Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HOW USEFUL IS FACEBOOK AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA?

Copied with Google Images
In your opinion, do you feel that Facebook provides an advantage to your ability to share your books or is it just a giant "timesuck?"

I go there to promote myself, but tend to get caught up in commenting on other's posts, playing games, and trying to avoid arguments.

When I first became an author, publishers pushed you to have your own website, myspace page, and even a monthly newsletter so you could better connect with readers.  Now there are so many authors using social media, I'm wondering if I'm just lost in an ocean of blurbs and covers.  Is there a more efficient way to get your work in front of an audience?

 Over the years, my newsletter turned to a blog...this one, which I appreciate much more because I can share issues on a daily basis if I wish, and if someone leaves a comment, I can respond...which puts me more in touch with visitors.

When Rita Karnopp joined me as a partner, the variation of posts helped grow our popularity.  I stuck more with relying on guests to help keep my weekly features going, and Rita, tended to publish helpful tips and hints about writing.  Sadly, Rita is retiring from blogging, but I'm lucky to have snagged Jamie Hill.  I wonder what type of posts she has in mind for us.

Anyhow...I've made it my mission each day to share our posts on FB, Twitter, Pinterest and Google.  Whether or not it helps with sales, I'm not sure, but I do know one thing...if you don't keep your name out there, you'll be lost in the sea of every growing authors.

 Twenty years ago, when I started writing, people who read and reviewed my books were only readers, and now years later, they have become authors as well.  Finding a place that will review your work requires twice the effort it once took.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  I recently read an exchange on Facebook between two reviewers, and they talked about how boring blurbs have become.  Sometimes authors don't have much recourse, but my publisher has always told me that you should strive to snag the interest of the reader.  I thought I was doing that, but my books don't seem to get reviewed on the major sites I used to count on.  I don't think I'm boring.  *lol*

Back to Facebook.  I've given up Myspace, Linked In and yahoo groups and moved with the times.  Linked In doesn't seem like a good fit, and I don't understand how people who don't even know you can "endorse" you for talents in certain areas.  I'm about to surrender my website because of the costs involved because I feel I can get the same coverage on my blog and share the same information.  I'm sad to let http://www.gingersimpson.com go, but only because there is a bit of myself in the design since I did the website myself.

Is it just me, or did everyone give up reading yahoo groups?  Some authors have even gone "digest" on their author's loops.  That, to me is a sad testimony of fear to participate in a group.  I can say that because it's happened to me.  I have too little time left on this earth to worry about being singled out for daring to ask a question. I swore I would never go digest on such an important loop, but... Okay...rant over.

Twitter seems to be helpful only to those popular folks who are trending.  I belong to Triberr, but I'm not sure all the effort I put into sharing everyone else's post is helping me.  I'm so confused!

I guess what I'm wondering...are we authors really spinning our wheels?  Every day, FB is saturated with shares from authors about books coming, new, and old.  Is there a secret to making people want to read your books to find out what type of author you are?  Does posting every day to FB make people excited to read your work or bore them to tears?  Do people even read our tweets?

I rearely get comments, but I'm hoping for some today.  Please share your thoughts.  I've always followed the rule that if you don't keep your name in the public eye, you'll disappear.  What do you think?


14 comments:

Jamie Hill said...

I think you're spot on with your observations about social media. FB is probably the biggest, most popular and most useful right now. I don't spend much time in the groups designed for promoting. Remember when the Yahoo groups were the thing, and there would be one promo message after another and you would just skim or ignore them? FB has become that, with pictures. LOL
Still, I think we have to do a certain amount of promo there. I don't personally find Twitter useful. Those who do tell me they have to tweet regularly throughout the day and share dialog with others, not promo. Sorry, but I don't have time for that. I have a life and a family, too. I gave up MySpace years ago and never joined LinkedIn. I'm still a member of a few Yahoo groups but am mostly no mail, they're still all promo. Interesting post Ginger. I think I'll do one on the same topic soon. :)

Sheila Myers said...

I just 'blogged' about this very thing. Personally I am tired of the people that use social media to send constant messages of "BUY MY BOOK". I enjoy interacting with my followers and like to read witty or newsworthy things from them. I don't mean to self-promote here but I wrote all about this in a blog so here is the link.

http://www.wwdurantstory.com/tracking-william-west-durant---blog/social-media-wont-sell-my-book

Roseanne Dowell said...

I've wondered the same thing myself. I have two facebooks, one as an author and one with friends and family. I do try to promote my books to a point in the author one, but I don't want to bore my readers with continuous buy my book blurbs. Sometimes I post cute things about reading. Does it help my sales? At this point I'm not sure if anything is helping my sales and I'm not sure what to do next.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
It is hard these days, the internet is saturated with authors trying to promote. I still belong to a few yahoo groups, but it is just for the friendship part of it now.
As for FB. A friend put me on it when it first started up, never used it until the last 12 months or so and I am still "learning." Whether it helps sales, I don't know. I think it helps when you have post your Free book, but for the paid books, not sure. Of course, FB are always tampering with it, making it even harder.

Cheers

Margaret

Juliet Waldron said...

That's about it, Ginger!
FB=Time Suck. Darned if I know where to go or what to do. I use a separate FB for my books, but don't tend it as much as I probably should.

Tricia McGill said...

This is such a great subject, Ginger and I agree with you. I gave up My Space years ago and have recently given up LinkedIn as like you I found it strange that people who didn't know me from a bar of soap endorsed me just so I would return the favor. I joined Twitter but found it was so confusing for me I had to back out really fast. There are not enough hours in each day to catch up with everything. I feel that all we can do as authors is appeal to our readers as best we can and hope that someone out there continues to enjoy reading what we write. Like you I started in ebooks at the very beginning and got reviews as soon as I submitted but nowadays the reviews are few and far between.

Gail Roughton said...

Well, I know my answer isn't for everybody but frankly--I started writing for pure pleasure. It was a mental jigsaw puzzle, a personal maze, that I enjoyed navigating. "Promo", including social media, about sucked the joy right out of it. It wasn't long before I realized I could either write or promo. Because as Jamie said, I have a life. Small grandchildren I'm fortunate to be able to actually see everyday who, like my own children, won't be small long. A husband of almost 40 years to watch tv with and hold hands as we stroll the aisles of Home Depot (yeah, I'm a true romantic, huh?). So for me the decision was a no brainer. I don't do social media other than the occasional blog on my publisher's site because honestly, one of the first things I noticed is that only other writers read writer's blogs. Or websites. I certainly don't read obvious promo and can't imagine any reader does. I do have an author as well as a personal facebook, but I don't promo on it. I post things about writing that catch my fancy, some humor, announce that occasional blog post and any new release. And that's about it. And honestly, about all I'm ever going to do.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Sheila,
In the defense of authors who advertise their work, that is what we've been instructed to do in order to keep our names in the limelight. Most of us are signed with small publishing companies who rely on us to do the majority of the marketing and promotion, therefore, you'll continue to see message of "Buy my Book." In fact, there are several groups that have formed that have mainly to do with books, reviews, and purchases. I for one, think it's a big waste of time because we have worn out our welcome as far as sales promotion goes. We used to be involved in yahoo groups, as Jamie said, but those became so saturated with blurbs and links, people just resigned and left. Thanks for visiting, and I'm off tyo read your blog post.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Jamie,
As far as tweeting...I joined Triberr and spend about 5 minutes a day approving all the posts that have fed from various blogs. In return, other authors are supposed to do the same, but then I question if anyone even reads those tweets with so many "famous" people trending and tweeting their every move. I'm thinking it's time for me to retire.

Jamie Hill said...

Ginger, every TV show on now has a tweet handle at the bottom of the screen. It's funny to see all the celebrities' Twitter profiles. They have scores of followers and they might follow just a handful of people themselves. Really not sure it's worth it.

Sydell Voeller said...

Promo poses a dilemma, doesn't it? I've noticed on FB that whenever I post a personal photo or message, I usually get lots of responses. Whenever I do a book promo, however, I'm lucky if I get two likes. I still believe I get my best results when I promote on FB, but for the reasons I just stated, I often grit my teeth while I'm doing it.

Victoria Chatham said...

Right on Ginger! Great post. I have never been a social media fan. I'm really quite a private person and have struggled with various platforms. I opted out of LinkedIn over a year ago, Tweet so rarely I'm thinking of closing that, too, and I'm not even fond of my website. I'm not one who can zip through things super fast as some people seem to do. It all takes me time that I'd rather put to my writing. Having followed several authors blogs and comments, there is no magic formula to whether social media is a help or a not. At a conference or workshop several years ago an author (name escapes me now) said the best advice she was ever given with regard to social media was to choose one platform and get to know it really well. There's a world outside my window and I want to enjoy it, so social media is very low on my scale of things to do.

Janet Walters said...

I use social media. Does it help with sales. I'm not sure. But it doesn't take me that much time since I use the fly by kind of thing. Check to see what's new with the people I know. Post what I want to post. Exposure is the thing. I only have one page on Facebook but I seldom post anything that's personal. I do blog every day and use Yahoo groups to promote the blog. I'm a member of several Triberr groups and that seems to grow my presence on other groups. Who knows what social media does or doesn't do.

Sheila Claydon said...

Have come to this late Ginger having just logged into the writer's loop and seen your email with the link. All this week I've been nursing a sick granddaughter, collecting another one from school and feeding the whole family. Not complaining, just saying that this and similar activities are the reasons that social media frequently falls to the bottom of the to do pile, and that I think is its real problem. Finding time to write is difficult enough, let alone promoting, and yet if we don't we feel guilty. Before I read your post I was already thinking about this so I'm glad to discover I'm not the only one. Thank you for airing your thoughts about what is becoming a real dilemma for writers.

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction