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I've just recently decided I'm not going to bother with twitter anymore. It's not something I enjoy using so I don't feel at home there and I don't feel like myself. I don't think I'll ever be 'successful' at it when I find it such a chore.

And that got me thinking. Marketing on social media isn't really my thing. Does that mean I'm just doomed to failure in promoting my work because I won't get on board? Is it possible to do this without it?

I mean in my personal life I love Facebook, and I like to blog. But when I try and do these things for branding etc etc I just about lose my mind.

Yet everywhere I turn it's shouted from the rooftops that you need to build your social media platform. But I keep searching and I'm not entirely sure of the evidence of this. Some is anecdotal, but a lot is just presented as if it's a given. You MUST if you want to be successful.

But it seems to me that a huge proportion of the people being the most successful through social media are the ones writing and selling about 'How to be successful in social media'. And so of course they want us to keep believing we all need it. It's their cash cow.

Anyone else out there questioning if it's all real. Or as vital as everyone keeps telling me it is?

Can anyone give me some hope that there are other ways of marketing your work without enslaving yourself to the social media merry go round?

I think the people it works best for - if it does work - are the people for whom social media is where their skills and interests lie anyway. For me a lot lf it is like being at a huge party and making constant small talk. Eventually I just get exhausted and have to retreat. I can't keep it up.

I might be able to find certain avenues that work for me. I'm not saying I'm eschewing it altogether. But I've got to find a different way. Twitter is definitely not for me. Facebook is okay if I find my own way of being there.

I just refuse to believe social media is the be all and end all it seems to be sold as. What else can I do?

(Or am I just burying my head in the sand? :)
 

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I'm the same. Don't like, don't feel comfortable using it. I figured I can sell a lot more by doing paid promotions than with social media anyway and that frees up more of my time for writing. I do go on facebook and goodreads to answer any messages I've received but I'm thinking of even removing my facebook and other social media links from my books and just having the mailing list sign up and maybe my email address if they want to contact me directly.
 

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I don't do social media apart from the occasional tweet and a pinterest board I don't keep up to date. I find a mailing list and static website do the job fine.
 

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I tend to believe being publicly social helps sales. That said, there are more than a few quietly successful authors around the boards. People find ways to make it work. The catch 22 is, they're not shouting it from the rooftops.

I quietly envy them =P
 

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If you truly loath dealing with social media in regards to your writing, don't do it. It will show. Social media isn't the answer. Engaging with your readers is. Social media is just one of many ways you can reach readers. If you can connect with an email list and connect with readers on a personal level via email that's even better. Having a couple dozen dedicated readers who get that personal touch may have more of an impact than shouting out to hoards of fans/followers who may not even see your posts.

I'd love to hear other ways folks connect with readers aside from social media.
 

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Lydniz said:
I don't do social media apart from the occasional tweet and a pinterest board I don't keep up to date. I find a mailing list and static website do the job fine.
Yeah, Pinterest is a chore. Might as well climb a mountain with a backpack full of iron.
 

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How were you using Twitter? I used to hate it, but have grown to like it more. Facebook I find harder to get enthusiastic about, but I do have a page. More like a yellow pages entry in case someone searches for me on fb.

Some people do succeed without doing any promotion, but I think the chances are lower. Is there one social media you like more? Focusing on a single one is less stressful. I use forums and comment on blogs because I think it's fun, and use Twitter because it's the one I can tolerate the most.
 

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I'm in the same boat.  I have social media accounts that I don't use much.  And when I do use them, they just don't seem to have any punch.  I've even done fiverr marketing gigs where they tweet and facebook you  to a bazillion people in my target market and didn't even make my ad money back.  99% of my marketing is old school and it works very well for me.
 

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Christine Tate said:
I'm in the same boat. I have social media accounts that I don't use much. And when I do use them, they just don't seem to have any punch. I've even done fiverr marketing gigs where they tweet and facebook you to a bazillion people in my target market and didn't even make my ad money back. 99% of my marketing is old school and it works very well for me.
I see you write in a very specific niche, Christine. I do too. I think that is something that helps enormously for anyone who's not keen on the social media stuff. If you're in a small niche then there's not so much competition and you don't have to shout louder than everyone else to get noticed. That would be my tip for success, folks. ;D
 

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I deleted all my social media accounts over a year ago and have seen little impact. In the early days of Facebook, before they went public, I used to see a direct correlation between ads and sales. But after, exposure dropped dramatically making Facebook a waste of money and time. Now I have a static website with a newsletter sign up. I do use Goodreads and Librarything for giveaways. And I use paid advertisedments like freebooksy, ENT, etc. I'm also in KU. Since I've joined KU, my sales have been steady. KU has been the best promo tool for me since I first published back in 2011.

Bottom line, yes, some people use social media to effectively market their books but those people seem to enjoy using social media. If you hate it, I recomend whittling down your presence little by little. I was scared when I first took this step, but now I don't regret it at all.
 

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I found a evidence that suggests social media plays a major role, particularly for new authors and indies. Over the years I've written a few articles on it. I'm giving a talk in a few weeks that will touch on this subject and I'll be referencing a 2009 book buying survey by Verso Digital (US) with 5,640 US respondents.There's more current data from the UK, but I already had all the research done with this and it's US. Here's a grab of the PP screen with the stats:



Please note: The questions were not mutually exclusive. A person could list more than one method.
 

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Mark0600 said:
An advantage of not using social media is that you have more time for writing more books, which is also a form of promotion.
I think that's the key concept here.

You either go the traditional writer route - which is concentrate on writing and hope to make a good living by simply cranking out as many quality works as possible, and hope that sooner or later, mostly organically, one of those books will take off big time. (or you hire someone else to promote for you)

OR, you write less books but spend the extra free time and energy on marketing and social interactions, to make sure that which you do write, has as good of a chance as possible to get off the ground.

I think that it's an interesting trade-off. Not for everyone, but definitely does offer more flexibility. With things like social media, you can focus more on individual books, have faith and confidence in them, make them succeed as much as possible.

It's good for those who only have very specific things to tell to the world. Maybe one big story or idea and that's that. They can still obtain success, even with fewer books and less experience, if they devote more time to the social aspects. To interacting with their audience as much as possible.
 
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I'm in the same boat as you. This: And that got me thinking. Marketing on social media isn't really my thing. Does that mean I'm just doomed to failure in promoting my work because I won't get on board? Is it possible to do this without it?

There are loads and loads of channels you can use. Find the ones you like/enjoy. Remember, you just have to get very good at one. That's enough.

1) Really exceptional writing

2) Really exceptional packaging (book, title, selection of genres, keywords). My assumption is that blurb doesn't matter at all. I see authors who have an email signup link instead of blurb and I think they do better.

3) Having lots of books that inter-connect with each other. A little book network.

4) Email List

5) Understanding of free promotion sites/channels like word of mouth and free sites.

6) Understanding of paid promotion sites and a budget. Remember: This is optional. And in most cases the boost is temporary and will only have lasting impact if your work is very good.

7) Social Media. The people who are good at social media are SOCIAL by nature and talk about it A LOT. So it tends to get emphasized disproportionately.

8) Search Engines (Organic), keywords, Blogs, sites.

9) Giveaways and contests.

Of these, only the 1st is vitally important and some authors succeed even without that. So social media you can forget.

I personally know of several authors and other content creators who sell hundreds of thousands of copies without investing even 1 minute a day in social media.

You have to focus on your core competencies - the intersection of your passions and your natural aptitudes.

If it isn't social media - no problem. It isn't that powerful anyways. Everything you build is owned by someone else.
If instead you channel that energy into writing more books, writing your own books, building an email list, getting readers on your blog - those will be castles that you own.

FB now charges people money to show updates to their fans. Just yesterday they said they'll start pruning Likes based on 'regularity' or some nonsense. Remember, a lot of the social media sites are glorified ponzi schemes. They are most making money from authros and app develoipers and website owners and business owners who are desperate for traffic. They aren't like search engines where people are SEARCHING for content. People come to FB to chat and shoot the breeze. And FB throws in ads in between to try and make money.

While you could reach all your fans for free it was great. But now you have to pay to reach yoru own fans. If you're not good at it, it's a blessing in disguise. Imagine how it would feel if you built up 30,000 fans on Facebook and then FB says - if you want to reach all of them pay us $100 per update.


******

also it's important to remember that it's only your strengths that'll make you successful.

If your true strength and passion lies in writing great books and cross-marketing them super well, then no amount of time spent on social media can get you success.

Social Media is a lure in some ways (unless you're very good at it). It takes up time and makes you feel you did something, when actually, unless it's your core competency it hasn't added much.

What you should do though is tie up your blog or site to FB and Twitter so automatic updates go out. And perhaps once a week check up and post some update.
 

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I think a clear attractive blog where you can engage with your readers once a week or more is sufficient for some authors. I don't like Facebook at all. I spend a little time on twitter.

I'm old school and I keep saying I like the way some traditionally published authors reach out to local reading groups, libraries (quite a few libraries have ebooks as well as hardback and paperback books now) and I like book fairs.

However, that's me. An online blog can be more manageable and less time consuming than trying to get your message read on a busy social media website.
 

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No social media love on this thread!
The problem is people try to do too many social media pages and don't keep up with the rampant changes each big company goes through every few years. For example, did you know Facebook has been grabbing a big chunk of YouTube's viewership share over the last 6 months? Snapchat's been going the same way. It can make you crazy as you figure out where to create videos, etc. And Pinterest is expected to add a 1 click buy button to keep people on the Pinterest pages so you can sell right off the page without needing an Amazon link.

I think social media works well to build brand engagement. Sales? I admit I haven't tried yet (will find out later this year). But it sounds like some of you are/were trying to use social media to sell copies (mainly to casual readers), when most of your readers are already in the book places like Goodreads, Bookbub, Kobo, etc and don't need Twitterm etc. to find your books.

But to each his/her own.
 

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I recall reading that Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) didn't spend much effort on it. The following is an interesting article on the subject although the article was written in 2013.

"According to Publisher's Weekly, the three biggest selling authors last year (2012) were E. L. James, Suzanne Collins and Gillian Flynn. Neither Suzanne Collins nor Gillian Flynn spend much time on social networking."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fauzia-burke/book-sales-social-media_b_2616439.html

To me, the purpose of social media is to socialize, not to sell stuff.
 

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Dactyl said:
I recall reading that Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) didn't spend much effort on it. The following is an interesting article on the subject although the article was written in 2013.

"According to Publisher's Weekly, the three biggest selling authors last year (2012) were E. L. James, Suzanne Collins and Gillian Flynn. Neither Suzanne Collins nor Gillian Flynn spend much time on social networking."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fauzia-burke/book-sales-social-media_b_2616439.html

To me, the purpose of social media is to socialize, not to sell stuff.
Yeah Suzanne Collins also had a very simple blogspot blog for a while which she rarely updated and did not use social media. Those three authors benefited from writing engaging books that hit the right time and entertained readers. Word of mouth is still the best promotion.
 
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