By the end of this year, I will have published five mystery novels since 2008. While I’m kind of proud of this accomplishment, I have to say that effective marketing is still a hurdle for me. Discussions with colleagues and my writers’ group over the years has provided some useful insights, but as with everything, things change.
My return to a full-time day job six months ago forced me to drastically cut the amount of time I spend on social media promotion and you know what? It’s okay. I’ve found that participation in the ten social media sites I belonged to had little to do with generating sales. Part of the reason was that most of the people who followed, joined, and linked with me are also writers eager to promote their books. How many of us actually reach readers? Are we doing enough? Are we doing the right things?
When I came across a blog by Anne R. Allen, listing seven ways writers waste time building a social media platform, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what she said, and feeling kind of relieved because I wasn’t doing most of it anyway. In Allen’s view the following are time wasters:
. Racking up thousands of Twitter followers
. Madly promoting your ‘Like’ page on Facebook
. Gathering a huge list of names for a newsletter
. Participating in expensive, grueling blog tours
. Blogging everyday
. Blog hopping
. Worrying about your Klout or other social media rating.
Allen provides reasons about why these things are often useless time sucks. Of the seven, the only one I tried was promoting ‘Likes’ on FB, but again, most of the Likes came from other writers doing the same thing. I’ve never been overly interested in checking out my ratings, and stopped using Klout because it was just annoying. Two blogs a week have always been plenty for me. My other blog focuses on fraud and was created to help keep people informed and aware of the importance of protecting their personal information. It’s more of a personal service thing than a buy-my-book thing.
Allen also identifies the promotion strategies she believes works these days, which is freebies and book sales through places like Bookbub, E-Reader and News Daily, if you can afford them. She also points out that the online world reinvents itself every couple of years. I’m not sure it happens that quickly, but it does change. The real challenge and time drain is trying to keep up with it all and find what works.