On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I don't like Facebook and Twitter as a Book Marketing Strategy

Remember that it's easy to publish a book. Whether you want to produce your own print book through a company specializing in this field, or take an even easier route through putting up an ebook on Amazon's Kindle or B&N's Nook (since you don't even need an ISBN or publisher), you can have your book ready for sale in a matter of days.

Despite how exciting it is to hold your book in your hands or seeing it online, it's actually selling the book that matters. Producing an attractive book is not difficult, whether you go through a subsidy company or arrange to do this yourself. Many subsidy companies use as one of their selling points that they will "make your book available in over 10,000 stores" or something to that effect. However, simply listing your book with a book distributor like Ingram accomplishes this. Brick and mortar bookstores almost never stock subsidy-published books, although they WILL order a single copy for you from the distributor if you request it. Hence, it is "available." Listing your book on an online store such as Amazon or Barnes&Noble, similarly, is an easy thing to do -- but it's much more difficult to actually have people find and then buy your book.

My refrain that I always sing, is that QUALITY MATTERS.

There is no easy way to make money with books. Let's face it: even with ereaders such as Kindle and Nook pushing up the number of books people buy and read, books are not read by that many people -- nowhere near the numbers that, say, go to the movies.

Social marketing such as Facebook and Twitter is pushed by new authors as a way to sell books. Maverick that I am, I vehemently disagree with this approach. Social marketing is a time-consuming activity without good returns. For example, on Twitter let's assume you have 5000 followers, and when you tweet about your new book (even though people generally don't want to hear other people bragging or pushing themselves), you have an incredible conversion rate of 10%. This means that for hours of work over months to participate and gather influence, you may sell 500 books. While 500 sales is not nothing, it certainly isn't going to push your numbers anywhere close to impressive -- and really, your conversion rate will probably be 1% or less. Is this worth your main effort? I don't think so.

Why work to market something shoddy when you can learn to produce something truly worthy? It's best to spend your time developing your craft. Don't even put a book out there until it offers exceptional value for the money. If you write novels, make them spectacular, provocative, intriguing, or otherwise worth two or three nights of entertainment. If you write nonfiction, fill your books chock-full of unique information that will truly help a person master a subject.

As someone who critiques hopeful manuscripts and is shown self-published books for my opinion, I can say unequivocally that there is A LOT of truly wretched writing out there. Just getting someone to buy your book because it has a good cover does not mean you are a good author, or that you've succeeded.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy, good one.

    I agree all the way.

    Revising, editing, re-working and re-writing are hard work and a lot of it. Taking a hard look at my novel is daunting--so many things that need fixing. Best not to be in a hurry. Get it good, get it right, then consider submitting it. I'm about a year away, at the very least.

    But it's a big commitment that requires a strong dose of faith and endurance. And we, each of us, have only so much time. I went inactive at Facebook, and rarely do Twitter. I just don't have time for them, and frankly the content isn't all that entertaining or meaningful. I suppose one of these days I should create another blog to start promoting my book. But I'll do that when I have to, or think I have to!

    It tests me. How much do I believe that what I'm saying will be worthwhile for others to read, really?

    Also, so important to me is to enjoy the process as much or more than the product. For me, creating a story--or any piece of writing for that matter--that rocks is enjoyable and satisfying.

    But in the end, is God in it? Is it for me, my ego, or for Him. So those lovely little confirmations along the way are reassuring, those "chance" happenings, those seeming coincidences, helping resources unsought that I stumble upon--they help.