Social Media is a Waste of Time for Writers—Hmmm, Think Again

Image courtesy of cellardoorfilms WANA Commons...

Image courtesy of cellardoorfilms WANA Commons…

We’ve been talking a lot about social media lately and I am always grateful for your comments and thoughts. This kind of feedback not only helps me improve my blog, but my also books, because I get a glimpse of your worries, weaknesses, fears, loves, and strengths.

As a teacher/mentor/expert, it’s my job to address those fears and put you at ease or reinforce when you’re headed the right direction and give you tools and tips to take what you’re doing to another level.

There’ve been some comments that have piqued my attention lately. Namely this notion to give up on social media completely to write more books (out of vexation for the medium and the task).

Oh-kay….

Social Media is a TOTAL Waste of Time

Write more books instead of tweeting or blogging. Social media is a giant time-suck better spent writing great books.

I don’t know how to answer this besides, Er? *screeching breaks* Personally, I can think of no larger waste of time than researching and reading and spending countless hours crafting a wonderful book of 60,000-110,000 words and then?

No one knows the book exists so few people ever read it, enjoy it or are changed by the author’s story.

It’s like spending six months to a year on an oil painting to hang it in an attic.

 

These days, any agent worth their salt will not sign an author who doesn’t have a social media brand and presence. Rarely, they will take a book from an author who doesn’t…but usually it will come with the requirement the author get on-line and get to work.

I ADORE Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary and once shared a panel with her. She told the story of a book she LOVED and took even though the author wasn’t on social media. She was so impressed with the book she signed the author but told her she needed to get on social media and start building a platform.

After six months, the author refused. Dawn gave an ultimatum. Get your tail on social media or we drop the book and cancel the contract.

Myth-Busting

It used to be that an author who wanted to completely avoid social media went traditional. Well, traditional publishing has now seen the value of social media and almost all of them require it. They require it even if they allot budgeting for marketing. Why? Because social media helps them gain a FAR greater ROI on the marketing dollars spent.

How?

I’ll give an example. I once read a traditionally published craft book that changed my life. At the time, my platform had grown fairly large and I’ve worked very hard to create a solid reputation for recommending only the best resources. I tried to contact the author not only to promote the book, but to get this author to present our conference (which sells A LOT of books).

The web site was an outdated clumsy mess and the contact e-mail at the bottom was no longer any good. The author wasn’t on FB or Twitter and I think I finally located this writer—of all places—on LinkedIn. Four months later the author replied, but by then the window of opportunity had closed.

I was…vexed.

 

Additionally, since I’d had such a bear of a time connecting to the author, I wasn’t going to recommend this tedious experience to others.

Publishers have since recognized this problem and they want to remove as much friction from a potential sale as possible. Their goal is not only to sell a book but to captivate and cultivate a FAN who will buy that book, the next and the next. This is simply smart business.

Though I’m not a huge fan of ads, it makes sense that if a publisher (traditional or indie) is going to pay good money to create and launch one, that anyone interested should be able to easily connect with the author. Same with coveted AP reviews, interviews, or events. Even if we self-publish and pay for promotion, an existing platform will make the most of that investment.

A LOT of any sales is the follow up then the follow-through.

If social media is new, scary, overwhelming? Welcome to being NEW. Most of us start like this…

 

Social Media is for the CONSUMER

I come from a background in sales. Cardboard. Not glamourous but everyone uses it. Being the cheapest or mailing out flyers or calling non-stop was not what sold my product over other choices.

And trust me, we had BEAUTIFUL ads. I also had competition offering a far cheaper product. They also had products virtually IDENTICAL to ours. But ads and price and even selection weren’t the major driving factor in sales.

Rather, it was the customer’s ability to quickly and easily connect with ME.

Maybe the company didn’t need corner board the day they met me. But then, that purchaser I’d spoken to in the spring signed a contract with a client in the autumn who wanted to ship truckloads of water heaters STAT. Water heaters that needed protection during shipping.

Because that purchaser had my personal cell number (back in the days when most salespeople didn’t have one and I paid for my OWN), guess who closed the sale?

Most salespeople didn’t want to pay out of pocket for a cell phone. They liked the old ways, the way business had always been done. Call the office. Leave a message with the receptionist, and then they’d return the call when they got back in off the road (which could be DAYS).

Even if the salesperson got the message once they checked into their hotels, it would be late in the evening. The earliest a customer could get an answer would be the next day.

Me? They talked to the minute the idea flitted across their brains (or within the hour if I was in a meeting).

It cost me $400 a month of my own money to have a cell phone with enough minutes. Back then, 2000 minutes a month was the max one could buy in a package, but I had a nine-state territory and also all of northern Mexico and believed it was a wise investment.

Work smarter, not harder….

 

I put out my own effort and money to make it easier for a customer to find and connect with me instantly. I didn’t have to. But it sure made that $2.5 million a year quota a lot easier to meet. Of ALL the cardboard reps vying for the SAME SALE, I was the one who was Johnny on the Spot to solve a problem. I was the one they could dial and get an almost-instant response and solution.

Though cardboard and novels are different products, that tether of personal connection is powerful.

A large number of agents, especially those at the prestigious agencies, will not even consider a query if they can’t google our name and see we’ve been working to at least connect and begin cultivating a community that can become readers.

But now many authors are going indie or self-publishing. Indie houses I can guarantee will likely ignore anyone who doesn’t want to be on social media. Those who self-publish? WE ARE THE PUBLISHER. What responsible publisher with a hint of business acumen ignores any kind of interaction and follow-up with potential customers (readers)?

It reminds me of the cardboard salesmen who didn’t want a cell phone. They’d missed the point that their job was to serve the customer’s schedule and needs, not the other way around.

Golf is NOT Golf and Dinner is NOT Dinner

Hubby and I had an interesting debate a few days ago. He kinda turned his nose up about wining and dining and entertaining clients (we have two small businesses). But Hubby has spent most of his professional life as a procurement person and is a long-lost cousin of Mr. Spock.

But then I explained that those off-site relaxed endeavors were actually investments in relationships and even friendships. When I took customers to lunch, I never talked business. I wanted to know (genuinely) about their wives, kids, or hobbies and let them have some fun talking about the things they enjoyed. It was personal.

It’s far more important to be interested than interesting.

When I would call to follow up, I asked about how their son’s Little League game went or how the wife was and simply told them I’d be in the area during a certain time. Never asked for money or talked about cardboard.

I also never chastised them or was hurt if they bought from another source. I’d say, “Well, that was a smart business decision. Can’t blame you for being prudent. Just hope I am there to help you next time. You know how to reach me.”

Over time, because of the relaxed atmosphere, I found that customers gravitated to calling me because they knew me, could reach me, and rather enjoyed not being pitched to non-stop. They’d even pay more.

What was really cool was that certain customers eventually refused to deal with any other company but ours, no matter how cheap the competitor’s price. They would even recommend me (and my product) to other companies, because I ignored the ABCs (Always BE Closing) and trusted the power of relationships and consistency.

The same can be said for social media. Blasting spam and bargains and free stuff might work for a while and on a few people, but it doesn’t generate the long-term loyalty money can’t buy.

Sure, back in my cardboard days, it cost me time and money and effort. My hard work rarely paid off immediately and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t harshly criticized.

But, eventually, when customers had to choose between going to lunch with someone who jammed flyers and price lists in their faces, who never shut up talking about themselves and who insisted on a signature on the dotted line by the time the check came?

Versus me?

I was far less exhausting and annoying to deal with.

Social Media is NOT a Sales Pitch

Social media is like all those lunches or quick, relaxing trips to a driving range to just unwind and chat and become friends. People should know we have a book, just like all my cardboard customers had a fancy folder filled with all our products and a sample box.

But the product wasn’t my focus, people were.

To refuse to do social media would have been akin to me never traveling and sitting by the phone in my office hoping it would ring. That our cardboard would sell itself. I imagine I wouldn’t have lasted long.

To misuse social media is a formula for a customer (reader) to gravitate some place they don’t feel like prey. Social media used properly doesn’t take much time to do, but it will take time to grow roots.

Just like it only took five minutes for me to call a buyer, ask how his kids were and let him know I’d be in the area and ask if he and his receptionist would care to join me for a bite to eat. But, though it took minutes to make the invitation, it took months of care and authentic follow-up to build a foundation of trust that created a loyal customer.

Direct Sales is Almost Universally ANNOYING

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 11.38.06 AM

How many of you have gone to having a cell phone because the only people who called the landline were selling something? How many times have any of you said, “Sure, I’ll pay for that cruise right now” after getting a random phone call. Or, “Yes, sign my up for that credit protection plan. TAKE MY MONEY!”

How many times have you found a flyer on your windshield or front door and immediately called for that product or service? Or answered the spam in your e-mail with credit card in hand?

Think of this when using social media😉 . Relax, have fun and trust this is a process and a really fun one with the right attitude.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, 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).

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by Melinda Primrose on January 20, 2015 - 1:11 pm

    Hi Kristen,
    I definately agree that the spam sells pitch is annoying. I’ve stopped following some of my favorite authors on Twitter for that very reason. I think *every* author, indie or trad., big or small, should learn to connect with their readers. I know it gives me a thrill when an author interacts with me.
    I do have a question though. I’ve been on Twitter for a while now and still haven’t found a good way to connect with readers. Awesome authors are pretty easy to find. Selling to another author is a start, but I would imagine the ROI is less than what it would be with readers. Any advice on how to start connecting with readers?
    I’m so glad that you are willing to share your knowledge and aren’t a sells spammer!
    Melinda

  2. #3 by Mike Akins on January 20, 2015 - 1:17 pm

    Great article. I did a presentation on social media for my local writer’s group and it’s always great to read something that validates my own thinking.

    Thanks!

  3. #4 by lynettemirie on January 20, 2015 - 1:20 pm

    Love the encouragement and awesome education. Actually commenting on your blog is a way of getting my feet wet in preparation to dive deeper into social media. Thanks a million!

  4. #5 by shericonaway on January 20, 2015 - 1:20 pm

    I found your article both interesting and entertaining. You really hit the nail on the head about two things: being accessible and the unpleasantness of direct sales. This is definitely a blog I will add to those I follow.

  5. #6 by russtowne on January 20, 2015 - 1:22 pm

    EXCELLENT post!

  6. #8 by nkiru50 on January 20, 2015 - 1:26 pm

    Thank you I’m pretty new at this. But I know its necessary.

  7. #9 by newfsull on January 20, 2015 - 1:27 pm

    I have put a few years behind me – forty years in the accounting trade, worked for the Big Eight when they were the Big Eight, and now work a small accounting practice with my wife. The two of us have a standing feud with a few of my quirks: I never charge a client for a phone call, no matter how long the call. Should a client need a copy of a financial statement and/or tax return, I offer to personally deliver – no charge. Once a client is “on board” I give them my cell phone number and a promise to find them within 24 hours – usually an hour or two, as now and again a trip to the IRS might tie me up longer. I let every client know up front when something must turn into a billable situation (ie research etc.)

    I see all of the above as marketing; and often the contact leads to other billing opportunities not envisioned prior to the contact. My client base has been consistent and loyal for many, many years.

    I don’t have the ‘chops’ of a seasoned author just yet; but, I firmly believe your advise to maintain and feed a strong social contact with readers, without turning the event into spam. Of course, that is easier said than done, and a long road awaits me.

    I am most grateful for all the advice you give here, and I have learned much from your book on the matter. Being the old accountant that I am, I rarely turn to mentors. In this new, fast changing world of writing we need many.

  8. #10 by Linda Wichman on January 20, 2015 - 1:35 pm

    What a wonderful article and spot on with my own philosopy. I assisted 9 paper product sales reps for 8 yrs. My boss worked her territory the same way you did, being instantly available and always personable. If you’re ever in Northeast, Wisconisn–Appleton lunch is on me, girl.🙂

  9. #11 by Mr. Militant Negro on January 20, 2015 - 1:40 pm

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  10. #12 by lccooper on January 20, 2015 - 1:41 pm

    OK OK, you caught me.I justified focusing solely on writing, using the Darkside of social media is my excuse. After receiving so much spam and platitudes, I shied away from social media, having forgotten the value of relationship building and its objectives.
    After reading your post today, I am going to dust off all my social media sites and spend the rest of the day clicking on “forgot your password “links. Time to roll up the sleeves and balance all aspects of writing.
    Curse you for waking me up from my stupor.🙂

  11. #13 by eightdecades on January 20, 2015 - 1:43 pm

    Ok I get the social media value, I have a blog and am learning my way through, but I have read many articles on “why” social media, often yours as well, but so many sites are now doing just what you said and you know there is a salesperson attached to the finger on the doorbell. Twenty years ago a person wasn’t real unless they had handouts, support docs and flashy title cards, now it is social media and even though it isn’t transparent yet, it is still the personal relationship that is now being carried by a new format. It is really digital media wrapped in a “social” binder, still it is personal sales skills.
    Here is the part I get….Make it easy for people to see and find you and give you support.
    Here is the part I struggle with… I am not naturally social.
    Good content is useless unless it can be seen, I get that, but becoming “seen” is a hard hill for many of us.
    “Moan” It really comes down to whether one wishes to have a modern success…..so when in Rome…..
    Arrgggg!

    P.S. I still like your postings. I just don’t always like the truth.

  12. #14 by robin witt on January 20, 2015 - 1:47 pm

    Thanks for an interesting Blog post. You always find great example of how not to manage social media – very helpful for a rookie like me.
    I’m not very active with social media yet – from an author perspective, I felt like the right time to start looking for a publisher would be when I was finished with book on, 85% on book 2, and had a solid plot outlined for book 3, and the right time to get myself a facebook account would be maybe 2 years before I start looking for a publisher. When the time comes, I plan to have a author website as well as a twitter account, at a minimum. So please don’t take my question as some misguided notion that Linked In would substitute for these social media outlets.

    I’m not quite why the tone of this statement came out so negative :
    “I think I finally located this writer—of all places—on LinkedIn.”

    Is there something about linked in that you don’t like?
    When someone from a former job uses Linked in to message me, I get an alert immediately (there is NO excuse for waiting 4 months to respond to a message, regardless of how it was sent. If you put contact info out there on a personal website, then it needs to be correct, etc. The author in the example you gave above did a LOT of things wrong). But I don’t see why LinkedIn takes the hit for it, unless there is some problem with the site that you know about?

    For professionals to network with other professionals (not to connect to a potential audience or customers, but for an online professional presence) Linked in is almost the standard. At least, the last 3 consulting companies I worked for mentioned at some point that creating and maintaining a profile was expected of even mid level employees. Just curious.

    Again, thanks for the interesting post, and please put my name in the hat for that review.🙂

    • #15 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2015 - 5:13 pm

      Well, if it makes you feel any better, when I started social media, I didn’t know how to chat with people without offending them. Humor is often lost in typing. It stretched a lot of social muscled I DID NOT have.

      • #16 by LoboSolo on January 29, 2015 - 12:08 pm

        Yea, the sarcasm doesn’t always come thru! lol

  13. #17 by SJ Foster on January 20, 2015 - 2:03 pm

    It’s about connecting and relationships and I think that’s why most of us write at the heart of it. To connect with others. Social Media is exactly that. Social. I loved the post. I also have sales in my background and building relationships was the way I did it. I would hot desk at the offices for clients and managed to build relationships with so many future clients and my now employer by getting to know people. Be generous with your success, your time and your “honest” interest. It’s how social works and life too. Brilliant post!

  14. #18 by pattynicnac on January 20, 2015 - 2:23 pm

    It’s all about relationships!

  15. #19 by wendyannedarling on January 20, 2015 - 2:26 pm

    I had to laugh at the picture of Spock, Kristin! Can’t help believing that he stood by his captain because, deep down in his Vulcan heart, he knew that Kirk’s method of doing things brought about the desired results. Aaaand… talking of desired results, I have to say that I was so blessed to run across ‘Rise of the Machines.’ A little earlier would have been good, but if I had I wouldn’t have realized its importance so much. As it is, my poor little first born is sitting out there waiting for siblings and. when the second one arrives I have developed a whole lot more presence and followers who I am sure will be ready to cheer me as I hit the ground running.

  16. #20 by llkoch2014 on January 20, 2015 - 2:28 pm

    Great post, especially for a newby like me. I have so much to learn, and the great examples you gave helped make some sense of why this part of becoming a writer is important.

  17. #21 by Shea Ford on January 20, 2015 - 2:33 pm

    I think one of the hardest things to remember (at least for me) with social media, is balance. I get started on your tips and end up finding a distracting article. Before I know it, I’ve spent 3 hours on buzzfeed and have accomplished nothing. lol. I appreciate your blog posts though. I have to remember the next time I get sucked into inane articles, I would do much better to get sucked into your blog posts instead.😀

  18. #22 by mirymom on January 20, 2015 - 2:33 pm

    *Everything* is all about relationships. Humans are social animals. Relationships are slow-growing, organic, messy things. That’s where we run into trouble. People want to do one thing and have it boost their sales, not realizing that relationships are at least as time consuming as books. People who have been friendly to me once and then disappeared are not my friends. It takes a LOT of interactions to build that trust.

  19. #23 by Giana on January 20, 2015 - 2:34 pm

    Great post Kristen! I specially like your posts about social media because it’s something I’m new at and really need to learn. I actually had to unfollow some people because of their BUY MY PRODUCT NOW NOW NOW approach (had even to unsubscribe to some mailing lists), which is sad, but necessary. Do you think people act so desperately because they want fast results? I’ve been realizing that using social media is a slow, long-term process, and sometimes it can be really frustrating to wait and wait and wait for the results to show. Perhaps these people just need a little more patience? Like Jeff Walker says, it’s all about baby steps :}

  20. #24 by MonaKarel on January 20, 2015 - 2:45 pm

    As a buyer’s assistant at a power plant, and as a buyer for small businesses, response can mean more than product, though we had certain criteria to meet for quality. However we would be willing to pay more to a company that returned phone calls or e-mails in the least amount of time, and had sales people who actually KNEW what they were talking about. Customer service is key in a competitive business but knowledge is beyond value.
    The same applies to my ‘fun’ world of dogs. The wisest mentor in the world is useless if they can’t be bothered to talk to someone new to the game. Who then ends up having the most influence?
    As a writer, I cherish those who have helped hold the ladder while I crawl up the first few rungs. And I make every effort to share the route with other writers. It’s a small thing to do, with tremendous rewards

  21. #25 by darkwriter67 on January 20, 2015 - 2:53 pm

  22. #26 by Rachel Thompson on January 20, 2015 - 2:54 pm

    Some paint this picture like it’s an either or thing. It isn’t. How, when and why to use social media is an individual thing and should be tailored as such. Building a platform without products in hand is what many writers gravitate too–easy to get caught up in it and it seldom pays. There are many ways to build platform. SM is just one of many tools– learn and use them all, plan what may work and be flexible enough to go in new directions. The shotgun effect is a lottery. Focused business plans work, some employ SM, some don’t–SM is not the whole thing, it’s not magic.

  23. #27 by Mateeka on January 20, 2015 - 3:11 pm

    This is great and so true. Not just for social media but other kinds of self-marketing, too. I just recently started making the terrifying series of cold calls for my freelance business, and am learning through some trial and error that there is definitely a way to begin that doesn’t make you sound like you’re “ABC”, even though that is the goal. Thanks Kristen!

  24. #28 by Daven Anderson on January 20, 2015 - 3:12 pm

    It does upset me to hear that an author was dropped from a Big Five contract,simply because they wouldn’t start networking. Extremely foolish on the author’s part, to be sure.
    I do lament that we are now losing the ‘future J.D. Salingers’, potentially great literary voices, simply because those authors aren’t disposed to even the basics of social networking.
    They could upload their masterpieces to KDP, of course, but how will anyone discover them?
    It’s hard enough to get people to buy your book, EVEN IF you’re a total whiz at social media.

  25. #29 by Leona on January 20, 2015 - 3:15 pm

    Social media is very important and if it’s used correctly, for connecting and talking to the genre audience and potential readers, it works wonders. Spammy sales pitches annoy everyone, I have written a few blog posts about the subject.

    Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss are stellar examples of how one should use the social media.

    • #30 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2015 - 5:16 pm

      She wasn’t dropped from the Big Five. She was dropped by her AGENT. Any agent has the job of not only selling a great story, but convincing and editor that the author will sell lots of copies. Plus, the author WAS given the stipulation that she would be signed CONTINGENT on trying to lean social media. She did not hold up her end of the bargain and I wouldn’t work with someone who shirked what they’d promised either.

      The agent’s job is to get us the BEST deal possible. This author was shooting herself (and her agent) in the foot) by having no brand and making no effort to create one. Better brand, better platform=more confidence in author. More confidence in author=bigger print run and possibly more marketing money.

      • #31 by Leona on January 20, 2015 - 5:22 pm

        That is unfortunate indeed. I have barely written half of the first draft of my first novel and I’m already working very hard to create a social media brand for myself. This is the 21st century and being an author involves so much more than just writing books. It’s a shame that some new authors don’t understand this. Neil Gaiman is a superb example of social media branding, he is very active on every social media platform you can name.

        Reddit is also another great medium for authors.

  26. #32 by neiliswriting on January 20, 2015 - 3:16 pm

    I just discovered your blog (am a very new wordpressian), and find it very useful and fun to read. Will need to go back now and read some older posts!

  27. #33 by ariefarnam on January 20, 2015 - 3:16 pm

    Thanks for an interesting post. I definitely understand that direct marketing isn’t going to work. The problem that I see is that the formula of “every customer needs to be an intimate relationship” doesn’t add up with books. If you’re selling some major product that companies need and you only need a few hundred customers, that may be possible, but it isn’t possible with books.

    I’ll admit that I’m a little skeptical about the claim that you or any sales person, no matter how good and sociable, is authentically interested in the achievements of the kids of every customer. I’ve run into the overly smiley, manipulatively friendly salesperson who asks about your kids and doesn’t do the hard sell. They make my skin crawl. They’re harder to get rid of than the hard sellers and just as inauthentic. I’m constitutionally allergic.

    And that is with people who have a few hundred clients. Bring that strategy over to authors and you need at least a thousand customers to even start to be a “real” author. I know one computer geek who could possibly remember the personal details of 1,000 different people and pull them up at need, but he is truly as anti-social as Spock. (Yes, nice picture!🙂 ) The rest of us would have to keep note cards on our FB friends in order to keep track and ask those “interested” questions. And frankly, that’s creepy and not authentic.

    I’m not saying that social media is a complete waste of time. I got a cell phone early. I answer all emails within hours, unless I’m on a trans-Atlantic flight. I answer all direct messages of any kind and I try to keep up with my friends on social media. That said, I know that the big difference between me and those who are successful is that they are minor celebrities. For most authors, social media is social and will remain so. It will have almost no relationship to sales, although it will help to be available for contact. Publishers seek out people with big social media profiles, not because social media sells books but because a big social media profile shows that the person is already a minor celebrity, so the publisher’s work is done.

    I am skeptical these days about the future of the whole business. It appears that only people with big advertising backing or celebrity credentials will be able to even make a stab at writing for anything but a hobby. It is a different landscape than it was even three years ago. Three or four years ago, there was a fraction of the competition and social media probably mattered a lot more. Those who got their start at that time or earlier tend to be big proponents of that model, because it is what worked for them. But I would bet that there will be no success stories of indie authors starting out in 2014 with a small social media presence and being able to build it to a large presence without some major outside publicity factor.

    If I didn’t live in a country where $500 per month was a good wage, I wouldn’t even be trying to do this. I think that because I have twenty years of professional writing experience and a good network of traditional true friends who are enthusiastic in their love of my books, that I MIGHT be able to scrape out that sort of tiny income once I have ten or more books out. And that’s a big might. I can’t imagine how someone living in a different sort of economy is doing it. If any of us do succeed in this environment, we’ll be the last of our kind. I’m trying primarily because I’m home with small children and I love writing so much that I would produce plenty even with no reward, as long as I could still eat.

    I have spectacular reviews from the most wonderful readers who somehow managed to find me in the morass out there, I maintain a constant online presence, I blog and my social media platform is tiny and will remain tiny, because… I’m… not… a… celebrity. That is the same reason I left traditional publishing. I had a top New York agent. She loved my book. She had enthusiastic responses from 42 publishers saying the book was great and even that they couldn’t put it down and that they no longer publish anything by authors without celebrity credentials.

    I love to hear from my readers and I’ll engage personally and I love to hear their perspectives. But it is simply depressing to tell people that they must somehow keep track of the personal lives of every one of their readers and that the failure to do so will doom their career. Now, in your previous post about Twitter, you mentioned a few solid tips that could actually be implemented, such as using TweetDeck and reading Twitter based on hashtags in your areas of interest. I really appreciated those tips. They are practical and can truly be implemented. And it’s a way to maximize the marginal impact of social media and the chances of building a slightly bigger online platform. And we need every little bit. Thank you and keep it real.

    • #34 by newfsull on January 20, 2015 - 3:54 pm

      I’m not going to pretend I can speak for Ms Lamb; but I don’t see what she had to say in her blog that was at odds with your message. The world of writing has always been a very fickle and lonely trip to fame and fortune. There have never been any guarantees that a book will make it, or even if it does, that the next will follow in its footsteps.

      That being said. The new world of writing offers many more people a way to get their works published. Yup, buried in there will be some great work, and a lot more bland work. Ms. Lamb is merely saying that to increase your odds you need to make social media work for you. If you can get on The Daily Show go for it, and if you believe for a moment that the mere writing of a book will allow success, then by all means give up before you start.

      Musicians, athletes, artists of all kinds suffer the same problems. How to jump from the many to become the few. Ms. Lamb’s blogs, her book, and her many pointers all give a writer a chance to shine a bit more, a little longer, as hope waits for the full crest of the rising sun. For many they will remain of the dark side of the moon, but a few will bask in a sunrise.

      Thank you again Ms. Lamb.

      • #35 by ariefarnam on January 20, 2015 - 4:44 pm

        Yes, I don’t mean to detract from the good information in many of these posts. I only wanted to note that it can be unnecessarily discouraging when those who have achieved a certain level on SM in a different environment (i.e. 2011 or earlier) insist that the same old model is still viable. What Ms. Lamb says in this post is said every day in author forums. She dismisses the concerns of those who say that social media in 2015 has a minimal effect on sales and that a new platform on social media in 2015 is an unrealistic goal for 95 percent of new authors. Moreover success on social media doesn’t correlate to writing skill all that well. So, many authors are told that they are doomed to failure because they aren’t extraordinarily social magnets. It is not enough to be interested in real friends. We all know that. Ms. Lamb skirts the issue in this post and tells only part of the truth. This refrain is a simple way to make it appear that those who don’t have the significant advantages are simply to blame because they are supposedly too self-centered. It is nothing new. The post Ms. Lamb wrote on using Twitter did have some new and very real stuff in it. Ms. Lamb’s posts are among the best I’ve run into. I don’t have a ton of blog reading time and I am definitely subscribed here. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything though. You can’t please everyone and Ms. Lamb is a good writer partly because she doesn’t try to please everyone.

        • #36 by newfsull on January 20, 2015 - 5:15 pm

          “She dismisses the concerns of those who say that social media in 2015 has a minimal effect on sales and that a new platform on social media in 2015 is an unrealistic goal for 95 percent of new authors.”

          Well, I did not see that as the point of the blog. Its purpose was to say that having a platform is a necessary part of today’s author. She gave no assurance that the platform would increase sales, she merely stated that it added to other avenues of marketing.

          “Moreover success on social media doesn’t correlate to writing skill all that well.”

          Don’t know what you mean here. Yup, I guess

          “So, many authors are told that they are doomed to failure because they aren’t extraordinarily social magnets.”

          I believe the opposite is true. She tells us that you don’t need to be a social magnet. You just need to make your presence known. You don’t need to tell jokes or buy anyone a beer. Show folks how good a writer you are. Is that so hard for a good writer?

          “It is not enough to be interested in real friends. We all know that. Ms. Lamb skirts the issue in this post and tells only part of the truth. This refrain is a simple way to make it appear that those who don’t have the significant advantages are simply to blame because they are supposedly too self-centered.”

          Don’t know where you got this from. Maybe I read a different blog.

          “It is nothing new. The post Ms. Lamb wrote on using Twitter did have some new and very real stuff in it.”

          Sounds like a contradiction.

          Sorry to pull it apart this way. I could go on. It is one thing to disagree, a whole other thing to invent.

          • #37 by ariefarnam on January 21, 2015 - 7:09 am

            Please keep it civil. That last sentence is a personal attack. It looks like we disagree. That happens.

            • #38 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 7:57 am

              Both of you make excellent points and blogs are SO hard to write because WE ARE making sweeping stokes. THANK YOU BOTH for your time and thoughtful comments and Areifarnam, I know Newsfull and it might have sounded so, but I’d bet my money it wasn’t😉. Thanks for taking the time to debate. I may follow up on these ideas to see if I call expound.

              • #39 by newfsull on January 21, 2015 - 2:46 pm

                I NOW just want to see how wide this post will be – OH, no harm intended.

  28. #40 by kirizar on January 20, 2015 - 3:16 pm

    Is it at all possible that we have already missed the boat when it comes to creating an online presence? I say this in all earnestness. (Or Frankness if you Frank to Earnest.) It feels like there are a million blogs out there and how could my little star possibly twinkle bright enough to be seen in a galaxy of options?

    • #41 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2015 - 5:20 pm

      There were a million blogs when I started mine. I stuck to it. I am going to the gym. It is JANUARY. It will be packed, which annoys me b/c I work out all year. But, I give it until the beginning of March and all those folks will still have memberships and I can have their treadmill😉 .

  29. #42 by kirizar on January 20, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    Insert ‘prefer’ wherever you prefer in the above paragraph.

  30. #43 by sharonhughson on January 20, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    Just spent the entire morning tweaking my website. I’m ready to scream now – and I remember why I write stories and not code. But…the thing is lovely and easy to navigate. My first publiahed short story comes out in a few weeks and i want readers to find me and LOVE my site. Sign up for email notices of posts and my newsletter.
    I get a few new followers on Twitter the days I actually spend time there responding to people. You are right about all of this. Thanks for sharing your expertise with the rest of us.

  31. #44 by tannerakane on January 20, 2015 - 3:19 pm

    Nice article. However, I will point out social media works depending on sociopolitical conditions. For instance, if a writer spouts political and religious rhetoric (which I warn authors NOT to do on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), chances are people will argue with and possibly block the author on sites like Facebook and Twitter, thus alienating potential customers. Further, I discovered another issue with Facebook. Most people don’t trim newsfeeds. If a fan loves a writer, chances are posts are missed among the clutter.

  32. #45 by Pamela Beckford on January 20, 2015 - 3:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Poetry by Pamela and commented:
    Excellent post about social media and authors

  33. #46 by moxeyns on January 20, 2015 - 3:25 pm

    Um. So, I have 4k followers on twitter, and maybe a couple of dozen on FB (and maybe a couple of hundred friends). FB numbers are within my personal idea of “tribe”; I am actually genuinely interested in their cats, their problems, their lives, because I can keep them in my head. Twitter just blows my brain; I can’t cope with the numbers, and I can’t think of anything to talk about that doesn’t expose me more than I can cope with. Help?

  34. #47 by sandrabranum on January 20, 2015 - 3:27 pm

    Reblogged this on SandraBranum's Blog and commented:
    I’m getting social savvy; are you?

  35. #48 by Angie on January 20, 2015 - 3:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Life, Love, and Laughter and commented:
    It is worth my time. It is worth my time. It is worth my time.

  36. #49 by Gayle Mullen Pace on January 20, 2015 - 3:46 pm

    Your posts in 2014 forced me to rethink social media and the reasons for having it and rather than all the usual, lame resolutions, I had just one – get better at connecting with people online. And that’s what I’m doing. I’ve never believed that spamming people was a good thing and I won’t do it. My problem has been connecting with them in the first place. I’m a social misfit, but by golly, I’ll overcome it if it’s the last thing I do! And I thank you very kindly for showing me how.

  37. #50 by The Story Reading Ape on January 20, 2015 - 3:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    AUTHORS – Kristen hits several marketing nails squarely and firmly on their heads – please read this article – then get yourself in front of your potential readers by doing Guest Articles (Not Buy My Book Pitches) on my blog and the blogs of others who feature and promote authors – the more effort you put into this, the more ‘online presence’ you will have to point publishers to (and for them to find when they Google your name)
    And do it in a measured, long term way – not a frantic one off flurry everywhere! 😀

  38. #51 by lynettedavis on January 20, 2015 - 3:56 pm

    Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.

  39. #52 by suteko on January 20, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    An interesting article for sure. I have been working on the social media front myself via blogs, discussion groups and my own website. The only thing I haven’t done is a mailing list. Do you have any suggestions about setting one up?

  40. #53 by lori beasley bradley on January 20, 2015 - 4:03 pm

    I am a new Indie author and have been beat over the head with ‘You have to up your social media game. I have been trying. I started a blog and try to post a couple of times a week. I have upped my twitter followers from 17 to 170 over the past few months, and I have a Facebook account for myself and my book. I also started a reader’s group for a current project. I post my blog on Facebook and twitter also. I try to be chatty and witty in my blog posts and mention my books on twitter when something comes up, but don’t want to beat folks over the head with ‘Buy my book!’

  41. #54 by busy lady on January 20, 2015 - 4:19 pm

    Thanks for your post. Gave me a lot to think about. I am not currently writing a book, but I am putting together a poetry to put on Kindle. Thanks again.

  42. #55 by charlene Jones (@charleneJones18) on January 20, 2015 - 4:31 pm

    It is so exciting to read this blog and everyone’s responses.
    This is one of the great areas of our new social lives, completely estranged from anything our ape ancestors screeched about from the tree-tops, our bipedal hominid ancients concerned themselves with, nothing the antiquarian Romans or Greeks worried over…not until Gutenberg with the printing press galaxy, and the tiny but ubiquitous sheets of paper discussing news and politics, publishing poems and pedantic epistles did the sudden idea of “where do I fit” begin to nudge against the inner knowledge “I must write.”
    It is coincidental that in our age we examine quarks, invisible detectors of new potential realities, and the expansiveness of the Universes beyond our imaginings, no longer bound by the Sun and the Planets nor even by the edge of our own sweet and Milky Way, examine the ends of boundaries and parameters large and small at a time when our sense of self among others undergoes extreme pressure and renewed excavation. Who am I among these others? I write, they write, we hang from the same tree is what that means but when the tree is full of others also hanging, when the fields are flooded with two footeds, when I can’t find myself among the crowds…
    Social media presents us with unique and fascinating challenges regarding our craft as writers, but also as human beings. What does fame mean? Does it lead to happiness, or peacefulness? If one hundred people more read my book than would have without social media will I feel better upon my deathbed or will I mourn a lifetime spent without fruit of my labour?
    Interesting, challenging times.

  43. #56 by philosophermouseofthehedge on January 20, 2015 - 4:41 pm

    Important concept to remember
    “Social media is like all those lunches or quick, relaxing trips to a driving range to just unwind and chat and become friends. People should know we have a book, just like all my cardboard customers had a fancy folder filled with all our products and a sample box.”
    Great info. Enjoyed the read.

  44. #57 by softsenta on January 20, 2015 - 5:02 pm

    Thanks for you excellent articles on Social Media. I used to hate it, but now I see how necessary it is. I’m still not very good at it. I don’t blog about my books much . I tell stories about my everyday life. Should ! talk more about the books? But how to make it interesting?

  45. #58 by taramayoros on January 20, 2015 - 5:54 pm

    I remember sitting at a writers conference many years ago and the presenter said, “if you want to be a writer and are uncomfortable with social media, than you are in the wrong business.”
    I think if the presenter had scratched his fingernails on a chalk board, it would have sounded better to me at the time. Years later and I still struggle with pushing my books onto my readers. I have found that whenever I am being highlighted on a blog or twitter, I tend to share those posts rather than constantly promote my own work. I am on Instagram and use it as a glimpse into my personal life. With twitter, Facebook, and my blog, I tend to be more professional and probably boring. It is hard to find the balance and I would appreciate any thoughts on branding and consistency. Thanks for the post!

    • #59 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2015 - 10:11 pm

      I almost never mention my book beyond the little strip at the bottom incase people want to buy it. You can mention here and there you have a book(s). But just have fun. People buy from who they know and like.

  46. #60 by Jean Reinhardt on January 20, 2015 - 6:17 pm

    Great advice and lots of common sense. I started a small customer service business six years ago and when I published my first book I applied exactly the same exactly the same principles. My readers, just like my customers, are people to me, not statistics. I’m reblogging if that’s okay.

  47. #61 by Jean Reinhardt on January 20, 2015 - 6:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Jean Reinhardt and commented:
    Thank you Kristen Lamb for some interesting tips about Social Media.

  48. #62 by R. A. Meenan on January 20, 2015 - 6:32 pm

    Love this, Kristen.

    You should also add that really, it’s FUN to build relationships! I look forward to interacting with my new friends on Twitter, the friends I got initially to “build my audience.” But as I got to know them, I got to see them as wonderful people with ups and downs in life and people that loved to celebrate when good things happen. Also, they are people who take a genuine interest in ME as well. I don’t even have my first book out yet, but a bunch of my new friends advocated for me to join a writer’s guild. I’m new to this community I’m writing for, but they welcomed me with open arms and are teaching me more every day. Also, a few are writers themselves, and just by looking up their names, I’ve found a TON of awesome new books for my reading list!

    So yeah, in the back of my mind somewhere I’m thinking about that eventual sale, but right now? I’m thinking it’s good to be alive and be surrounded by awesome people.

    In fact, I think I’ll write a blog about that right now.

  49. #63 by Pirkko Rytkonen on January 20, 2015 - 7:02 pm

    Such good advice for someone who hasn’t sold anything yet. I’m on the ground floor keeping up with FB, and will have to learn to tweet with purpose. My hubby is in sales and does the same thing. He has relationships which turn into sales and he works mostly from referrals only. He also was the first one in his office to have a cell phone with the maximum minutes and people could reach him any time. Even today, customers comment on how quickly he responds to emails. phone calls.

  50. #64 by Cherie O'Boyle on January 20, 2015 - 7:42 pm

    Where do you get all those cute and ever-so-apt images to use on your blog? Do you pay for them?

  51. #65 by cogpunksteamscribe on January 20, 2015 - 7:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Cogpunk Steamscribe and commented:
    I am a big believer in the power of social media. This article makes some point I can’t help but agree with. Social media is about building relationships and communities.

  52. #66 by cogpunksteamscribe on January 20, 2015 - 7:45 pm

    We must share the same husband.

    I have found social media an enormous boon, and not just career-wise. It has helped me find my ‘tribe’. And it confuses me when writers don’t embrace another opportunity to write!

  53. #67 by lynnkelleyauthor on January 20, 2015 - 8:28 pm

    $400 a month for a cell phone, whoa! I’m so glad prices have come down. I couldn’t agree more about connecting with people, building trust, becoming invested in them. Way more rewarding and it does pay off in the long run. And of course your prospective customers wanted to go to lunch with you. You were way more fun!

  54. #68 by terileeauthor on January 20, 2015 - 8:36 pm

    Reblogged this on TeriLeeLiving.

  55. #69 by Meghan Skye on January 20, 2015 - 8:38 pm

    I do so enjoy the humor mixed with the wisdom in just right proportion, because I cower in the face of this daunting task to which my personality type is just not inclined. No doubt, somewhere along the line you’ve spoken to us poor introverts who might not be adverse to it, would follow through with it yet feel the need for guidance (so we read blogs) and instead of growing more confident lose just a bit more heart. I know, see a therapist; hire a personal assistant who can romance agents and publishers. Wouldn’t it be nice it we all had that much money and could allow our writing to speak for us? Somehow I feel a double-bind.

  56. #70 by John R. Paterson on January 20, 2015 - 9:20 pm

    Well Kristin, I’ve ordered a copy of your book on Kindle and will reserve judgement until I’ve read it. While I’ve spent considerable time on social media platforms (including my own web site), I’ve become discouraged for the amount of time spent and the questionable returns. It seems everyone who joins these networks are trying to sell their own material and aren’t interested in buying any of mine. Listing on Kindle was equally disappointing – easy to do, but when you’re an unknown, good luck! A person has a better chance of winning a lottery.
    I did do my own book launch, which attracted 50 people, most of whom bought books. I also compiled an e-mail list and did relatively well with that – So far, I’ve sold around 125 copies,and have had some good reviews, but getting noticed by a much wider audience, even using social media, remains a perplexing problem for me.

    • #71 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2015 - 10:12 pm

      John, THANK YOU for the faith in me and I hope I live up to it. Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions ((HUGS))

  57. #72 by saralitchfield on January 21, 2015 - 12:41 am

    Thankfully, social media has always been playtime for me and I love connecting with people. The fallout from that has been a big bonus when it came to me having a book to present to the world. But I didn’t go on social media in order to sell my book. I had always been on social media, and it made sense to mention it on there, the same way I’d mentioned a million other things that had happened over the years. My sympathies are with people who don’t enjoy it and are starting from scratch without the understanding that you always stress – social media is for being Social, not for selling.

  58. #73 by Steve Higgins on January 21, 2015 - 3:58 am

    Just like john above I find a lot of my social media contacts are just like me. -trying to sell their book. However, social media cannot be avoided, we have to work with it and interact to get our own brand out there.your blog is always interesting Kristen!

  59. #74 by Author Rebecca Heishman on January 21, 2015 - 5:36 am

    I am the flip-side of your equation. I became an author by way of a Facebook community page. In 2010, out of a need to avoid the miseries of multiple sclerosis, I started a community page for pet-lovers entitled Misty-the-Dog and Friends. On a whim, I posted humorous short conversations and whacky little tales that were told from my dog’s point of view. The stories caught on, and on days when I didn’t post one, my fans would ask me where ‘their story’ was. I found a beautiful personal connection with wonderful pet lovers from all over the world. We are a family, a community, a neighborhood. As time went on, my Facebook family asked that I assemble some of the stories in book form. I did. That is how The Misty Neighborhood Series was born. I am a 65-year-old writer who is rolling right along. My Facebook experience has become a joy in my life. I am involved in Twitter, but I don’t find a connection with readers there. My experience with Twitter has been experiencing an onslaught of author ego that I find difficult to contend with. I don’t take myself too seriously as an author. I think of myself as an entertainer. I think there are writers out there who might want to lighten up a little. We aren’t all going to be Shakespeare. We won’t all win a Pulitzer. And our work might never change another person’s life. So, stop worrying about the big picture and enjoy the ride. It’s the present that matters. Do what makes you happy. The future will take care of itself. http://www.facebook.com/MistyTheDogNeighborhood/ http://www.rebeccaheishman.com/ http://www.amazon.com/author/rebeccaheishman/

    • #75 by petrapoupa on January 21, 2015 - 6:24 pm

      Hi, Rebecca, what an interesting story. Can I tweet your last few sentences, beginning from ‘I don’t take myself too seriously …’ if I cite you as the originator? Those sentences are pure gems🙂 Or if you prefer, you could tweet them and I’ll re-tweet?

      • #76 by Author Rebecca Heishman on January 22, 2015 - 5:57 am

        You may do whatever you want, my dear. I’m fine with it.

  60. #77 by Joao Perre Viana on January 21, 2015 - 9:42 am

    Hello Kristen,

    I enjoy your blog very much and in particular your last post about social media.

    Some time ago I finished a story that dreamed to become a book, and once I started understanding the way editors and publishers work I realize that just publishing a book would never be a guarantee of anything.

    The strategy I have been following in the last two months was to invert the process, I created a website (www.bookrosaliadecastro.wordpress.com) and a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bookrosaliadecastro) and since that day I have been publishing a chapter per day, combining pictures, music and more recently video, connecting people between both platforms.

    The readers base have been growing slowly but constantly and after two months we just pass the 10.000 fans mark for Portuguese and Spanish followers. Just few days ago I started the same process with English language.

    I believe deeply that social media is the “ bridge” writers need to use to connect with their audience and nurture a special relation decreasing the traditional distance, specially for new writers like myself.

    The way I look at social media is more of a Lab rather than a sales platform, a great environment to test new things, fine tune, test again and build communities.

    Now that I have a readers base, I am starting to think about the next steps, crowdfunding campaign, launch event, etc.

    I cannot agree more with you. Thank you for posting.

    Joao

  61. #78 by rijanjks on January 21, 2015 - 9:44 am

    Reblogged this on Writing and Music and commented:
    Great blog on the advantages of social media by Kristen Lamb.

  62. #79 by Elle Knowles on January 21, 2015 - 9:47 am

    Reblogged this on Finding Myself Through Writing and commented:
    As we all know, Social Media for promoting takes effort and time – loads of time! This is true especially if you expect a following and support. Therefore, you must show presence. Take a page out of Kristen’s book and get your name out there! There’s some great advice in her article.

  63. #80 by Sabrina Giles on January 21, 2015 - 10:13 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone! I am truly happy I saw this post. I am guilty of not being on hardly any of my social media besides facebook (which I primarily use to interact with family and friends). I’ve never been big on social media, and honestly was never interested in blogs at all until I became an author and found out I suddenly had to take on all social media. I’ve been blogging for 2+ years now and struggling every step of the way. I understand that I need to be steady and connect with people and share information about my books, me, etc. But how am I supposed to keep up my content? Due to a huge bout of writer’s block, I haven’t written anything in over a year. I slowly began writing again recently, but still don’t know what to blog about, or what to post on all my other social media. How much of my life should I share with my readers? I look at famous authors and they don’t share too much of their lives with us readers unless it somehow coincides with their books or isn’t too personal (like Maggie Stiefvater’s love of goats).
    It would be awesome and amazingly helpful if you delved deeper into this subject!🙂

    • #81 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 11:55 am

      My book details how to write a blog that will attract your readers but in short, being personal doesn’t mean we have to part with sensitive information. I write a post about my addiction to Febreeze and office supplies. It is personal and others can related. It was a fun read and went viral.

      • #82 by Sabrina Giles on January 21, 2015 - 6:45 pm

        Thank you Kristen! I ask because I’m a stay-at-home mom who gets out NEVER and so my ideas for other content are slim, but I will think of something. Thank you!

        • #83 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 10:41 pm

          Mommy blogs are HOT.

          • #84 by Sabrina Giles on January 22, 2015 - 9:01 am

            Really? I had no idea, haha. I’m going to have to look into that then. It seems you have solved my problem! Thanks Kristen🙂

  64. #85 by Elesha on January 21, 2015 - 10:14 am

    Lots of good thoughts. I recently joined Twitter for many of the reasons you mentioned

  65. #86 by Peter Galen Massey on January 21, 2015 - 10:33 am

    Yep. I often say writing a book is child’s place compared to the work of getting people to read the durn thing. At least for me!

  66. #87 by Kit on January 21, 2015 - 10:36 am

    You have me sold on social media. I’m reworking my first middle grade (maybe YA) fiction book and have lots of ideas on how to make the most of social media. My challenge (since you said you like to know our worries, etc.) is knowing when to start building the presence (I don’t have a firm title, agent, or publisher – I’m in early draft mode). I’m also at a loss on what domain name to use since my own name has used by a real estate agent who’s nothing like me and I haven’t settled on a “pen name”. I am definitely buying your book (I was putting it off, but see that it would be wise to do it now), and I hope I find the advice I need there. Keep these great blog posts coming! They keep me balanced.

    • #88 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 11:54 am

      NO pen name and start as early as possible. Platforms and brands take time to grow.

  67. #89 by Robin Puelma on January 21, 2015 - 11:11 am

    I’ll admit: I’m intimidated by social media and would rather run the other way than give it a go. But your clear and witty words convince me to do the opposite. Thank you for writing this post!

  68. #90 by Margaret Bad Warrior on January 21, 2015 - 12:24 pm

    First of all, thank you for carefully reading all of your readers’ comments. I am one of the many authors who never “clicked” with social media and your posts about how Twitter works have helped me understand the bewildering concept of the “hashtag.” I deleted my first Twitter account as soon as someone started “following” me. Super creepy. My problem is, even if I am starting to understand these new communication forms, I _despise_ Facebook. Can I blog and tweet and have a decent social media brand without Facebook, and, are there any other particular ones that are useful? The younger members of the household use Snapchat and Instagram – also bewildering – and it seems to both create reams of drama and suck up a lot of their time. I would like to use the social media platforms that are 1) rock-bottom essential and 2) potentially enjoyable. Not asking for reviews, just your expert recommendations. Thanks for your terrific blog.

    I read most of your responses above, and apologize if you answered this already and I missed it.

    • #91 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 2:40 pm

      You don’t have to do a lot on Twitter for it to be effective. It is THE BEST way to go viral, so I wouldn’t dismiss it. But don’t feel badly if you only use it tangentially. But remember, many times when we don’t like something it’s because we don’t understand it so we get frustrated. A blog, I feel is THE most important. But Twitter and FB point the way. A blog is forever. We own the content. Search engines deliver new fans using our tags. Also, it can be complied into an e-book to use for promotion if people like our posts. Buy my novel and get the best of my blogs FREE. Then we are putting all those words to use and not giving away our art for free.

  69. #92 by Kim on January 21, 2015 - 12:33 pm

    Great article, I admit I was intimidated by social media when I published my “indie’ book in 2012. I was not on FB or twitter etc…and did not sign up for both until late 2014. I felt having an email would be enough, I was sadly wrong. I agree I have missed out on many connections. Since signing up I find followers asking questions or to connect. In APR 2015 I will publish VOL II of my book and I believe it will have more of a impact because of social media. It has been hard but rewarding and an interesting journey. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and ispirations.

  70. #93 by morgancnicholswriter on January 21, 2015 - 1:02 pm

    Hi Kristen. Excited to have found your blog! I am one of those writers who LOVES social media – I find it really rewarding to connect with an audience and with other writers in such a quick and instant way. I agree about using Twitter to build relationships and interact with each other’s posts, and am still learning how to do that (I found Twitter overwhelming at first and still find the hashtags make my eyes glaze over!), and love it when an author follows me and tweets to me – it makes it all a bit more human. The only thing is, it DOES sometimes feel like I am spending more time on social media than actually writing. Hhmm. I will be following your blog🙂

  71. #94 by morgancnicholswriter on January 21, 2015 - 1:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Morgan C Nichols and commented:
    I find social media exciting as a writer – to instantly be able to connect with a whole community of other writers and readers in such an instant is very rewarding for me. Although it can take up a bit too much time – especially when I’m at the final edit stage of a book and not in the creative throes of it. I know it’s not every writer’s cup of tea though – which this blog addresses very well.

  72. #95 by sneakersbananasandspears on January 21, 2015 - 2:13 pm

    I love everything about this article. It’s so true and now a year later I’m starting to see the efforts of posting little videos and pictures and connecting with readers. It takes time and effort and the payoff is pretty lasting. Thanks!

  73. #96 by mitchteemley on January 21, 2015 - 6:27 pm

    I’m in, Kristen. Your teaser offer (name in hat) got me. And I’ll buy that cruise, if it’s still, available too. ;>)

  74. #97 by mitchteemley on January 21, 2015 - 6:28 pm

    Ahem, that should be “your,” not “you’re” (I tutor writer, for crying out loud!)

    • #98 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2015 - 10:42 pm

      LOL. It’s a blog comment. I really am just thrilled you commented. And so many people use a phone to comment we get errors all the time. Usually (if you don’t rat yourself out) I fix it for you😉 .

  75. #99 by 8 Grapes on January 22, 2015 - 1:12 am

    I don’t have a novel in the pipeline, but just wanted to say, you’ve turned me around! thanks!

  76. #100 by michellerae2012 on January 22, 2015 - 5:12 am

    Reblogged this on Moral Fortitude and commented:
    An interesting read regarding social media for writers.

  77. #101 by Niina on January 22, 2015 - 6:31 am

    Thank you for another excellent post. Relationships are very important and almost the basis of social media in my opinion. For example you seem like such a nice person that even if your posts weren’t the quality they are, I’d probably still read them. I’m not sure if I’m doing a good job at all creating and upholding relationships online but I’m trying. I’m enjoying blogging and connecting with people, hopefully that’ll build relationships in time.

  78. #102 by Amy Pfaff on January 22, 2015 - 6:46 am

    Reblogged this on Eileen Richards, Author and commented:
    I love this blog! There are social media lessons I need to learn from this post. Do you have any advice for a debut author? If so leave a comment. Thank you Warrior Writers for so many great posts.

  79. #103 by Gina Drayer on January 22, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Yep. The constant “buy my book” gets you blocked faster than anything. I’ve bought books from people I found engaging and fun. I’ve never bought a book because someone tweeted “look at the book I published”

  80. #104 by Christine Hayton on January 22, 2015 - 9:36 am

    Thank you for this post. The “used car sales pitch” online is rally getting old and annoying. I started my platform almost 2 years ago and my first book is coming out this May. I would NEVER pitch my book on Social Media – its not the place for it. These are my friends and I’d like to keep them around. I also know being honest and voicing opinions makes you a real person and attracts more online friends. Thanks for this post and all the other posts that have helped me build my online presence. You’re amazing Kristen!

  81. #106 by susanpbaker on January 22, 2015 - 10:26 am

    Thanks for the reminder, Kristen. I just started blogging (again) after reading your Machines book and am enjoying the heck out of it. You said to write almost anything and don’t b a downer and don’t often post about writing. That was SO freeing! Now if I could only find sites for all those Memes and photos like you use (free), I’d b a happy abuela. But thanks for all u do!

  82. #107 by susanpbaker on January 22, 2015 - 10:28 am

    Reblogged this on Susan P. Baker's Blog & Website and commented:
    A truth for bloggers.

  83. #108 by Kendra Rucker on January 22, 2015 - 4:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Lost'N'Living.

  84. #109 by Dawn DeSousa (@DawnDeSousa) on January 22, 2015 - 4:59 pm

    Enjoyed the post as usual. My first book is set in Napa, Ca which I live next to and visit often. I find some of my most pop tweets are when I post a pic of the wine I”m having with dinner tonight. Now, have I sold many books? Doubt it, but sharing an interest in something I enjoy and making tweet friends!

  85. #110 by Courtney M. Wendleton on January 23, 2015 - 12:21 am

    Reblogged this on Books and More and commented:
    Blog on Brothers and Sisters! Blog on!

  86. #111 by Nancy J. Cohen on January 23, 2015 - 3:35 pm

    I am always urging aspiring authors to get online and establish a presence. They shouldn’t wait until they are published. They can begin by blogging, tweeting, or starting a FB page, but they need to become familiar with social media. It’s hard work but writing is a business, and that includes marketing.

  87. #112 by Shelley on January 23, 2015 - 6:32 pm

    Once I figure out how to link your site to mine, I’m all over this contest like poop to a blanket. But if I win you have to promise to ghost write my book. Deal?

  88. #113 by Bonnie Ferrante on January 23, 2015 - 7:32 pm

    I must be doing it wrong. I sell far more books in person than I do online.

  89. #114 by Donna Joy Usher on January 23, 2015 - 7:35 pm

    Wow. Those very words came out of my mouth yesterday – I’d rather spend time writing than using social media. Have never been good at the ‘hard sell’ and never felt my life was interesting enough to tweet about. Thanks for helping me see another way to use social media. Have bought your book as well.

  90. #116 by G.A.Taylor on January 24, 2015 - 7:21 am

    Thanks, Kristen, this was helpful.

  91. #117 by Saralyn on January 24, 2015 - 12:57 pm

    Thanks, Kristen. It’s a delicate balance. Using social media can be beneficial, but too much pushing can have the opposite effect. Do you think blogging is more important than tweeting? Some blogs seem to overdo it, as well. (Not yours, of course!)

  92. #118 by CeCe Osgood on January 25, 2015 - 12:39 pm

    Excellent information, Kristen. I enjoy Facebook, especially a couple of writer groups. There’s a lot of participation and a goodly amount of humor. It’s nice for visibility within my particular genre community. However it generates few sales, and I don’t really expect it to. Frankly, I don’t believe FB helps sales much at all.

    Twitter is a mystery to me. I tweet once in a while or retweet other authors’ tweets. Then there are a lot of thank you tweets (for retweeting) from authors. It’s very time consuming, so I’m pulling back from it. I guess I feel like the old lady waving a cane and yelling, “Back in my day…” lol

  93. #119 by filmandcake on January 26, 2015 - 7:00 am

    This is a BRILLIANT post, a great read!

  94. #120 by Joy Smith on January 26, 2015 - 8:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! You made something that sounded so scary so much less so. I hope you have a wonderful year, and I will be following you.

    Not like, in parking lots, but online. Please feel followed. But in a good way.

  95. #122 by jstgeorge1 on January 26, 2015 - 9:45 pm

    Enjoyed your article very much. Thank you!

  96. #123 by Joe Kovacs on January 27, 2015 - 6:43 am

    Hello Kristen. This is the first time I have read your blog. I was referred here by The 100 Best Websites for Writers blog post on The Write Life. Wow, this post was fantastic. You don’t give your post enough credit in the title since you talk as much about effective sales techniques as you do about social media. That’s not criticism…it’s admiration about how much you can fit into one post. Have you ever read Dank Pink before? His most well-known book is Drive but I have read his latest, To Sell is Human, which helps to show, among other things, the importance of selling and buying in all human communities. Some of your readers who are nervous about getting on social media or using it as a platform to grow their visibility might be interested in the book. Thanks so much for writing this. I will be stopping by your blog again. Regards, Joe

  97. #124 by jryates on January 27, 2015 - 11:00 am

    Hi Kristen. This post partially inspired the most recent post on my blog. I linked back to your blog. You can see it at http://www.jryates.ca “Love, Media, and Communication: Tipping the Scales”. Thanks so much for such great insight!

  98. #125 by thejoshuagenerationministries on January 27, 2015 - 7:25 pm

    Your blogs are always so helpful 😃

  99. #126 by Lorilyn Roberts on January 28, 2015 - 4:24 pm

    Great post. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not wasting my time. I actually enjoy the interaction, but then feel guilty that I spent the time doing it. So in the end, I suppose I’m doing what I need to do. Now I just need to allow myself to enjoy it.

  100. #127 by Alison Green on January 29, 2015 - 2:09 pm

    I started using twitter because of you, and was so depressed to the endless tweets with links begging and insisting I buy something. Rapidly I unfollowed those people, but I was beginning to feel like I was doing it wrong. Thank you for this blog which reminded me that being myself is better than endless links and robo tweets!

  101. #129 by taramayoros on January 31, 2015 - 9:40 pm

    Reblogged this on taramayoros.com and commented:
    I have posted about my path to becoming publicized here and how I have battled over the years between plugging in and unplugging. I didn’t have an e-mail until maybe five years ago, and I had my first flip phone only months before that. Strange, I know, especially for someone my age. Most all of my friends started blogs over a decade ago and have a huge following, while I avoided it all, thinking it strange that you’d want complete strangers to see into your life.

    That all changed when I began to write seriously. Actually it changed when I went to my first critique and read my query in front of a bunch of strangers. I had completed a novel, written a screenplay, and had boxes full of poetry. Did I want to share it, or keep it to myself? This was a very tough question for me, as I wondered if people even cared what I had to say.

    It still surprises me when writers now-a-days don’t embrace social media. I am going to be brutally honest and say that I don’t like it, but I have embraced it. This blog post has really helped me and my approach to social media.
    If you have any tricks you use when it comes to social media, I’d love to hear about it.
    Thanks,
    Tara

  102. #130 by jessicasnapebooks on April 27, 2015 - 4:26 am

    Reblogged this on jessicasnapebooks and commented:
    Social Media has helped me a lot and along with many fellow writers with Britains Next Best Seller, so I do agree that it is a good thing.

  103. #131 by Benjamin J. Gohs on November 8, 2015 - 3:02 pm

    I would like to see some actual data on any supposed correlation between number of Facebook/Twitter/ETC. followers and conversions into book sales.
    It is one thing to “like” someone’s page. After all, it requires a fraction of a second of time, it requires no effort, no cost. It is completely another thing to purchase someone’s book.
    Will an already famous author see sales value in operating social media? Of course, they have a pre-existing fan base.
    The idea that even a minute portion of authors—who are not at the top of the industry—are going to sell more than a few copies of their book because they are funny and charming and witty on Twitter or Facebook is a stretch.
    Sure, you’ll guilt some friends and family into the sales, something you could have done without social media.
    You might even accidentally make a few sales because someone heard about your book on Instagram.
    However, the idea that social media should be the mainstay or even a significant portion of your marketing plan seems flawed in the face of the facts.
    Here is a great article (not by me) which discusses the hard truth about the limited value of social media marketing: http://timgrahl.com/3-myths-and-2-truths-about-social-media-marketing-for-authors/
    Here is another great piece with real-world application by an author who ditched her social media presence and found no change in book sales: http://www.hilarytsmith.com/2012/03/follows-not-book-sale-though-its-very.html
    Another good article here that reinforces the importance of having a varied toolbox for your marketing platform: http://badredheadmedia.com/2015/01/03/4-effective-book-marketing-strategies-work/
    I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media. However, I’ve yet to see any compelling data which shows any meaningful correlation, let alone causation, between number of tweets/tweeps and the number of books you’ll sell.
    I have never bought a book because it was advertised to me on Facebook or Twitter.
    perhaps you have.
    Maybe I’m just a failure but I feel like I have put forth a pretty strong effort over several years on social media and have yielded nearly a zero return when it comes to my books.
    Sour grapes?
    Maybe.
    But, I have decided to significantly decrease the amount of time I spend building connections with others, because all I have to show for it are a lot of self-published authors trying to get me to buy their terrible books.
    I’d rather spend my time writing and get nowhere than posting so-called witticisms in hopes that someone will think I’m funny and then run to Amazon.com and buy my book … and still get nowhere.
    Good luck to the rest of you.

    • #132 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 8, 2015 - 8:23 pm

      There won’t be any correlative data because social media is essentially digital “word of mouth” and word of mouth is distinctively human and cannot be quantified and measured in algorithms as much as we’d like that to be the case. Word of mouth, however is the only thing that has EVER sold books. That and a good book. Most of the authors who spend all this time being clever on Twitter and Instagram would do better going back and writing really great books. But, if we think we are going to stick our heads in a ditch and have NO platform and then try to successfully sell a book? Think again.

      The problem is how we are viewing social media. If we are viewing it as a way to harvest sales like mass mailings? It will fail. If we are networking and building a fan base and keeping fan fires burning in between books, then it is highly useful. But it has never nor will it EVER work like direct marketing no matter how many people try to make it work that way.

      I don’t care if a person has a billion Facebook likes. Those can be purchased and who cares? BUt, don’t tell me that a THOUSAND likes of people who follow every post and every blog and who love everything you post doesn’t make an impact. It does. If you try and publish a book with no platform, best of luck to you. But conversely? Less tweeting and more writing😉 .

  104. #133 by karinj99 on June 7, 2016 - 10:58 pm

    I loathe social media, would rather eat dirt. Besides, I – and most people I actually (not virtually) know – have never looked for books on social media so why would it be such a dire necessity to try selling them there? I don’t use facebook, cancelled it because the company has absolutely no integrity. I have no interest in ‘twitting’, either. So-called social media is in reality just another overcrowded self-promotion venue that has nothing to do with actually being social. They all just spend time trying to ‘compete’ for attention. It is a huge waste of time as far as I’m concerned.

    • #134 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 8, 2016 - 7:27 am

      First of all, social media is now the place people hang out. So if there is going to be ANY word of mouth about a book, likely it will be on social media. Secondly, just because people in your personal circle have never shopped there doesn’t mean that is an accurate reflection of the population and their buying habits. Thirdly, there are a lot of people doing social media incorrectly. The people who spam and promote are ignored. But the ones who generally socialize are a bright star in the darkness. If you don’t want to do social media, that is your call. But if you want to be a writer and never do social media, then I strongly suggest another line of work. That is like saying you want to be a car manufacturer but won’t do commercials because TV doesn’t have any good shows.

  105. #135 by karinj99 on June 9, 2016 - 8:49 pm

    I came across a discussion about it on goodreads. The writers who posted agreed that things like facebook & twitter had not made any difference to their sales. Being on goodreads, where people go because they like books, made some difference. I have writer friends who’ve never promoted on social media. One person in particular self-published years before social media existed. The people who are interested in it still find her book ten years after. Not everyone who writes expects to make their living exclusively from it. And, believe it or not, you can connect with people face to face in the real world.

    • #136 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 9, 2016 - 9:21 pm

      I agree we need more in-person connection but social media is supposed to be “part” of socialization….not a non-stop method to spam people about books and too many writers have done just that (often taught to do so by “experts”). We wouldn’t like that crap in person, why do it on social media? If in person I went to a party and someone started trying to sell me water filters I would be just as annoyed. We just need to think of this like a grassroots campaign and be HUMAN. People buy from who they know and who they like. They did before social media and will do so long after.

  106. #137 by dirtroadfilms on July 30, 2016 - 11:28 am

    Interesting article. Meanders a bit, and a bit long, but quite thought provoking. I may be better able to absorb it with a reread.

    I am on the fence about social media. I finally committed to a writer’s life and as I near completion of my first real novel I have explored my options for building a platform. Seems everyone insists sales can’t be made without social media. Exactly one month ago I opened a facebook and twitter account, but so far I am not impressed. Thing is, I can’t figure where t he money ACTUALLY shows up. I for one do not believe any tangible sales really come from tweets or facebook posts. If anything, I think the noise actually could drive away real readers. I am surfing articles such as this one in a quest to confirm what I already suspect, that social media is not the bucket of gold everyone parrots it to be.

    I’m starting to think from the other side, the reader’s angle. I fear that too many of us have gone too far overboard toward cyber-ville. As a reader, I think back on specific books I have bought, and why, pondering the process from initial bait to my actual moment of purchase.

    Mainly, I just don’t want to immerse in all that social media stuff. That’s mainly it, for me. My life is already too packed as it is, and I cringe at the thought of another behemoth to add to my daily schedule.

    And besides, until I see some REAL G.D__M. DATA that shows sales *actually* result from tweeting/facebooking…. I will continue to doubt it. (though, yes I do see the value of professional networking it offers. I concede that)

    • #138 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 31, 2016 - 9:47 am

      Social media is terrible for direct sales and that isn’t the goal of it. It is really relationship building and becoming a familiar name in a crowded landscape. I sell plenty of books because of a strong platform and I don’t remotely immerse myself in social media. I also never use it to “sell.” I have never tweeted or FBed to “BUY MY BOOK!”.

      I blog regularly because I enjoy it. It has made me a better writer and blogs can be compiled into books for sale or promotion—-so it is an investment that just keeps on giving returns. I take a handful of breaks on FB and scan and like and share then get back to work. I maybe tweet 5 or 6 times a day, usually just talking to people. The books are the most important, but if we have no platform, we are likely going to struggle because the brick-and-mortar points of sale are getting rarer by the day and even the ones that remain have a vastly limited selection.

      • #139 by dirtroadfilms on July 31, 2016 - 1:14 pm

        Very wise words. Very. I got on ‘social media’ exactly 30 days ago and I think I went into it with the wrong expectations. I still may cut bait, but for now I will continue on. UNODIR as Dick Marcinko would say, lol.

        I do add that of them all I feel more pulled towards blogging as it seems to fit hand-in-glove with the writer’s mindset I am already trying to cultivate. It will take time to get off the ground, I understand. I’m game. Sorry if my first post seemed ranting or untoward; I think what puts me off twitter and FB sometimes is the fact that I find myself digging around on t here instead of producing chapters of my book. But I acknowledge that’s MY fault and easily rectifiable. I have a plan for steps to accommodate that hangup.

        So nice to meet you. I will follow you on twitter momentarily, ‘be lookin out’ as the kids would say, lol

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