My Social Media Experience
If you’ve given up on the idea of trying to find a publisher or an agent for your books as I have, there is always self-publishing. To help you, there is lots of information on the web extolling how to self-publish, market, or make a book a best-seller. Some of this information is even ‘free’ but mostly redundant. Sure, you’ll see seventeen, fifty-five, or seventy-one ways to promote and market your writing, but if you want the ‘secret’ it will cost you. Do you really believe your writing is that good that it is worth spending your precious dollars to get it out to the public? If so, go for it. But if you do not have deep pockets, you are likely to fall short.
I believe my books reach the level of entertainment (read Author’s Corner) but to date have fallen short of gaining the numbers of reading audience I would like, or, securing that one voice everyone listens to and then runs to buy my work. Could I become a best-selling author? I probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning.
Social media, along with book platforms like Amazon and Smashwords have helped independent authors like me to achieve a degree of success – some more than others. But your success using them lies, in part, on your social networking skills. In other words, how much interest can you generate in your book(s) and how much traffic can you drive to these platforms. Because until you achieve certain levels of sales or reviews, those platforms do little to help market you.
Let’s take Facebook as an example. If your social network is small or mostly family oriented, it likely isn’t going to help you. One of the more common cries among independent authors is that their families and friends don’t read them. Now that should fall in the category of a phenomenon by itself, but if that’s true (and is my own experience), then their support using social media is going to be limited at best. I tried Facebook, but found it clumsy for my purposes and felt in competition with pictures of the kids, family pets, or the latest event rather than getting out the message on my books.
I believe I had limited success using Twitter. It may have helped to a certain extent, but there, I followed and was followed mostly by other authors trying to promote their own writings or the many businesses trolling for my attention. My Goodreads experience was about the same. Only there, your book can become one of thousands in somebody’s future read file – I thought about that for a long time. I'm no longer active on Goodreads but here is a link to my Goodreads blog if you want to take a look: www.goodreads.com/author/show/9857466.Anthony_Mays/blog
I am on Pinterest and have my own boards which I believe are interesting but, after quite a while on the site, my following has not significantly improved.
I also recently went to LinkedIn but I probably need to give that forum a chance before making any concrete decisions about it.
Most successful to date is my own website. At least I know people are looking at it daily and I can usually see trends between book sales and my website traffic. Note: I do not use my website’s ‘Contact Me’ to track email addresses for email marketing campaigns. Marketers will cringe at me saying that, but I respect my fans’ privacy.
I’ve also made attempts to get on local radio and television to share my authorship within my surrounding community but, so far, have been ignored. And almost every book blogger I looked up either had peculiar rules to follow, or, weren’t taking on any new books. You know, all those now defunct sites.
So, all these efforts appear to boil down to how good was I at getting attention. As you can probably tell – not very good – I’m still trying though. So, if you see me standing on a city street corner holding up my sign touting myself as an author, I can only hope that lightning strikes me (and I live) so I can finally get the attention I need to get my name out there.
If you have your own story, I’d love to see it.