Like the ever-wise Anne R. Allen said in her most recent blog post, social media is still a writers best bet to visibility. But it's not really about book marketing. Social media has gotten a bad rap in the writing community, and for good reason. Anybody's whose gotten a BUY MY BOOK message on Twitter knows how spammy things can feel. Social media is a weird thing, because on the one hand, it's the last thing that's going to help you sell books, and on the other, its the only thing that's going to help you sell books. I'll try to explain what I mean.
Social media is not marketing. At least not what we think of as typical marketing. If you're trying to use social media as a billboard or a flier or a sales pitch, its not really going to work. If people don't really know you, they're hesitant to give you any of their spare seconds, let alone spare change, especially if what's coming from you is sales and not anything particularly helpful for them.
Social media is social. Social media is an excellent platform for meeting like-minded and interesting people. This is why, in my opinion, consistency and longevity, are the most important things to focus on, rather than flash in the pan type of strategies. You can start making industry connections before you've ever written a word. You can start learning from the professionals, engaging with other writers, and learning about all the various opportunities. That is what social media is good for. And then when you've learned and improved and have a quality book ready to go out into the world, you'll have a community of people who know you and are supportive and excited for you.
This has been on my mind lately in part because of Anne's excellent post, and also because of the Pitch Wars competition going on this week. (Deadline is Monday, so you still have time. Seriously, it is so worth checking out, and check out the #PitchWars hashtag on Twitter too.) This is one of the most supportive and engaging online writing communities I've ever participated in. I've met new people who've given me great feedback on my chapters and query letter. I've had questions answered and interacted with writers who are much further along in their careers than I am. I've even had the opportunity to answer a few questions myself.
To me, this is what social media is all about. Start now, and be genuine. That way people know that what you have is valuable, and then when they see you have a book out, they'll trust that it will be valuable too.
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