Friday, 15 September 2017
Come and Get Me: Promoting Books on Social Media, PT. 1
I left the treadmill of traditional publishing long ago. Actually I vacated about the same time I realized that neither my potential readers nor my lifespan could afford to wait long enough for the publishing machine to work: one to two years waiting between acceptance and publication; changing editors with diverse points of view; agents who operate on an outdated publishing model. That was my experience, which prompted me to jettison into self-publishing and never look back. I can say with complete honesty that if a publishing house were to offer me a contract today, I probably wouldn't take it.
Unless it was a HUGE amount of money and a movie contract! (Joking)
Anyways, I love being in control of my publishing destiny. Like surfing, it requires skill, reflexes, and keeping one's eyes open for the next big wave. Traditional publishing, by comparison, can be more like being a passenger on a cruise ship, destination unknown. The world is bound to change significantly before that ship ever arrives in port.
However, being an indie author does require grappling with change head on. Part of the entrepreneur's job is learning every aspect of the promotion business and then regrouping and learning it all over again two months later. Everything is constantly in flux. Luckily, I find this perpetual rebooting mostly energizing rather than enervating. It means I must spend time reading and researching, taking advantage of analytics, and spending at least 30 minutes a day at my desk tweaking ads instead of writing. That, admittedly, is no small sacrifice given that my prime writing time is the first four hours after I wake up. Still, I am an author entrepreneur and this is just part of doing business.
Every author, whether indie or traditionally published, has a different tale regarding the publishing journey but I'm eager to share mine. In the next few 15th-of-the-month articles, I plan to take you through some of the key points I've learned about book marketing on social media, some of which may apply to my unique circumstances and some of which you may find useful. This story in multiple sections is partially a cautionary tale. I have done it all, and experience amazing success interspersed with dismal failures. I'm in the midst of a major author reset at the moment with the aim being to repeat the successes of my recent past.
First on my topic roster will be very brief, which suits the platform: Twitter. In short, I despise it. To me it's the equivalent of a drive-by shooting. I've taken courses on using the platform, studied the supposed masters, and still see little value in it for the purposes of reaching a new readership. The only positive thing I can say is that it's mostly free unless you pay for an ad. Being free means that anybody can use it to promote anything and they do. Often. Mercilessly.
Sometimes a particularly clever graphic coupled with brief header catches the attention of a few new readers, but generally the effort isn't worth the return. Maybe it's because I dislike being restricted to a set number of words, or maybe I detest feeling like a spammer of limited intelligence. Arn't those hashtags no more that gobbledygook with dual exhaust? Am I sounding like ancient history? No matter, in my opinion Twitter is designed for limited attention spans. Consider this: Trump uses it.
Plus, Twitter above all other platforms right now is proliferating spammers, horn-blowers, and tireless self-promoters. Self-promotion differs from advertising, by the way. True ad copy takes more thought than the standard monosyllabic blast I see in the Twittersphere. So, my final word on Twitter is that there are much better ways to promote one's books, which isn't to say that it doesn't help to have a presence there. By all means, be present. Just don't expect it to give back.
Here's an interesting article that offers yet another perspective: