The big question is, does all this social media stuff work if you are a writer? Well, that depends what success is or “working” is for you. There are two criteria for me. They are sales and personal connections.
1. On sales it’s not difficult to distinguish book sales for writers who are on social media and writers who are not. On Amazon I can see authors from the same publishing house as I am with whose sales rank is 20,000 to 50,000 below mine. Some of them write great books, but they don’t do social media. I also see others who are above me. Could it simply be the quality, or lack of, that is putting me in the middle of the pack? I don’t know. One clear indicator for me is advance sales. I have links on my three blogs to pre-order The Manhattan Puzzle now and pre-order sales are better most days than sales of my other two titles. And I haven’t started tweeting about it yet. So, in summary, I wouldn’t like to have books on sale without being active on social media. Relying on traditional media would be heartbreaking. I want to do something to help my book. And I get tweets from people who have bought my books because of seeing me on social media.
2. I also have a yearning to connect with people. By putting up blog posts and responding to tweets and comments I feel real connections with people. Many are in countries I will never visit. It’s like having pen palls without all the effort. I received a picture of my novel in front of the Penang Bridge in Malaysia last year. I also received a picture of a large Tokyo bookstore where my novel was on sale. These interactions are a success to me. They make me feel good. Writing can be a lonely business.
If you want something different, a viral success on YouTube, an immediate million seller, then I think social media will disappoint. If you want some help getting noticed, an uplift in sales and people connecting with you then social media does work.
What do you think?