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.