Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rethinking Promotion Strategies

If you’re like me, you’ve lost track of the number of articles and books telling writers how to promote their work. With over a million print and e-books being published worldwide every year, we read the advice diligently, hoping for a way just to be noticed. One of the common promo tips is to involve ourselves with social media and develop a brand. Experts say it’s a must and I agreed, until a recent blog from The Militant Writer made me stop and think.

The blog states that promoting your book on Facebook and Twitter is a total waste of time, primarily because people don’t visit these sites to buy books. They go there to socialize or to promote their own books. The Militant Writer states that writers don’t buy other writers books, which hasn’t been my experience. While I like Twitter a lot and do believe it’s helped sell books, especially when offering a giveaway or reduced price, I do see The Militant Writer’s point. Twitter often feels like one giant ad board to scroll down until your eyes cross and you can’t take anymore. I often look for tweets that have no links, just to see if someone has something non-promotional to say. I try to post something every day that has no link to give myself and others a break.

I’ve been far choosier about whom I accept as friends on Facebook. For me, this site is more about checking in to see how my friends are doing than it is about promotion. Although, like all dutiful authors, I have a business page with nearly 500 “Likes”, mostly from folks who also have books to sell. My business page gives me a place to announce book news or post my blogs, but I haven’t seen this translate into sales.

You won’t be surprised to learn that The Militant Writer isn’t a fan of LinkedIn and other social media sites. I’m also not a fan of hurrying to join the next big thing, whether it’s Google+ or Pinterest. In fact, I’m kind of tired of rushing to join the crowd. The contrarian in me would much rather turn around and walk the other way.

Promotion, like many things, has phases and fads. Sooner or later, the appeal of Twitter and Facebook will fade. But then what? Maybe it’s time to rethink how I promote myself; if there are better ways to be noticed than by relying on two enormous sites. Or is it simply a matter of quality over quantity, and spending more time writing than electronic socializing/promotion?

I won’t give up on social media completely. After all, I do have friends and followers who pay attention to what I’m doing, or what I have to say. The truth is that word of mouth still sells books, and sometimes those first words come from social media, such as a comment or an online review. So I don’t completely agree with The Militant Writer. See if you do

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