Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Etc…a Semi-Often Assessment

I’ve been blogging for several years now. I’ve been on Facebook over a year, I’m sure, and Twitter not quite so long. Every now and then, I stop and just look at what’s going on out there, at the conversations I’m taking part in, at the people I’ve met. And I’m pretty much amazed.

I’ve talked about social networking a couple of times here, discussing its value and its distractions. Since my books been out a few months now, it seemed like a good time for another check-in.

I have to tell you, I’m convinced.

I don’t really know how well my book is selling. I know that it is selling, if only from watching the stats on Amazon go up and down, and down and up. The most that tells me is that every now and then, someone heads over there & buys a copy. I know from my own blog stats that people do head over to the other links I’ve got up (IndieBound, Writer’s Digest, etc.) but I can’t tell you what they’re doing when they get there–browsing or buying.

What I do know is that people I have never met or talked to in person, people I would have been hard-pressed to even find out about without social networking, have bought my book. How? Well, frankly, because they’re nice enough to tell me. Or blog about it. Or recommend it on a discussion forum. Which, every time it happens, honestly makes me say, “Whee!”

Does this mean you’ll see me on the NY Times Bestseller List next week? Um, no. Does this mean I’ll be getting that butler anytime soon. Not so much. Does it mean that social networking has expanded my word-of-mouth capability, so that I have better chances of a second printing, sooner rather than later? I believe so. There are people talking about my book in Virginia, in parts of New England, in Texas. I’m in California. Yes, it helps incredibly to have Writer’s Digest behind this book–you could hide my mailing list in a teensy-weensy corner of theirs and never find it! I also believe, though, that by being out there on the Internet, I’m doing my part.

Honestly, I’d be out there even if I didn’t have a book to talk about. The Internet is an incredible place, or maybe it’s just the writers’ corner that’s so warm and welcoming. I get support, I hear about books, and I listen to jokes. Yes, I get overloaded; yes, I take breaks. It’s a party, though, that I want to come back to. For whatever reason, this in-person introvert is a happily extroverted social-networker.

If I was doing this JUST for the marketing & sales benefits, I think I’d go nuts. I have to remind myself to type in the title of my book the times I do mention it! I think if all I used social-networking for was sales and marketing, I’d need a Dorian Gray painting in my office, to collect all the bad feelings I’d be carrying around and hide them under a happy facade. I can’t work that way, and I don’t want to.

That’s the thing. Once you step out here, you’ll be handed plenty of “shoulds.” You should be on Facebook. You should be on Twitter. Get into a chat. Blog daily.

Sit back and watch your head explode. 🙂

You have to do it your way. And start slow. The one thing I’m learning lately is that baby steps work. Pick one thing and do it gently. Set up a Facebook page and add a dozen people. Sit with that for a while–read their updates, leave a comment if you want, post your own update every few days. Ready for more? Great! Add a few more friends. Or if you like a bit more craziness in your feed, go for Twitter. Post a few times in the mornings before you start work. Skim what’s happening in the updates, and don’t feel like you have to keep up. (I’ll tell you a secret…you can’t!) Play.

Is social-networking worth it? This month’s assessment says a definite yes. It’s worth it because it helps a writer connect up with other writers and readers around the world, to hear what’s happening with them in England or Egypt or Southern California, and to share what’s happening with you.

Sometimes this turns into a sale. Sometimes it turns into a smile, a laugh, or a new friend.

Okay by me.

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8 thoughts on “Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Etc…a Semi-Often Assessment

  1. Sit back and watch my head explode? I think I just did. (Love that line, BTW)

    So glad I met you via LJ. Love that you are an introvert – even though I wouldn’t have guessed it. I think that’s why you’re such a great critiquer – you observe well.

    And just so you know, your book is being discussed in NC too.

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    • beckylevine says:

      I tend not to be too much of an in-person introvert (as in shy) around other writers, but get me in a bunch of people I don’t know & who I don’t have anything in common with, and I’m running for the corner! Plus–it’s like they say at Shrinking Violets–I need ALONE time to recharge. I think that’s why I do like social networking–it’s really just me, here, at my little desk.

      And I LOVE North Carolina!

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  2. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Hear, hear!
    And I think the internet is an introvert’s dream. I love being online, because I can post and respond at my own pace.

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  3. Becky, I would have never heard of your wonderful critique book if I had not been on facebook. I live and write mostly alone, and facebook has been a blessing–mostly. Hahahaha.I can stay part of the human race for a few minutes! I hope you sell a million copies of your book!

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  4. Thanks for this posting, Becky. It’s an interesting looking blog and I hope to browse around more.

    Maybe you or someone here could assist me. I’m in the development stages of building my ‘platform’ for my children’s book, Guardian Cats. I have a FB Fan page, blog and website. But I also have a problem. The book is done and I’m doing the final editing, but it’s not published yet.

    So I’m not sure how to approach the social media thing while I’m still ‘under construction’. Somehow I don’t think a daily, or even weekly update that informs ‘yeah! I cleaned up another chapter today’ would be all that riveting. 🙂 Any thoughts on how unpublished writers can get a headstart with social networking? Thanks.

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    • beckylevine says:

      Hey–thanks for stopping by. Congrats on your book!

      I took a look at your blog, and it seems to me you’re already getting started on that platform. I think most of social networking (for me, anyway) is not about telling people about your book, but actually getting to know people on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads–joining in conversations, passing on news, things like that. My gut is that once people “know” you out here, they may take a look at your website or hear about your book & decide to take a look. So it seems to me like you’re headed in the right direction–spend time online talking to people about life and writing and drop in a mention of your book every so often.

      You might want to take a look at Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest blog–There Are No Rules
      http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/

      Jane is very up on marketing & social networking and how to use it all, and she’s definitely an advocate of getting started BEFORE the book comes out.

      Hope this helps some–good luck!

      Like

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