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.