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LeeC
March 16th, 2016, 05:59 AM
Hope I haven't said this before, but some more feedback brought it to mind again.

Of those that've picked up my book and got back to me, most say they avoid social media. Is there a message there? I can understand it on Twitter because most posts there are people hawking their wares or causes, and are too "focused" to pay much attention to anything else. It's even a bit distasteful with all the parasites there trying to make a fast buck by liking and retweeting someone else's posts for a fee, but that's today's world. There are a few there (mostly from here) I can interact with in maintaining a presence, but like me don't spend much time there.

On the other hand, I've connected with a lot of family, and new and old friends and acquaintances on Facebook. They even generously share when I mention mine and others pieces that are on my website, but beyond increasing site traffic I don't see much increase in book sales. Granted, it's early yet and I figured it'd take at least a year for word to spread very far if ever, so maybe I'm impatient. I didn't write with an eye towards a popular theme or inclination ;-)

Correct me if I'm off base, but in a world of too much everything I see the fast track crowd as easily distracted and having shorter interest spans. I do know it helped to remove words like "literary" and "eco-fiction" for the most part. Heck, I even try to avoid using the word "book" where I can ;-)

Anyway, I was wondering about other's thoughts on the viability of social media as a "branding" platform. I already know at my age to bide my time, especially given the "Nature" of my book :-)

Good thing spring and summer are just around the bend, and I can spend most of my time outside with only my canine companion.

Best wishes to all.

Gavrushka
March 16th, 2016, 11:33 AM
I can talk a little from Twitter's perspective, and I see that 'groupings' of people with similar interests do tend to band together. - People trying to market book tend to follow other people who are trying to market a book, and the result is they try talking AT each other, with none interesting in hearing, only in saying. - I feel social media marketing has to be a more subtle affair, such as by seducing people to follow you with an entertaining blog or more diverse tweeting. IF you use social media for the sole purpose of selling, you'll tend to get muted or unfollowed.

Yes, patience is the game. Forget the product and just entertain the people, attracting more to you organically. It does take time, and how long will be linked to how long you spend on it. There are other methods of attracting followers without attracting their loyalty: you can use such devices as endless 'liking' of tweets that use a hashtag that could suggest they'd be interested in your novel - #amreading would be a good one to work with for a novelist.

But I think the most important thing is to just keep on writing. I see so many people create one novel, and then abandon/marginalise writing as they clang social media's advertising bells with a brashness that makes me shudder! A writer who stops being a writer to wear a more commercial hat will end up sliding through the gap between the two trades!

Glhadiator
March 16th, 2016, 12:26 PM
I have tried Twitter, but just can't stay with it. I browse Facebook for the same reasons you indicated. It is a great tool for connecting with people.

I find communication on Facebook ... different. About the only 'communication' going on is what I call; Meme Speak. About the only way to send any kind of message requires a Meme of some sort. Make a few Memes of your book and share them. Who knows, it might work. Then again, it's Facebook.

LeeC
March 16th, 2016, 02:53 PM
@ Glhadiator Thanks :-)

@ Gavrushka Yes Gary, I understand what your saying, but what of those that don't fit in one camp? I was nurtured in a culture that understood respectful, natural world harmonies, and that was suspicious of materialistic excesses. In the settler culture our nature is too-often glossed over in self-aggrandizing and so-called progress at any cost ― no reflection on individuals bro :-)

I see the "camps" as more "I don't want to hear it" and "Yes I'm interested," spanning varying interests. To me, associating say with only others promoting their writing, except to learn from, is missing the whole point of interacting. Of course, to me writing is more a means of interacting in exploring other's interests and finding dialogue to help them understand mine. You've likely noticed that in addition to other authors I also interact with those that are focused more on naturalistic aspects, like saving pollinators, limiting habitat destruction, and not fueling the fires of climate change, because my underlying interests are with the world my grandson will have to get by in.

I agree that standing on a street corner with a sign board only serves to isolate, but there's only so much foreplay that's accommodated before others lose interest also. We both see examples of either extreme.

In any case this dinosaur has rambled on over much, and it's a nice day the dog and I are inching to get out and enjoy.

My best wishes to you and yours.

Gavrushka
March 17th, 2016, 07:05 AM
No, you misunderstand me a little. - My comments were around the kind of followers you attract, and not who you choose to follow! - Yes, I've seen the diverse nature of your tweets, but experience of social media has taught me that there is vast swathe of users who are shallower than a puddle under the desert sun. - There are hashtags that attract them in their droves without any thought for what you're tweeting, who you are, or what message you're trying to get across. - To them, you're a drone to deliver their message to. - Communication is not bilateral! - BUT I appreciate there will be other followers too, higher quality but fewer in number, who have a genuine interest in your message. The problem is, they tend not to be quite so vocal when it comes to spreading the word.

I think the simple truth it that there are just too many writers trying to promote too many books to a comparatively small pool of potential readers. Exceptional writers with good marketing skills will do well whilst the rest will do little more than pick up a few hundred sales per annum. - The one specific thing I'd advise against is promoting books you haven't read. - Promote a review from a trusted source, but never an unread book: credibility can evaporate quicker than beef coated yummeties from a hungry dog's bowl. - Your book, along with John Bushore's '...And Remember That I am a Man.' are the only two I've ever publicly praised, because they're the only two self-published ones I've ever read that were worthy of it.

As I mentioned before, I hope you're working on a new novel now. - I'd be happy to beta again.

LeeC
March 17th, 2016, 02:49 PM
I take your point Gary and thank you.


... but experience of social media has taught me that there is vast swathe of users who are shallower than a puddle under the desert sun.
Love that line :-) You might just fit right in on the res. Kinda life in general, but our being but a variation on a theme of physical life it's to be expected ;-)


The one specific thing I'd advise against is promoting books you haven't read. - Promote a review from a trusted source, but never an unread book: credibility can evaporate quicker than beef coated yummeties from a hungry dog's bowl.
I haven't necessarily read all the books I post cover to cover, as some aren't what I commonly read, but I'm familiar enough with the authors to know their writing is mostly above average. They are also books that aren't yet a big success, and I believe the authors deserve more recognition. Of course my experience is limited and there are many more that deserve acclaim, but there's only so much time in a day and my days are running short. I'm currently waiting on the arrival of Olly's and another's cli-fi novels to read and review in more depth.


- Your book, along with John Bushore's '...And Remember That I am a Man.' are the only two I've ever publicly praised, because they're the only two self-published ones I've ever read that were worthy of it.
High praise I of course appreciate, but I'm content to let time be the judge. It all depends on where humankind is headed which is anybody's guess ;-)


As I mentioned before, I hope you're working on a new novel now.
Struggling there to make any progress, maybe because I'd be content to be an "Aldo Leopold" in staying power and possibly some measure of influence.


- I'd be happy to beta again.
As would I. Quit posting word counts and show me something I can get my teeth in. That is if you're receptive to a jaded old farts perspective :-)

Take care and may the word be with you.

InstituteMan
March 17th, 2016, 03:07 PM
Let me speak up for Twitter as a social network, although not necessarily as primarily a marketing channel.

I've never had a Facebook account, and I don't really want one after seeing my wife suffer from being on Facebook until she finally kicked them to the curb. The problem with Facebook, or at least the problems with my wife's family on Facebook (although I've seen studies bearing this out for others), is that people curate an image of themselves that is much cooler, happier, and hipper than they really are. It builds a lot of envy and false notions of what "everyone" is doing or thinking. My wife wound up not being envious so much as annoyed, since she knew that the individuals she interacted with on Facebook were putting on airs, but her overall experience was that Facebook interactions weren't very meaningful.

As for Twitter, on the other hand, underneath a lot of scam artists selling retweets and followers are actual conversations. I've found some friends, interesting conversations, and good ideas by engaging on Twitter. That engagement probably has to be topical, such as by using a hashtag search, and can't be self-promoting. The beauty is that you can have very specific conversations on Twitter--for example about an obscure sports team or a political issue at the local level.

I consciously considered and ultimately rejected the bulk approach to Twitter. I don't have a ton of followers, but I interact quite a lot with most of the followers I do have. I don't know if that will pay dividends in the form of sales, but it might--while being fun at the same time.

dale
March 17th, 2016, 04:41 PM
i can't do the twitter thing, either. it's too limiting for one. and i'm just not real interested in what anyone else has to say there,
so i kind of figure no one's really interested with what i have to say there, either. my facebook author page? i like it, but i don't
think it really does me much good from a marketing perspective. my facebook personal page? i do have a lot of fun on that.

Gavrushka
March 17th, 2016, 04:52 PM
As would I. Quit posting word counts and show me something I can get my teeth in. That is if you're receptive to a jaded old farts perspective :-)

Take care and may the word be with you.

Ah, I've six completed novels, but they're speculative fiction and I know that's not your preferred genre. - I should have posted the replacement opening prose for the 'Shaded Mountain', which turned the short opening Shakespearian melodrama into 5,000 words that could fall under the category of, umm, young adult speculative (and historical) fiction... :P


Let me speak up for Twitter as a social network, although not necessarily as primarily a marketing channel.


I love Twitter and, yes, I've a number of people I can have a good conversation with on there.

Facebook chills my blood. I felt like prey as every shadow from my past leapt at me and demanded my attention. Closed my account, but still Facebook send me three and more emails every day (4 years on...)

LeeC
March 17th, 2016, 05:38 PM
@ Gavrushka

Hey, I read speculative fiction as much of it is in a sense eco-fiction. Did you enjoy the movie Avatar? The cli-fi book I'm waiting on to read and review is speculative fiction set in Australia a hundred years from now. What I look for in them is getting a little heavy handed on the message, as opposed to being entertaining enough for someone to read without realizing there might be a message (until their perspective broadens). Even apocalyptic shorts I've read here are an imagined consequence form of eco-fiction, with even the author not necessarily intending.

Just 'cause I'm not into writing that kind of story doesn't mean I can't appreciate it.

So there :-)

I wasn't promoting Facebook as better than Twitter. Some's styles and subject matter just don't fit into abbreviated tweets, and then there's the aspect of all the hash tags crowded in that make them harder to read.

One thing I bemoan on Facebook is coming across new generations of relatives that make me feel ancient.


----------------

That cli-fi book just arrived, so I better get with it.

Gavrushka
March 17th, 2016, 08:31 PM
Haha, that's me told, and I do apologise for being so damned assumptive!

It's funny, but this last few days I've been writing (WIP fantasy novel) about humankind's mistaken belief that the purpose of nature is to serve us. - I think literary and eco fiction can and do exist just as much in scifi and fantasy as in 'standard' fiction. - I'd struggle to write any novel that didn't have a strong vein of social commentary running through it. There is no ambiguity between entertaining and educating by way of prose. Indeed, one without the other is the lesser work.

Avatar was a great and very unsubtle tale, and I enjoyed the film very much. - In a story, I prefer the message to be spoken softly, almost subliminally, but I think it's important that the effect on the reader is carried with them after they've read the final page.

I've a lot of readers, aged from teens to pushing eighty, and the reason I've not been seeking more is because I've been working on additional volumes for an existing series. - Introducing new ones would mean them reading novels that I've already signed off as 'do not disturb until experience has taught me to write a better version'. - They're available to read for pleasure and broad comment, but I'm not looking to rework them in the foreseeable future.

Sorry, I'm subverting a thread that had a very different purpose!

Aquilo
March 18th, 2016, 11:54 AM
I don't talk to family on Facebook, to be honest. I don't go out and add friends, and new incoming friends aren't friended unless they have 50 friends in common. That's as much to let me breathe and post normally as well as protecting my friends and allowing them to be themselves. But I think our community is pretty unique, offering a support network that other genres don't offer, which is such a shame. I think if you're using it for a hard sell, then it will turn people away. I know I've unfriended authors who have friended, then just gone for 100% promotion of their work.

I also have an author page on Facebook, which is used for promo, but that's only surrounding a release etc.

The two differ so much on approach. I think it just depends how honest you are with your posts and talking to other people on their posts. It's not about you on there, you're part of a group. As much as I love to come across readers, authors, editors, photographers who love our genre, I'm more comfortable with people in general who come and... goof off and share lives on Monster Busters etc. I'm serious about writing and editing, but I'm serious about taking a break too and just... not talking about writing and editing.

LeeC
March 18th, 2016, 05:13 PM
I don't talk to family on Facebook, to be honest. I don't go out and add friends, and new incoming friends aren't friended unless they have 50 friends in common.
Sounds like some pretty tough criteria, but I understand where you're coming from and respect everyone's need to feel comfortable.

My presence on social media was spurred by the idea of "branding," though not in my case for material gain, in trying to increase awareness of the natural world that sustains our very being. That for the sake of my grandson who will have to get by in a world we've done so much to change. I understand generally, in being but a variation of physical life, why we conduct ourselves the way we do on the whole, but hold out hope for the human potential to overcome our shortcomings. Understand I'm not belittling human existence, but rather have taken note of the subjective commonality of all life forms in my ecological studies. I also believe we recognize behavioral shortcomings, given they're so common in our writing as a source of conflict, but in good part don't seem to address our potential other than idealistically. Maybe in part there's a fear of respectful natural world harmony, given a grand scheme of life being fueled by life, and in trying to isolate ourselves fall victim to our fears.

But there I go again rambling on. Please forgive my cultural influences.

Beyond the "branding" aspect of social media, I also see what can be beneficial to a writer. That is:

"A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick collecting stuff." ~ Tony Hillerman

I've also come to believe social media can be a mutually beneficial experience, in taking interest in and noting other's writing that doesn't stray too far afield. Yes, I've limits also, like removing a BIL's posts from my timeline because he advocates an overly divisive politician.

Anyway, I do understand and respect individual needs to feel comfortable. My underlying comfort zone is to be out in nature, observing and reveling in the biodiversity that's the essence of my existence.

My best to you and yours :-)

Aquilo
March 19th, 2016, 01:17 AM
Sounds like some pretty tough criteria, but I understand where you're coming from and respect everyone's need to feel comfortable.

To be honest, it's come from hard lessons. :) We get targeted so many times by different groups. Photographers have been banned because they've shown images of wounded soldiers, authors have been banned for cover art, or they'll have posts reported, even if it's just a picture of a guy in a T-shirt. We can get some pretty vicious comments on timelines, too. I've been very lucky and gone through it, but a fair few authors, especially the male authors can get a pretty rough ride. So we go by 'friend if they're friendly with the community'. It's not just that, it's the damn ads too. :) the guy who does the sunglasses... by heck... friend him, and your timeline is invaded with sunglasses ads.

I don't mind the cultural musings at all. :) I'm in love with landscape photography. My dad used to take me all over the country, visiting different waterfalls, walking Welsh land... *sighs* they were good times, with a good man.

Gavrushka
March 19th, 2016, 09:17 AM
Are you talking abuse as opposed to harsh critique? Is there mechanism for the administrators of Facebook to ban such trollish behaviour? Or is that there's a financial angle for such companies to tolerate their existence?

Facebook left me feeling overwhelmed, perhaps even vulnerable, during the short time I was one of their users; I can only begin to imagine the potential for harm amongst those less resilient than myself.

Aquilo
March 19th, 2016, 07:29 PM
It's abuse and general harassment mostly. The latest being towards gay author and photographer D.W, Skinner. He had a number of his photos reported, one being a picture of a married gay couple kissing. The one husband had a bottle of wine in his hand. It was reported, with a comment left on a friend's timeline of how they had to drug the one gay *******. Michael Stokes is another photographer who gets targeted, both with his two guys kissing and with his disability portraits. (http://michaelstokes.net/collections/frontpage/products/copy-of-alex-minsky-8-5-x-11-edition-of-101) K.c. Wells had this book cover banned: First (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26173830-first?from_search=true&search_version=service)

It gets stupid at times, to be honest. People friend just to report, when at the end of the day if they don't want to see it, they just don't have to friend.



Are you talking abuse as opposed to harsh critique? Is there mechanism for the administrators of Facebook to ban such trollish behaviour? Or is that there's a financial angle for such companies to tolerate their existence?

Facebook left me feeling overwhelmed, perhaps even vulnerable, during the short time I was one of their users; I can only begin to imagine the potential for harm amongst those less resilient than myself.

Gavrushka
March 19th, 2016, 08:58 PM
Whoever is in power within Facebook making these decisions is promoting a bigoted agenda. - It seems turned on its head for you to have to build a fortress to keep such vile people at arm's length. - Surely much of the UK's mainstream media would fall over themselves to run this story.

I am staggered as, no matter how you look at this, Stokes, Wells and many others are victims of company-sanctioned bigotry.

Do something; you simply must.

Aquilo
March 19th, 2016, 10:12 PM
You'd think they'd pick up that LGBT community gets targeted more than most. Confuses the hell out of me. They've only got to look at the stats.

Heather_Scott
April 10th, 2016, 03:54 PM
It sounds like you are using Facebook incorrectly. You need to be using a fan page not a personal page. You can select your target audience then go from there.

The_Scribbler
May 13th, 2016, 03:31 PM
Hope I haven't said this before, but some more feedback brought it to mind again.

Of those that've picked up my book and got back to me, most say they avoid social media. Is there a message there? I can understand it on Twitter because most posts there are people hawking their wares or causes, and are too "focused" to pay much attention to anything else. It's even a bit distasteful with all the parasites there trying to make a fast buck by liking and retweeting someone else's posts for a fee, but that's today's world. There are a few there (mostly from here) I can interact with in maintaining a presence, but like me don't spend much time there.

On the other hand, I've connected with a lot of family, and new and old friends and acquaintances on Facebook. They even generously share when I mention mine and others pieces that are on my website, but beyond increasing site traffic I don't see much increase in book sales. Granted, it's early yet and I figured it'd take at least a year for word to spread very far if ever, so maybe I'm impatient. I didn't write with an eye towards a popular theme or inclination ;-)

Correct me if I'm off base, but in a world of too much everything I see the fast track crowd as easily distracted and having shorter interest spans. I do know it helped to remove words like "literary" and "eco-fiction" for the most part. Heck, I even try to avoid using the word "book" where I can ;-)

Anyway, I was wondering about other's thoughts on the viability of social media as a "branding" platform. I already know at my age to bide my time, especially given the "Nature" of my book :-)

Good thing spring and summer are just around the bend, and I can spend most of my time outside with only my canine companion.

Best wishes to all.

Twitter is actually a fantastic platform to build your brand, and it's something you should absolutely do. Tons of agents are on twitter, so are editors, publishing houses, bloggers, marketers, etc. I entered a pitch contest on twitter and got my agent that way. There are so many opportunities through social media to build a platform. Twitter is more for networking then selling, but you can sell through there as well.

Right now, however, if you're strictly looking for book sales, Facebook ads are doing extremely well. So are having Facebook groups for published authors. The author is then able to directly interact with their readers. Word of mouth spreads, etc.

The trick is not to be a bot who only does sales posts. BUY MY BOOK! Well, you'd have a better chance of that if you act like a person and interact on social media as opposed to just putting up sale ads. Network and get to know people. It goes a long way for branding and building a platform.

dday9
June 16th, 2016, 04:48 PM
I am not a marketing guru by any means, nor am I an established writer with years of experience marketing in this particular industry.

I do however, own an insurance agency and marketing in insurance is a constantly changing piece in the puzzle. Whenever I first looked into targeting social media, my sales manager that the company that I'm appointed with assigned to me suggested to stay away from social media. His exact words were:

Whenever I am on Facebook or Twitter, the last thing I am looking to do is buy insurance.

However, I was wise to ignore his advise. Somebody else(who will remain nameless) gave me a different set of advise. They said:

You may generate a sell from somebody as a result of social media and that new customer wouldn't even know that social media was the reason why they decided to ask your for a quote in the first place.

What was followed up with the quote was an explanation that a person may see your advertising on social media for a 1/2 a second and move on, but that 1/2 a second is enough for your image and/or company to be planted into their mind. Then whenever that person goes to eat out with some peers and discuss how they're upset that they've taken another rate increase on their insurance and how the insurance industry is a terrible, terrible thing, their peers may suggest for them to shop around. Finally they will pick up the phone and call you asking for a quote. Whenever you ask them how they heard about your office, they might say that they passed by or that their friends suggested that they shop around, but they will almost never say "I saw your ad on Facebook."

The point that I am trying to get across is that social media marketing is a very passive marketing technique that is difficult to measure. If I had to guess my return on investment for social media advertising, I'd say that it is about 0.5%.

My suggestion would be to take what your gross revenue generated by a single book is, multiply that amount by the result of how many books will see at a 0.5% to 2% ROI, and see if mathematically it will make sense to do the marketing. You will also need to consider how much time and energy you will be taking to personally promote your book and subtract that from your gross revenue.

In terms of marketing books, I highly recommend Dan S. Kennedy's No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing if you are truly interested in social media marketing. By the way, if you do decide to do this then you will need to stop projecting your political views. My biggest take away from the book was that 40% of people will lean to one side, 40% will lean to the other, while the other 10% don't really identify with either side... do you really want to upset 1/2 of your potential marketing audience?