Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is it time to give up on social media?

Lots of exciting things happening on the internet this week. First off, I've got a guest post over at The Unicorn Bell talking about the crucial elements of a query letter. Second, The IndieReCon online conference. It's a free online conference jam packed full of great information for writers. It's where I found this article from Michael Alvear about selling books without wasting time on Twitter, blogs and Facebook.

The author argues that even with years of toiling and perfection, authors won't be able to sell books using social media until they are already a highly successful author. I assume he equates selling books on social media to an author such as JK Rowling jumping on twitter, announcing she just put a new Harry Potter book out on Pottermore and then sitting back while a million readers rush to buy a copy.

Only, I completely disagree.

You see, the author punches time spent on social media and book sales into a formula and the equation ends up horribly unbalanced. But I think he misses the true value of social media.

It isn't in book sales. At least not directly. Social pays its dividends in connections. That's why it's social media and not sales media. And those connections, if cultivated and treated as friendships rather than sales opportunities, can be priceless.

Connections can introduce us to new readers, share ideas, pass along opportunities, spread the word, and dozens of other "payments" that can't be calculated with a Return On Investment formula.

So, no, you won't be able to input the hours spent crafting blog posts, updating Facebook or Tweeting into a spreadsheet and output a direct correlation to book sales. But if that's why you're using social media, you're missing the point entirely.

I'd love to hear about the benefits you've received from using social media. Let me know in the comments about all the indirect success you've found through your online connections.

14 comments:

  1. For a moment there, I thought you were going to disappear from the internet.

    Please choose less coronary-inducing blog post titles, Sarah!

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    1. Whoops! Didn't mean to shock you. :) I can't imagine giving up the blog.

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  2. I use social media to talk to other writers and readers. I've met so many great people that way and it's a wonderful community to belong to. I see it as making connections, not as making money.

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    1. And those connections can lead to all kinds of great things. :) After all, I met you via YALITCHAT.

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  3. Great post Sarah! While I'm not an author, I think this post rings true across just about every industry. As they say, it's not what you know, but who you know.

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    1. So true. The same principle can be applied to any business model. Good to "see" you. :)

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  4. Yes, social media is for social, not sales. Lol. I've learned SO much about writing (links, etc.) and business of writing on Twitter, we could call it TwitterVersity. Seriously. I met so much wonderful on twitter and from blogs.
    --even met my writers group through twitter. the group is crazy-awesome. Good post Sarah. Thank you.

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    1. So true. I always tell newbie writers to get on twitter and follow every professional they can find. It's a never ending source of information. And yeah for awesome crit groups. :)

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  5. Social media is a wonderful way to meet other writers and bloggers. I just released my debut novel yesterday. Without the friends and contacts I'd made through social media, I don't know how I'd go about getting the word out. Sure I don't post "BUY MY BOOK" all over Twitter and FB. Did that ever work? I also read Mr. Avlear's ideas. A well-meaning friend gave me his book. While I think he has some good points, I like connecting with people, so I'll stay on the social media train.

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    1. Congrats on the new book! I think Avlear has some great ideas for boosting sales on Amazon, but his advice to ditch social media is perhaps a bit misguided. Glad to hear you're sticking with us.

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  6. It's all about making friends and having fun. That's the best way to make a lasting connection. I love helping other writers and hope they'll be kind enough to return the favor.

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  7. I have a love and hate relationship with social media. I love the friends I've made using social media, but I hate how it can eat up the clock.

    Another great post. :)

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  8. Social media has been great for connecting with the writing community. I'm in a small town without much in-person writing support and it's awesome to know I can get that from Twitter.

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  9. I had an online launch party that translated into sales and I made some new online friends.

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