from BIG NYC publishing to indie and self-published authors now 1) making a reasonable second income 2) making a decent enough living to finally write full-time 3) nontraditional authors taking up an increasing portion of major bestseller lists like the New York Times and USA Today and 4) the major inflation of fiction writers now making six and seven figures?

All the ones I know of (and there are MANY) use social media to some extent. All of these authors would never have gained visibility, traction or sales without social media.How can we explain these trends without including social media as a variable?

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 1.17.53 PM

Notice I said social media as a variable. There is NO magic formula. Hard work, more books, good books and generating word of mouth (in part with a brand and on-line platform) is fundamental. Social media has been mistakenly touted as a formula to wealth and riches, but it isn’t. Neither is buying real estate using a proven program from an infomercial.

The Future

Bookstores are closing. Barnes & Noble is evaporating. Indie stores will have a resurgence, but they have limited space (and need to unless they want to go bankrupt like the megastores that tried to KILL them). THIS is the future of book sales. I saw this in the cosmetics section of my grocery store a few months ago. Insert a debit card and get a sample before you buy…

Why buy a WHOLE tube of lipstick when you can get a sample. LOSS prevention?

Why buy a WHOLE tube of lipstick when you can get a sample. Also, um LOSS prevention?

Oh, and these are popping up…

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 11.23.38 AM

Check your bank balance then BUY A BOOK!

For those who want a paper copy to hold...

For those who want a paper copy to hold…and get NACHOS!

These kiosks sound familiar. Reminds me of one of my posts from over two years ago. I wrote a lot of other blogs that said basically the same stuff, posts that are even older. But I’ve written over 800 blogs and I’m lazy and have to get back to writing books. And I am not alone in seeing this trend. I’m no great genius. Other people saw this coming.

Um, clearly since I can’t claim I invented any of these machines. Ok, I could, but I try to restrict lying to my fiction.

But, if THESE kiosks are down the pipeline, how can we reasonably come to the conclusion that social media is a total waste of time? Relying totally on social media is a waste of time, but I’ve been saying that for years. As authors, we are wise to think in terms of our careers. Think like a business, as in short-term and long-term. Platforms and careers need a wide base, deep roots, a community of support, time and a heck of a lot of sweat equity.

Also, there are effective ways to do social media and ways that make others want to stab us in the face (which was why I wrote Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World).WANA ways WORK but they take time. ROM has a step-by-step plan. Heck, don’t buy my book. Browse my blogs for free. I just care about your success.

The Future IS Bright for Writers

The future for authors is wonderful, but there is no Social Media Shake Weight. Sorry. I was bummed, too. But here’s the thing. The same articles that will discourage writers from social media because it doesn’t sell books aren’t also demanding we halt all book signings. Book signings are fun, they are social, and they’ve historically been a way to connect authors to an audience in a personal way.

Until social media they were the only way. 

But book signings were NEVER meant as a sole means to sell books. In fact, it was really never even the purpose of a signing. Rather it was connection with the author as a person.

Craftfest

Even if a writer has a line out the door, the most even a mega-author might sell is a thousand books. Let’s be generous. FIVE thousand books. A drop in the bucket if you’re Dan Brown. Is selling 5,000 books relevant when an author sells millions? When an author has to board a plane, stay in a hotel, sit in one spot signing for hours or even come up with a speech? And travel city to city to city for a month or more instead of writing?

Food for thought ;) .

We live in a wonderful time to be a writer. Yes, it’s work, but there are a lot of reasons why this job isn’t for everyone. Success in anything is about staying power, passion, and effective action (solid social media, building relationships, and writing MORE books and GOOD books).

What are your thoughts? Are too many authors banking too much on social media? Do you feel social media has been sold to writers as a get-rich-quick-scheme? Do you see other authors approaching social media in a way you know is going to burn them out? Do you know of any nontraditional authors who sold zillions of books yet didn’t use social media at all? What did they do?

…ALIENS.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of APRIL, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

 

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  1. #1 by Kavalkade Krew on April 14, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    I agree with your sentiments, and am on the “personal” side of the “personal v big data” debate.

    However I think the way you measure book sales is by counting how many books sold, lol.

    So your efforts in being a real and genuine person are measurable overall.

    How much is due to “book signing”, being “personable”, writing about a topic that the buyer likes, etc, I don’t know.

    But hopefully it sells your books so you can make a living at what you love, if that’s your goal.

    • #2 by .G.S. Weiner on April 18, 2014 - 3:19 pm

      There is a basic problem which needs to be identified and admitted: there is a tremendous over-supply of writers. Its such a pity to view large quantities of hard-bound books for sale at a local dollar store.
      Apparently the utilization of an agent, an extensive distribution network, a well known publisher, and if available favorable publicity by a noteworthy critic are essential for one to attain a marked success
      Otherwise enjoy the thrill and self satisfaction of writing communicating with others .

      • #3 by Kavalkade Krew on April 19, 2014 - 10:20 am

        I disagree wholeheartedly.

        People are free to use whatever means of publicity and distribution that they desire.

        You never know who might break out and become well known, when not using such means.

        It’s democratization of the publishing world, basically.

  2. #4 by Roger on April 14, 2014 - 1:03 pm

    As a newbie I have always thought social media was just a start to getting your name and work out in the spot light. And along with book signings they are a beginning. What is next, I don’t know, but it will be a cool ride no matter what.

  3. #5 by emmaburcart on April 14, 2014 - 1:04 pm

    It seems to me that so many “experts” are extremists. They went from all writers must blog daily and be on every social media site to social media has no impact. It’s kind of like everything else in life: balance. Social media is fun because it’s social. And when I read “expert” advice, I usually just end up thinking that those experts should read your books.

    • #6 by dontdeletemeblog on April 14, 2014 - 1:38 pm

      This is exactly what I was thinking as well. I think there is definitely a balance. I have a few social media accounts and I am often overwhelmed with the amount of writers out there that are just like me. I would have never known about them if it weren’t for social accounts. That’s what is so cool about technology. But you can definitely have too many accounts, where you end up spending more time managing those than actually writing!

  4. #7 by Liz Crowe on April 14, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    I like to think (“like to think” being the key words here) that my success as a realtor would make me better at selling books because of the very things you are saying in this post. That (real estate) is 100% a relationship business at least the way I did it. You build, you prove yourself worthy, you sell, then you keep building, proving and selling. It takes work, and commitment and time and patience and yet more time and commitment to proving to the Average Joe that you are the expert and can help them.

    I am sorry to say that sometimes I forget that convincing new readers my books are worthy of their disposal income and time is more like that than anything. So, I’m writing more (building), proving myself worthy (garnering reviews and a “Platform” and selling (some). The social nets are props, support networks and ways to show you are clever or a newly named NYT BSA (not me yet but someday I feel certain). They are not “where” you sell anything. I would guess that 10% or fewer of my tweets or posts are direct calls-to-action to BUY MY BOOKS NOW DAMN YOU but I have found some great folks to follow and emulate and even found my Editor-from-hell…speaking of, best get back to the homework He assigned me.

    great post dear, as usual.
    cheers
    Liz

  5. #8 by jillhannahanderson on April 14, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    Although social media can be time consuming and draining, like learning five new dance steps to perform in the public eye, I think it’s like everything else in life: everything in moderation. I’ve read many authors mention they set a timer for their social media work, then put it aside and get to work. Thanks for all your good blogs – they shed light on so many things we writers need to learn!

  6. #9 by Katherine James on April 14, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    *Are too many authors banking too much on social media?*

    I think too many authors use social media as a loudspeaker, rather than a way to connect with their readers.

    Platforms like twitter are perfect for building a really personalized dialogue with your readers.

    • #10 by Lori Robinett on April 14, 2014 - 3:38 pm

      Exactly – I’m so tired of folks I follow on Twitter doing absolutely nothing but saying “buy my book”!

      • #11 by S. L. Saboviec on April 20, 2014 - 1:06 pm

        I’m not because I don’t follow those people, or if one slipped through the cracks, I unfollow. ;-) I know it sounds flippant, but I am being serious: The TeamFollowBack mentality is a massive waste of time. It’s better to have 200 followers you engage with than 2,000 who couldn’t pick you out of a lineup.

  7. #12 by Veronica Forand on April 14, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    I’ve been working over time to build relationships on-line and have listened to your advice for two years. Guess what? In the past two years, I’ve made amazing friends on-line and truly enjoy the community around me. Will it help sell my book when it arrives in the Fall? Doubtful, but I’m in this for the long haul and willing to earn readers the old fashioned way. Word of mouth and quality stories. Thanks for keeping me sane!
    -Veronica

  8. #13 by rod on April 14, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    This is an excellent, thought-provoking post.
    (But you knew that already!)

  9. #15 by Shea Ford on April 14, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    I love your automated response for hubby! My hubby works in IT and sometimes forgets that I’m not a computer.

    I love using social media, though some parts of it I don’t like. I don’t care for twitter. It moves too fast for me. I mostly like facebook but I have a love/hate relationship with my blog. Probably because it doesn’t do what I’ve predicted it to do.

    But I’m not very predictable either. I had planned to go to your 80s themed birthday party, but was slammed with gluten pain courtesy of Five Guys burgers. Sorry I missed it. :(

    I really don’t know how well any of this translates into sales for me because I’ve only got one book out there so far. I guess I’ll get a better picture when I get more books out. :)

  10. #16 by Carrie Butler on April 14, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    Oh, this is going in my Kristen Lamb bookmark folder…

  11. #17 by Alison J. McKenzie on April 14, 2014 - 1:18 pm

    “…but there is no Social Media Shake Weight.”
    This line is golden.

    • #18 by drshaywest on April 14, 2014 - 1:33 pm

      I nearly spit half-chewed pretzels out of my mouth when I read that line! LOL

  12. #19 by swiveltam on April 14, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    Great blog. Thank you for this. I know writers who think they will get rich with there few self-published books and said that social media has done NOTHING for them, but then they don’t seem to be following the advice you and other give about sharing your blog and brand. Most don’t even have a brand.

    I do think the internet is full of platform building snake-oil. So many blogs purport how easy it is to sell books if you have a blog. I think it gives indie writer’s a inflated view of the writing universe.

    Thanks for your down to earth advice!

  13. #20 by Kevin Brennan on April 14, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    Terrific advice! I stopped using automated tweeting services months ago when I realized that not only was I not really present on Twitter, neither were the targets of my tweets! That’s when I accepted that social media isn’t a selling vehicle, it’s your public face. People can get to know you, and when they know you well enough they want to do nice things for you.

    And that’s why there’s still nothing better than word-of-mouth to sell books. If a writer is lucky, people will like her because of her social media presence, and they’ll spread the word about her wonderful books.

    That’s how it works on paper, anyway…

  14. #21 by Kelly Byrne on April 14, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    It drives me cray cray when I get those videos from CreateSpace and new authors talk about how many grillion copies of their first paperback novel they sold on Amazon without ANY marketing at all. NO ONE KNEW it was there and yet it sold 5 billion copies the first month. Grrrrr.

    So what did sell those books? Aliens. Or are they just big fat dirty liars? (Ding ding ding!) ;)

    “Social Media Shake Weight” – Bravo.

    I’m just beginning my journey into the land of social media again and I have to say, it’s daunting business if you let it be. It can take over your life: reading blogs, commenting on said blogs, writing your own blogs, reading your own blogs, posting, searching, commenting, tweeting, posting, commenting, researching, repeating till your eyes bleed.

    I think the key, as you say, is to keep it social. It’s a way to connect with other people who share similar interests. It’s fun when you make it fun. And hopefully, you’ll (I’ll, we’ll) create strong friendships along the way that stay fresh and tasty for years to come.

    And then I need to remind myself to get the hell off the Interwebs and WRITE. Because without that, well…

    Thanks for the post, Kristen. :) I hope you had a delicious anniversary weekend with hubby.

    • #22 by drshaywest on April 14, 2014 - 1:34 pm

      Someone that uses cray cray!

      Kelly = my new hero

  15. #23 by bwcarey on April 14, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    social media is about enhancing, i suppose there are those who only want you to focus on what turns cash, or more honestly, there are those in the world, people, whose only interest is money making, and i guess many who blog into the world, have a wider focus, amen

  16. #24 by drshaywest on April 14, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    I love social media because I love getting to know people!! Although my FB and Twitter peeps are probably tired of all my Doctor Who and Benedict Cumberbatch (onw word: swoonalicious!!!!) posts ;) I rarely post about my own stuff and tend to hide/unfollow people that do. I want to know more about what makes people tick, what they like, are they as addicted to Doctor Who/Sherlock/Firefly (ALL THE FANDOMS!) as me, do they like biology, or playing outside, and did I mention Benedict??!!??

  17. #25 by A.M. Guynes (@annikkawoods) on April 14, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    I’ve been building a brand for three years now. I stumbled in the beginning like all people do. But I’m beginning to find my way through this whole social media thing.

    I’m interesting people in me. Not my half assed attempts at writing (I’m getting better though through comments and helpful people I met through social media) but I’ve been talking about life in general, my writing process, my beliefs, etc.

    This post reminds me that while I can promo on social media, a) don’t make it every few minutes and b) relax and let it get around by word of mouth that I’ve written something good. Thanks for the sensible advice.

  18. #26 by drshaywest on April 14, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Dr. Shay West and commented:

    Another gem by Kristen Lamb!
    Using social media to actually be…*gasp* SOCIAL! Why bombarding people with BUYBUYBUY doesn’t do anything but get you on several hit lists and banned from the Roxbury. Take heed peeps because it really sucks to be stuck on the wrong side of the velvet rope

  19. #27 by Book Peeps on April 14, 2014 - 1:48 pm

    There’s nothing more annoying than to see an author over promoting on their blog, FB & Twitter, etc. Bombarding their followers 10 times a day, 7 days a week about buying their book. When you publish your book, I support any author posting about it a few times on all of their social platforms and continue to do so intermittently. BUT, when ‘buy my book’ or my book is available on ___” is ALL you see from them, it actually, for me, is a deal breaker. I’m done. If this constant sales pitch is working for you and you’re selling loads of books, then that’s great. It’s just not working for me. In my case, you’ve not only lost a sale but a follower too. I wish I could give you a magic formula for successful marketing using social media, but until someone comes up with it moderation and diversification may be a good place to start. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Enjoy the journey on the way to your destination.

  20. #28 by Roger H Panton on April 14, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    Thank you. I am relatively new to being an author and using social media. Your article is very timely!

  21. #29 by ctfranklin28 on April 14, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Reblogged this on This College Dropout.

  22. #30 by Sandra Wagner-Wright on April 14, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    Just to confirm, building social media platform is slow, slow, slow the WANA way — but, I’m seeing an uptick & even if no one sees my posts, I enjoy the process. And that’s not your only good piece of advice. Just got rejected by an agent. Gave myself a minute to scream “OUCH” & then got back to work. Before Kristen, I’d have take at least a week to feel sorry for myself.

  23. #31 by Stephanie Scott on April 14, 2014 - 2:17 pm

    Love this line: there is no Social Media Shake Weight.

    Bummer!

    And yet, when I go to the writing conference I’m signed up for at the end of the month, someone in a panel or a workshop will ask which social media platform sells the most books. It always happens! People want that magic formula.

  24. #32 by Daven Anderson on April 14, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    Word Of Mouth is always the best method to sell anything.
    In this digital age, we have far more options to create a buzz, and even go viral in a way that was not possible pre-Internet. And all “viral” is, is word-of-mouth going on the exponential curve.
    PS: I may not be a super-pro Tweeter, but I do think one possible tactic to raise awareness of your book without a hard sell, is to post quotes from the pages :-)

  25. #33 by Daven Anderson on April 14, 2014 - 2:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Vampire Syndrome Blog and commented:
    The best sales pitch has always been Word Of Mouth. Going viral is simply the newest variation on this age-old theme.

  26. #34 by Creative_Junkie_xXx on April 14, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    Being a newbie in the blogging world after I finally decided after 5 years that I have something to share. Although I’m sure billions of other people do too, so really i’m no different. Anyway, the point is social media is an excellence source with potential readers and fans. The author that comes to mind that didn’t soley depend on social media what was able to sell millions was J.K Rowling the author of Harry Potter. If i’m not mistaken the book came out in the late 90s (1998) social media wasn’t a real popular tool for writers. She alone was able to make it work and there have been authors like Suzanne Collins who had great success with “The Hunger” trilogy who became success in the spread of word of mouth through social media. Like you stated before we as writers can’t soley rely on social media but we can’t cross it out all together either.

  27. #35 by Creative_Junkie_xXx on April 14, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Where's the Manual to Life? and commented:
    Every writer should be read this.

  28. #36 by awax1217 on April 14, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    I once thought I could write and I did. My audience was important to me. It was my ego, Id and Superego. But they disagreed and caused confusion. I signed my ego’s book, discarded my superego and had long talks with my Id resulting in confusion. I now write for a limited audience. But at least I know where they come from.

  29. #37 by Heather on April 14, 2014 - 2:37 pm

    I wonder if the book signings trend has come out of the musical trend from 10 years ago. When indie music and MP3 sales and pirating meant that musicians no longer made a ton of money from music sales, they realized that concerts and merchandise were the main ways they could keep up their stream of income. So maybe authors thought that a similar approach could be worthwhile? Either way, we’re not exactly performers (often) as we’re introverts. And usually book-signing venues limit seating to at most 50 people, which doesn’t really translate into a ton of sales compared to a Bar of 150 people (for indie musicians) or concert venues starting at 1000 seats. Anybody else have thoughts about this?

    • #38 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 14, 2014 - 2:53 pm

      The problem is it’s apples and oranges; elastic goods versus inelastic. There is only so much people are willing to pay for a novel, but a concert ticket? Authors (NF mainly) who do training and speaking might cross over into the concert parallel, but a novelist? I don’t see it. We have to earn our money the old-fashioned way :D .

      • #39 by Heather on April 14, 2014 - 3:04 pm

        Yes. Just because there is an industry parallel between music and writing and the technological changes doesn’t mean the model to come out of it translates. Better books will spread by word of mouth.

  30. #40 by Jane Sadek on April 14, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    Great post Kristen, you keep me going.

  31. #41 by billyraychitwood1 on April 14, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    No digital tomatoes from here, Kristen. You speak not with a forked tongue but with truth to wrap the mind around and accept. With eleven good books (he says with haughty humility!) I’ve been trying now for three years to build some sort of social media presence with a ‘pass it on/feel good’ tickle after the last laptop click of the day… What embarrasses me is that most of my business life was spent in Sales and Marketing (pretty good at it, too!) – and it takes me three years to figure out what you so perfectly outline in your blog. I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time on the social networks, have made some good friends around the globe, tweeters extraordinaire and folks I truly believe care about me and my books… Certainly, I care about them. In just the past few weeks I’ve decided to get back to my twelfth book, continue on with my weekly blog posts, and give this tired old body and mind of mine a better sunset pace… Here in Twilight the writing is the thing, the process, the great joy that comes with stringing words together that might just say something just a few tads above the mundane – something from the heart that might give a clue as to my real self… Your blog gives weight to my decision to cut back on long SN business. So, thanks to Eden Baylee for telling me about your blog – it was well worth the read, and I’ll be following you… You will be linked! AND, that’s a good thing!
    Incidentally, my weekly blog, http://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com consists of flash fiction, musings about emotions, writing, the state of mother earth plus our very own nation, and potpourri guaranteed NOT to please everyone… Hope you can visit – maybe even follow.
    Best wishes,
    Billy Ray (Ever know an author not long-winded???)

  32. #42 by Rachel Funk Heller on April 14, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    Aloha Kristen, thank you so much for reminding everyone that social media is ALL ABOUT BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. And as for the article you were talking about, I saw it and can’t find it again either (weird) but my take away is I’m hoping that now all those authors who are human spam will finally leave twitter and go back to whatever. Thank you darling xoxox

  33. #43 by CindySheaNH on April 14, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    Thanks for this. Our small writing group was just discussing which social media platforms to use and who found what useful. One writer didn’t believe in using any social media, though she is a self confessed ‘old lady.’ Another writer writes under a pen name and has a Facebook and website dedicated to her alter ego. We even have one writer whose main character has her own Facebook page.

    Right now I just use my blog and a Twitter account, but as you say, social media takes time…time better spent writing. Balancing it all can be hard.

  34. #44 by CindySheaNH on April 14, 2014 - 3:00 pm

    Reblogged this on At Home in New Hampshire and commented:
    The writers group I belong to was just discussing the use of social media as a writer. This is a great post by Kristen Lamb on selling books and social media. Enjoy!

  35. #45 by Lynne Cantwell on April 14, 2014 - 3:04 pm

    Great stuff. I love it when you compare social media marketing to Amway (“First, sign up all your friends…”). :D

  36. #46 by ontyrepassages on April 14, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    So, what you’re telling me is that when I blog about cats placing subliminal messages in the post won’t help? ;) Shoot! Before I know it you’ll be telling me I have to write a book and then another book. This is a brutal business. H’m, I wonder what the record is for tweets per minute? lol

  37. #47 by Elke Feuer on April 14, 2014 - 3:19 pm

    What a great post, Kristen! I love what you said about connection with the author as a person. I love book signings! I’ve met great authors and made friends while doing them. People signed up for my newsletter and gave my bookmarks to their friends and family. A majority of my sales come from people who’ve met me in person and told others.

    I enjoy meeting and chatting with people!

  38. #48 by Lasheda Harper on April 14, 2014 - 3:23 pm

    The power of social media should not be underestimated. The truth is, as a global society, we have moved toward a tech-frenzy world, where just about everyone has access to the internet, a smart-phone, or a tablet. With that being said, there is a reason why Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media company that ends with “.com” exist–for business. These websites are companies in themselves that allow businesses promote their products or services to their online community. That is why there are ads on both Facebook and Twitter popping up on the side of your computer screen. Businesses pay for those spots to get more exposure to the billions of people checking their news feed every single day. So, in a nutshell, social media does work to sell whatever it is you want.

  39. #49 by suesconsideredtrifles on April 14, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    Your telephone menu made me laugh out loud. Social media can be very time-consuming, but that doesn’t stop networking from being important. Excuse me , while I go away and think about this! Sue

  40. #50 by bookishashlee on April 14, 2014 - 4:02 pm

    Awesome points, as usual, Kristen :) Thanks!

  41. #51 by Rii the Wordsmith on April 14, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Thanks for this post – helps me to feel better about my blog as an effort to carve myself a space in this digital world. I started my blog because writers at a writer symposium mentioned that publishers expect writers to pull their weight in getting the book sold, too – and a great way to do that was to build a following, using things like blogs. They recommended other stuff, too, but they highlighted the need for a community. A solid community. And they did point out that one should start NOW because of the time factor.

    …I’m glad to know that even if studies that you can’t find say otherwise, it IS an important factor. Thank you for the confidence boost.

  42. #52 by Kristen Luciani on April 14, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    Great post! I’m still trying to navigate the social media aspect of this business. It always seems to suffer because I’d rather be writing and if I only have an hour, I simply prioritize. Writing becomes top. But that’s bad because then I’m not building relationships. Hopefully my books will be so fantastic that they will sell themselves once word gets out! Lol!

  43. #53 by Kate Sparkes on April 14, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    “Are these people tweeting or ovulating?”

    My keyboard does not thank you for the tea-shower, but I thank you for the laugh!

    This all makes so much sense to me. I want to shake my head at the “#BuyMyBook #OhPlease #SomebodyValidateMe” tweets that some people tweet every hour on the hour, every day. They DON’T WORK. Sure, I’ll click through if a promo tweet comes from someone I like/have a relationship with, and I’ll be happy to do it. But straight-up selling 24/7 makes me mute or unfollow. It also makes me want to throw a copy of your book at their heads to knock some sense into them, but that’s just not possible.

    • #54 by Jan E Ryder on April 15, 2014 - 3:35 am

      My fave phrase too, Kate. Still laughing at that one. I always enjoy, and learn from, Kristen’s posts.

  44. #55 by marsharwest on April 14, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Good post, Kristen. I keep hearing people say you should use one of those things that handles your tweets, and I always remember you saying SM is about relationships. The “things” that manage seem to fly in the face of that, so I’m glad to hear you reiterate the thought again. Does it take a lot of time, yes, especially when you’re learning. I’m better than I was, but still spend too much time with Twitter, FB and blogs. But I’ve always been a chatty Katha sort of person. My fault, not the media. I’m working on the timer thing, to get back to the book, which is where I’m going after sharing this on FB and Twitter.

  45. #56 by literaryliason on April 14, 2014 - 4:39 pm

    Love this. I wish your friend could remember where she got the info from. I think social media and blogs can sell books, contrary to what the article says. My sister has purchased a dozen books because she saw them on a blog or from a twitter account. I think the main use for social networking as an author is building a platform. You have to promote every way you can. After all, publishing a book without marketing is like having a birthday party and not sending invitations.

    • #57 by Kylie Betzner on April 14, 2014 - 9:32 pm

      Hi, sis!

      I have bought quite a few books that way. There is one series going around the blogosphere right now, and I did buy it after seeing the pretty cover so many times. It certainly is one way of marketing, though I can see it’s limitations as Kristen pointed out.

      Great post!

  46. #58 by netraptor001 on April 14, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    *applause* A nice lady named Terri Main wrote a little ebook about ways to actually sell your book–you just let Amazon do it for you. Since if someone is on Amazon, they’re already looking for a book to buy. You just have to get it in front of them. I’m much happier using the STORES to SELL STUFF than by screaming stuff on social media. I’ll show off a new cover or something, but spamvertising just makes me feel dirty.

  47. #59 by lisawhitefern on April 14, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    The fact is that if you are small potatoes like most of us, you can literally see how social media improves your sales in minor ways. It’s minor but it adds up. Amazon is clever…as an author published with an actual publisher I don’t have access to my sales data. All I have is novel rank. The fact that Amazon provides novel rank for those of us with publishers means I’m more likely to promote my amazon page just because I can kind of see if my social networking is having any impact.by looking at how I’m doing on Amazon.

  48. #60 by shawn m on April 14, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    But I pressed #0 at the beginning to direct dial AND I didnt forget the anniversary.

  49. #61 by lisawhitefern on April 14, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    I mean I don’t have access to my sales data until I get my royalty statements.

  50. #62 by Dan on April 14, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    Great blog post! I was just contemplating that at my web site for my authors, http://www.andhowtoget it.com as well as our Twitter and FB-NO WAIT!! DON’T GO THERE! STOP! Word of mouth…word of mouth…word of mouth…Just Keep Repeating it…Festivus for the Rest of Us…Lol!

  51. #63 by kyrabelan on April 14, 2014 - 5:16 pm

    Kristen:
    I am a fan of your book, the Rise of the Machines. I do have a Facebook and a twitter accounts, but wonder if it is something new for twitter to charge a range of fees to promote your business, that is to acquire large mount of followers. After reading your article, I question the validity of paying for twitter even more. what do you think?

  52. #65 by Doré Bak on April 14, 2014 - 5:20 pm

    Another helpful article. Thank you. What about the gal or fellow who wants to use a pen name and not for any nefarious motive? How do they use social media when they wish to remain anonymous? Thanks again.

  53. #67 by Damian Trasler on April 14, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Still no magic formula, eh? Damn.

    I kinda hope there’s somebody in a basement somewhere, mixing loads of potions together and pouring it onto unsold manuscripts… You know, just in case….

  54. #68 by Susan Bernhardt on April 14, 2014 - 5:54 pm

    This was very informative. Thank you. I’ve always heard that social media was more for building relationships. Still trying to figure SM out. I’m so happy that I enjoy writing mysteries. I feel for authors who need to make a living writing.

    Susan Bernhardt

  55. #69 by Deborah Makarios on April 14, 2014 - 5:59 pm

    “tweeting or ovulating?”
    Now there’s a hideous train of thought leaving the station – salesmen spawning parasitic buy-commands in the head of anyone who makes the mistake of looking at Twitter in the darkness of the Golden Hour.
    Anybody got some disinfectant for my mind’s eye?

  56. #70 by sharonhughson on April 14, 2014 - 6:17 pm

    Building a platform is hard work and I have to admit I’m trying to follow your plan and still not seeing flashy results (like follows and shares). Most of the time I’d rather be writing my books.
    Then there are days like today when I slept horribly and after cleaning three bathrooms, running on the treadmill and going to the bank, the Brandon Sanderson novel won out over producing my own words.
    Hopefully I will get my butt kicked by your inspiring post earlier tomorrow.

  57. #71 by kawaneehamilton on April 14, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Kawanee's Korner and commented:
    At first I was unhappy and a bit discouraged because as a writer I have to say there’s a LOT of marketing plans out there that people get paid to create and there’s sooooo much conflicting information. Do this! Don’t do that!!!

    UGH!!!! I’m chasing my tail and spinning my wheels but going nowhere. I created a blog and a facebook page as well as many other social medias to help promote my books. Not even 1 book that has sold was due to that hard work. ANNOYING!!! I could’ve been writing!

    So as I read through the post I realized she was right. It isn’t that social media is a waste of time, it is just not a viable or reliable way to sell books. So don’t hang all your hopes on it…. I get that.

    It is a way to build hype for established authors and their books; to help build fan bases and get feedback from other writers and to seem approachable. To get encouragement maybe.

  58. #72 by Skye Callahan on April 14, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Skye Callahan and commented:
    This is a great piece on marketing that any Indie author should take some time and read. Remember to focus on relationships, not sales.

  59. #73 by Linda Maye Adams, Soldier, Storyteller on April 14, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    I think the problem is that social media has been sold to desperate writers as a “silver bullet.” Just self-publish the book and tweet the heck out of it, and “they will come.” No one mentions things like having a good story, or being in the correct genre. You can be the liveliest person on Twitter, but if your read looks a book you’ve billed as a “fantasy action-adventure thriller” and it’s a fantasy mystery, you’re going to win any bonus points. But everyone tends to blame social media for their problems, not that the story might be the culprit.

  60. #74 by dtkrippene on April 14, 2014 - 6:57 pm

    Spot on as always, Kristen. Social media is one ingredient in a cocktail, lots of “bartending schools” for money if one is so inclined. If I’ve learned anything, is how much I like writing articles for the website. After all, it’s all about the writing.

  61. #75 by Ronnie Strong on April 14, 2014 - 7:07 pm

    Time for me to get writing again. Marketing, in all its forms, is time and energy consuming and the return is slow. I have had some limited success with advertising, but only after much futile effort so overall I have to agree on that point. What I think it all boils down is to having an excellent product that sells itself,a really good read; so, back to writing.

  62. #76 by LIsa on April 14, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    Very thoughtful post. And I will say that there is an author I discovered recently only because she followed me on Twitter. After that I got curious to see what she was writing and found out that it interested me. I read her book and loved it but would never have known about her if not for Twitter.

  63. #77 by April Wood on April 14, 2014 - 7:44 pm

    I understand what you mean. Some authors pretty much SPAM the twitter feed with requests to buy their book, in some form or another. Being a book blogger, I have numerous authors that I follow. I don’t think I ever scroll down the feed because of this “spam”.

  64. #78 by M T McGuire on April 14, 2014 - 10:25 pm

    I was reading recently about the idea that you should just aim to find 1,000 people who love your stuff and get to know them on a personal level. And that if you have a personal relationship with these readers that should be all it takes to earn a living as a writer. I love the idea of having meaningful relationships with a small and loyal group of fans you can interact with. I’m guessing that if you do that the rest takes care of itself anyway.

    Cheers

    MTM

  65. #79 by A Writer With Something To Say on April 15, 2014 - 12:43 am

    I do feel that authors rely on social media for sales. I just recently realized that it’s about forming relationships instead of sales. I don’t just write books, I write screenplays, write for TV and more. So, forming relationships for me has gotten easier. But, the spam on social media with Indie authors posting their amazon and BN links is getting tiresome.

  66. #80 by A Writer With Something To Say on April 15, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Reblogged this on The Krystol Meth(od) and commented:
    I think all writers should read this. It’s about forming relationships on social media, not trying to make sales on social media.

  67. #81 by naomiharvey on April 15, 2014 - 1:15 am

    I follow a lot of writers on Twitter. I do it because I want to learn from them and read their stuff. Make friends with other noob writers like me. To have someone to push me to write each night when I’m tired and just want to sleep. But my twitter feed is crammed full of “Buy this book. It’s AMAZING! Oh yeah, and I wrote it and I’m totally biased so really my opinion can’t be trusted.” Great. Thanks. I will never be one of those people. It seems kind of obvious you don’t sell your books on twitter etc. Like a previous commenter, I am on twitter to make connections because I am at the beginning of my writing journey. I don’t understand why anyone would use it for anything else. And no, I have never bought any book I have seen touted on twitter. It’s not working people!

  68. #82 by Wendy Jones on April 15, 2014 - 3:02 am

    Food for thought as always. As always the key us to know people and to relate to them. As a reader one thing that puts me off an author is when they are trying to sell all the time on social media. It very often smacks of desperation. As an author I can understand why they are doing it and feel sorry for them. If an author takes the time to meet with me in a virtual sense then I am more likely to buy a book if they let people know the book is out. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Great advice.

  69. #83 by bardotbarbiturate on April 15, 2014 - 4:43 am

    Completely agree. Social media is about building relationships, not selling. If those relationships make people curious enough to buy your book then great but a large percentage of those who follow you will only want to commit to your status updates/tweets/blog. Believing otherwise is flogging an unrealistic horse. I haven’t started on social media in respect of my writing as yet, I’d prefer to wait until I’ve finished my first draft.

  70. #84 by J. Martin on April 15, 2014 - 4:49 am

    Where can I get the answering machine for my DH? Thanks for the morning laugh and insight. I know i am a dinosaur but I don’t even see the ads popping the corner of the page anymore and only read my favorite blogs when I have a spare minute.(?)

  71. #85 by Harliqueen on April 15, 2014 - 5:11 am

    I agree, when I see lots of things on twitter and facebook announcing books for sale and it’s over and over again, I’m less likely to buy a book. Where as if someone takes the time to interact with me through social media sites, or if I know them through an online presence, I’m more likely to pick up their book.

    Great post :)

  72. #86 by AGentleandQuietSpirit on April 15, 2014 - 5:42 am

    It’s always great to be reminded to focus on relationships! We managed our boutiques this way and found it to be very effective. :-)

  73. #87 by Jan E Ryder on April 15, 2014 - 6:15 am

    This is a timely and uplifting post for me, Kristen. 15 months ago I was a naive and newbie self-pub fiction author. I took all the “expert” advice out there. I promoted my first book all day, every day on Twitter to the point of exhaustion (my apols to the commenters on this thread if any of you were on the receiving end of that deluge – I didn’t know any better at the time). A month ago I sat back and thought it through. With greater experience of the business I realised that if I’d not spent so much time promoting book one, my second novel would be published by now. My promotional efforts were having little result. Any sales made were coming from personal contact and via word of mouth. In effect I wasted good writing time. There are plusses. I found that I enjoy chatting to people online and forming friendships. I also enjoy writing posts for my blog and interacting with the readers who leave comments. Backing off from constant book promotion has had one huge plus for me – a drop in my anxiety levels. More importantly, I’ve returned to writing for several hours a day.

  74. #88 by Wendy Jones on April 15, 2014 - 6:39 am

    Kirsten your blog gave me inspiration to write my own. Have linked to your blog. Thank you once again. Link to my post which includes your link http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/social-media-book-signings-why-neither-directly-impact-overall-sales/

  75. #89 by SwordBearer on April 15, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Reblogged this on moniquerockliffe and commented:
    Another fascinating blog by one of my favourite bloggers! What is your take on whether social media sells books or not? With all of us trying so hard to get seen it becomes a hugely debatable subject. What are your opinions?

  76. #90 by Wendy Jones on April 15, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Sorry Kirsten I am using a brand new laptop so struggling to copy and paste. Here is the correct link. If I knew ho to delete my previous comment I would have done so http://wendyhjones-bookaholic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/how-do-authors-reach-out-to-readers.html

  77. #91 by Kelly Roberts on April 15, 2014 - 7:13 am

    I’d love to get into the heads, or bookshelves (digital or not), of the authors who think hundreds of “buy my book” tweets, posts, etc. will actually work. I vacillate between being annoyed by that junk and feeling sorry for them. All I learn about them is they have a book to sell, and that’s not much and certainly not enough for me to buy their book. I think next time I should consider sending them a link to ROM.

  78. #92 by Suzan Butler on April 15, 2014 - 9:11 am

    You know I’ve been saying this for years (and we’ve probably had lots of discussions on it in the past too, LOL). It’s all about the relationships. No one is going to buy anything from an automated feed that never responds to them. I hate when people debate the validity of social media based on “where the readers are” because nobody knows that for sure. Unfortunately, a lot of authors are still marketing-ignorant about what does work and aren’t willing to put the time in to learn. Personally, I just do social media for fun. And if people buy from what I post, great, but that’s not why i do it. I’d still do it even if I weren’t an author. And I think people who are uncomfortable with it should maybe not be on there, since it’s likely they won’t comprehend how social media works and get frustrated from the lack of results.

  79. #93 by Karen Lynne Klink on April 15, 2014 - 9:26 am

    Oh, Kristen Maven, you love hearing from us, and I love hearing from you. Did you know 500 words is supposed to be the ideal size for a blog? I know, you’re buzzing on that caffeine, again. What would we writers do without you and your buzz? Thanks for another spot-on great one.

  80. #94 by Maryann Miller (@maryannwrites) on April 15, 2014 - 10:54 am

    Enjoyed the blog post, as always. I tweeted a couple of quotes that resonated with me.

    It was fun seeing the pictures of the kiosks. I remember eons ago – in the early 90’s when my first e-book was published, the publisher was sure those kiosks were going to be in every shopping mall within 5 years, LOL It has taken much longer, and will take even longer for them to be widespread across the country.

  81. #95 by jodiwriterJ on April 15, 2014 - 11:21 am

    This has been a hot topic for my writing group for about a year now. Why social media can be a time suck, dwindling precious writing time. Love how thorough your post is. I can’t wait to share it with my writing pals next week.

  82. #96 by Ron Estrada on April 15, 2014 - 11:28 am

    From what I can tell, the really successful authors, even the new breed of indie authors, spend little time on social media. What they do is write. And keep writing. Volume seems to be the key. And maybe even good writing. The social network is your best friend when you write a good book and other people talk about it. Not you. In fact, when I join a group of book lovers on facebook or twitter or Goodreads, and I see nothing but one sales pitch after another from overzealous authors, I get turned off. Let other people sell your books. That’s the one constant throughout literary history. Word of mouth (or word of tweet) sells books, not great social networking skills.

  83. #97 by kimhandysides on April 15, 2014 - 1:04 pm

    Great post Kristen. My theory is writing isn’t harder now than it was in the old days. Prior to the electronic age, people had to type by Underwood, or by hand! That took a long time! Now our extra time is used on social media. Like Rosana Rosanadana used to say, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” :)

  84. #98 by Michael McDonagh on April 15, 2014 - 1:12 pm

    Very well put. There is a difference between “marketing” and “sales” that everyone in the business world knows without thinking twice. Social medial is a horrible sales tool (and I hate reading things from people who treat it like one). It’s a fine marketing tool, though.

  85. #99 by J.D. Faulkner (@wordydreamer) on April 15, 2014 - 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the great blog post. Can’t wait to read ROM.

  86. #100 by authors promotion on April 15, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    Hi,this is a great article so I will reblog on Authors PR Literary Lounge.How many times I will be put in the hat?:)

  87. #101 by authors promotion on April 15, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    Reblogged this on AuthorsPR Literary Lounge.

  88. #102 by Raani York on April 15, 2014 - 5:04 pm

    Thank you for excellent advice Kristen. Really – I figure once my book is in the open and out – I need to re-read your entire blog from the very beginning. :-)

  89. #103 by Charlie Sheldon on April 15, 2014 - 5:43 pm

    I enjoy your comments and articles, and liked this one about social media, which to this dinosaur is something terrifying and horrible and utterly demanding but thankfully not consuming. I know writers must do it, I know it helps with the “brand” and as a geezer new at this I made a web page at http://charliesheldon2.com/ which is new and has hardly any readers or followers but where, I have found, I have fun pasting and writing things of interest to me, and hopefully others, but that’s up to them. I enjoy telling tales and I loathe the selling of same, they use different parts of my tiny brain, but I hate even more making small talk with strangers. Its easier to type into a blog, no? Now if I knew how to paste your blog link on mine I would, and I will try after this note, but this is something I fear way above my pay grade.

  90. #104 by Yvonne on April 16, 2014 - 6:03 am

    Wow! This post is – all I can think of is a ton of clichés, all of them good – breath of fresh air, awesome. The automated message for the husband really shows what’s so lacking in much of the interaction on social media. And I loved your points to the CIA person on that panel. We can’t often depict our own behaviour, let alone anyone else’s.

    There’s so much in here to digest that I will need to reread it a few times. Most of all I find your message reassuring. Sounds like it’s best to forget about selling and make real connections, which is a much more enjoyable approach.

  91. #105 by enissa on April 16, 2014 - 9:06 am

    Thank you for such an important and informative post. I appreciate all the advice you give me. After reading this I thought..If you are honest, genuine, real and connect with people, via social media it will come back to you tenfold. I never want to be that person that goes on twitter just to post “I have the best ten lifesaving tips in finding true love!” and then to disappear in the blogosphere like who the hell do I think I am?… I am no expert! So, social media is one avenue…a small piece of the pie. And connecting, telling people who you are and being genuine, well to me that’s the larger piece.Thank you because I will continue to be true to others:) like you are with us!

  92. #106 by enissa on April 16, 2014 - 9:07 am

    Oh and by the way, Your’e awesome!

  93. #108 by Tyrean Martinson on April 16, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    Thank you! I started my blog because I wanted a way to potentially connect with readers who liked the short stories and poems I was getting published online. I had noticed little clickable links and followed them to compliment authors I liked, so I thought it would be cool to have one of those too. Since then, I had some crazy days where I’ve tried the “marketing” craze on my blog . . . and that just frustrated me, and probably my blog buddies too. Time to get back to the basics – blog because it’s fun and stay away when it isn’t. :)

  94. #109 by Bill Blume on April 16, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    Kristen, I found this post both frustrating and strangely inspiring. Definitely helped me put my social media efforts as a writer in perspective. Thank you.

  95. #110 by ferrariforlife on April 16, 2014 - 7:16 pm

    After (yes, after) self-publishing a non-fiction book a few years ago, I did the whole “twitter, blogging, guest blogging, leaving comments on blogs and comments on articles” thing for about a year. Did I sell any books doing that? A few, but in the end, it was more about being part of a community that seemed to be more interested in what I had to say about what they wrote than my book. Now I’m writing fiction and not looking forward to having to be social in another community. Do I really have to? Do I? Grrrr. I don’t want to belong – I just want people to BUY my book. If I just want readers, I can give it away for free. My free mobile app download counts are in the ten of thousands. Thanks for your article.

  96. #111 by kabeam on April 18, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    “For those who want a paper copy to hold…and get NACHOS!”

    Awesome, I love books, and Nachos! lol

  97. #112 by Mark Fine on April 18, 2014 - 7:29 pm

    This is new to me, sometimes overeager and sometimes tentative. BUT, I;m already reaping the rewards of the “give and take” of Social Media. After a long solitary effort writing my book [I'm sure we've all been there] it has been a godsend to be able to reach out to “strangers” for advice, guidance, and the odd kick-in-the-pants! And it has delighted me to be able to reciprocate in kind. What’s more, the input of these “strangers” [or virtual friends, as I now like to consider them] is inherently more honest than friends and relations whom wish to please. So for me the upside of social media is already tremendous…as I no longer feel isolated in writer’s tower.

  98. #113 by Mark Fine on April 18, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    P.S. I would be delighted to link your blog to mine but, alas, I don’t know yet how to do it? I’m on blogger, if anyone can direct me I’d be grateful. Thanks :)

  99. #114 by chell444 on April 19, 2014 - 1:43 am

    Thank you for your thought provoking article. A year ago as I was preparing to self-publish my first book, I read everything I could about marketing. I realized I would be spending more time reading, blogging, and posting than I would be writing my next book. Instead, I decided to promote within my circle (friends, family, and FaceBook) and not worry about sales. I used my networking skills and landed two book clubs and two book signings within the first three months. I’ve already had one company publish a blog interview and I have high hopes for a radio interview within the next couple of months.

    I agree – more books and good books is the key to success. There are many authors whose books I hadn’t touched up until they had five or six books published, such as The Harry Potter series. So for now, I plan to finish the next couple of books in my series before I spend a ton of money on advertising and a lot of time on promotion. Best of luck to everyone who is starting out and to those already published. My best advice is do something every single day that will move you forward to accomplishing your goals.

  100. #115 by kimhandysides on April 19, 2014 - 8:50 am

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I met Kristen at an online writer’s conference she organizes—WANA Con (which is fantastic by the way). Author of “Blog are You Out There, It’s Me Writer”, among others, had to share the great post she wrote this week about the value of Social Media.

  101. #116 by Jenny Bravo (@BlotsandPlots) on April 20, 2014 - 8:32 am

    Amazing post! These days writers need to be more than writers. We have to be marketers and social media experts and entrepreneurs and of course, real people.

    Jenny
    http://www.blotsandplots.com

  102. #117 by admin on April 20, 2014 - 10:14 am

    It’s not going to work if you simply post something about your book in the social media and that’s it. Maybe that’s what they are talking about, but in my experience, Twitter seems to be leading the sales and I have recently had 3 authors become Amazon bestsellers and more about to do the same thing. There probably needs to be an article about how to use the social networks the right way but again in my experience we’re having great luck with sales and making authors bestsellers.

  103. #118 by sbjamestheauthor on April 20, 2014 - 10:46 am

    Reblogged this on S B James and commented:
    Social media for enhancement of the reader experience and NOT a marketing tool…Feels so right to me! Thank you, great as always Kristen!

  104. #119 by Dean K Miller on April 20, 2014 - 8:18 pm

    If you are going to sail the ship, you still have to get on board the darn thing. How many “experts” are needed to row the boat? Only one, if you want to go in circles…which many do in the social media/book signing/marketing world. It is about exposure and can be beneficial or not (ask the sailor with a sunburn.)

    I believe in the “relationship” aspect. Call it platform or what have you. Word of mouth, more books (especially good books) is king….or Queen, since you’ve already said that!

  105. #120 by Dean K Miller on April 20, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Dean K Miller and commented:
    More good stuff from Kristen…

  106. #121 by Pamela A. Oberg on April 21, 2014 - 9:00 am

    Reblogged this on stonecreekwriting.

  107. #122 by Peg Hubbard on April 21, 2014 - 5:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! As a new author, I find myself at times feeling overwhelmed by the social media demands. Now, my book copies are on their way to me, and I’m trying to get a few book signings set up. I agree — I won’t sell hundreds of books that way, but I will get a chance to connect with both readers and the folks who work in the book stores. Looking forward to it….

  108. #123 by J.E. Taylor on April 21, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Social media is a place to build a brand – get some visibility – and the most important point you made above – connect with people.

    It’s the poor author’s book signing circuit. :)

    Thanks for the entertaining and enlightening information.

  109. #124 by Peg Hubbard on April 21, 2014 - 6:24 pm

    Featured your blog on mine! Thank you for this topic — It helped me with Shifting Perspectives! Check it out at:
    http://www.peghubbard.com/blog.html

  110. #126 by doctorkennedy on April 23, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Footprints.

  111. #127 by Kevin Singer on April 23, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    I’ve been playing around with what feels comfortable and so far twitter doesn’t do much for me, but I’ve enjoyed blogging about pop cultural things that interest me. I try to keep it entertaining for the readers. If I can talk about my writing in that context, fine. If not, that’s fine too. I like — and agree with — your take that this is a long-term project about building community as well as a platform

  112. #128 by patriciaawoods2013 on April 23, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    This is another great post for us. Right now I’m a bit leary about social media because it feels exhausting. However, I’ll take the long view that ultimately the time and work will pay off. Thank you again for your support.

  113. #129 by patriciaawoods2013 on April 23, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Patricia Woods.

  114. #130 by @hell4heather on April 29, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Absolutely awesome post that tickled me more than a bit. My own thoughts are this: There are TOO MANY people out there selling an idea that social media marketing is much harder and more complex than it is. And the truth is, it was never about direct selling. Never, as in, not even before social media. The most powerful selling tool on earth always has been word of mouth – a phenomena that happens everyday in social circles. So, talk about other people that you admire, chat about the weather, blog about falling off a treadmill on your @rse but never ever ask me to buy your book. If you make me laugh, I like you or someone who’s opinion I respect likes you, I’ll buy your book.

  115. #131 by Claudia H Gruy on June 24, 2014 - 4:37 am

    My basic believe lies in that writing itself is a form of relationship building. First we draw readers to our characters – we hope – and via them they connect with us because we all year for those crazy people to become true. And let’s face it – the best story is nothing if I can’t tell anybody how great it was – we were built to interact and we want to know someone real is behind!

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