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I recently bought two books or marketing ebooks, "Make a Killing on Kindle" by Michael Alvear, and "Quite Your Day Job," by HP Mallory. Both for the most part list the same strategies to follow, keyword research, SEO optimization, the importance of a good title and cover art...and so on. Bu where they differ in their opinion on social media. Alvear, for example, considers a social media/blogging strategy a complete waste of time - gaining a social media network  or blog readership large enough to really effect sales takes years unless you are already a celebrity, so unless you enjoy blogging and facebooking for their own sakes, don't bother. Mallory, on the other hand, says it is absolutely essential.  and something every aspiring author should do, and building your network will help.

The reason I ask is, I'm trying different marketing strategies for my novel. Like most writers, I have a day job (freelance web designer...) which is pretty time consuming. Finding enough time to actually write is difficult enough. If a social media approach will help, I'm certainly willing to make the effort, but if not...

Can anyone offer some perspective or experience in this matter?
 

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I've read both of these books as well. I can only tell you that I was resistant to jump on the FB bandwagon too, and I still don't use Twitter. Now FB is one of the most rewarding things I do. It allows me interact with my readers every day and I feel like I'm developing the kind of relationships that are so essential to building a solid foundation and lasting career as an author. I'm in this for the long haul, and I hope these are the readers who will stick with me for the duration.
 

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No simple answers here. I think social media is part of the puzzle, but only one aspect. I'm on Twitter, GR, FB, Pinterest, etc but I don't think the majority of readers use those sites to *discover* authors. I think people connect on FB, Twitter, etc after they've already read our books. That's been my experience, at least.

They may stumble across us there--happy surprise!--but I think it's much more likely readers find us through personal recommendations and "also bought" lists. I think social media is most effective in spreading the word about new books to readers who are already fans.

Sometimes the whole thing has a hamster wheel feel to it:  all of us authors on FB and Twitter talking to all the other authors on FB and Twitter. :)

 

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I use it to a certain degree, but I've yet to be convinced of its effectiveness. And it can be a terrible time drain when you could use that time for far more productive ends. That said, I do try to keep one foot on the door...just in case  ;)

If pushed, I'd lean closer to the Alvear school of thought.
 

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I think social media is a good, passive way to stay in contact with people who have already bought my books, but I don't use it to reach new audiences. So I think both schools of thought are perfectly valid.

I will say that my FB page has become my absolute favorite place to spend time with my readers.
 

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Zackery Arbela said:
large enough to really effect sales takes years
Not true. I had about 10K facebook fans in 5 months. If you do it right, it works. The entire 1st year, the only form of marketing I did for my book was via FB. That's it. That pages is now at 48K fans and I'm a nobody. :)
 

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holly w. said:
Not true. I had about 10K facebook fans in 5 months. If you do it right, it works. The entire 1st year, the only form of marketing I did for my book was via FB. That's it. That pages is now at 48K fans and I'm a nobody. :)
Now obviously we all want to know how you did it (even though I'm pretty sure you've mentioned how before) :)
 

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Social media works well if you are hoping to write a series or a number of series. If you are working on just building a name with only one book social media is not required. This would apply more to  certain non fiction subjects.

When it comes to social media the main thing you need to do is have a twitter account and use auto twits to reach people. Blogging is much easier and can still be considered social if you use tumblr.com which is free and also very people focused. It really depends on your goals, your subject, the time you have and what you hope to gain.

I know many kindle writers who love social media and many that don't. It's a personal choice like any other marketing method.

Good luck.

 

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holly w. said:
Not true. I had about 10K facebook fans in 5 months. If you do it right, it works. The entire 1st year, the only form of marketing I did for my book was via FB. That's it. That pages is now at 48K fans and I'm a nobody. :)
What do you mean I'm a nobody!
Repeat after me "I am a star, I am fabulous"
 

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Get yourself set up on Facebook (I wouldn't bother with Twitter) so that if and when you do have fans who want to be social, you can participate. I'm afraid you can't really make it happen, but must wait for them to come to you, orelse it just feels like selling.

Being available on social media is awesome.

Selling and chasing is bad and not worth your time.
 

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Lady_O said:
What do you mean I'm a nobody!
Repeat after me "I am a star, I am fabulous"
bwuhhahaha. that just made me think of this
You're fabulous (I'm fabulous!)
You're fabulous (Oh, I'm fabulous!)


Now obviously we all want to know how you did it (even though I'm pretty sure you've mentioned how before)
Fake it until you make it. Sound a little fun and crazy. It attracts other fun and crazy ppl. They tend to have a lot of friends. :) The page grew fast. You have to realize that FB really relies on visuals to get traction. Also, if you're trying to get babyboomers, they aren't over there. For YA, it's a good place to be. The age is getting older, but if you are targeting 20-30 yr olds or teens, it's the still the place to be. I tend to think selling is about exposure as long as you have a solid product. Social media is more exposure. It's also more personable and ppl tend to want to buy things from ppl they like. I try to talk to everyone. We used to joke around a lot more too. Someone just posted a pic of the dream cast for the book - stuff like that is GREAT. :)
 

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If you do want to try out social media, find a good app to help you. TweetDeck lets you schedule your tweets, and you can also hook your Twitter into your Facebook. So that takes care of broadcasting your message, but you still need to put in the time to get involved in conversation.

So far, I'm not looking at Twitter as a way to sell books, but I have learned so much just by subscribing to feeds. I have also found great books to read through Twitter's selection features. If you think Twitter might be fun (and it can be), go for it, but if you think it would be draining, steer clear.
 

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Jonathan C. Gillespie said:
Let me give you the short version: everyone who got discovered and heavily leveraged social media is going to tell you it's essential. Everyone that never used it and got discovered will tell you not to bother.
Don't blog unless you're passionate about it.
Don't do ___________ unless you "see" how you can do it, and you enjoy it. (Fill in the blank with any social media solution you can think of.)
 

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I agree wholeheartedly with with LisaGrace. If you like being on social media, then you'll find ways to use it (and follow some of the strategies other authors have used).

If you don't like being on it, then you won't use it much, and then your sales won't see any results, and then what was the point?
 

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If you have a great book, social media can help spread the word and keep you connected to your fans.

If you don't start with a great book, social media probably isn't going to help you sell it. My basic opinion is that the book is what matters. If you have limited time, get your writing done as priority number one. Spend any extra time you have on social media so that fans can get 'warm fuzzies' about you and tell all their friends how awesome you are.

If you don't have any extra time, don't sweat it. Just write. It's the most important part.
 

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Have a blog (better for SEO) and post on it occasionally. But don't expect a lot from it. It is needed because people will look someone up and they need to find you. A website is like being in the old yellow phone book pages.
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Remember FB made a shift that unless you're subscribing, your posts only get seen by 16% of your friends. If they are not subscribing, their likes etc might not go beyond their 16% of friends <- this part I'm guessing. The point is: the old days the book writer had full-on 100% expansion not the 16% facing users now.
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I stopped FB and Twitter and headed over to goodreads for my social marketing fix. They went from 6million users to 12million last year and they are all readers and even play games encouraging each other to read more: "reading all books with orange on their cover" (one group for last October). At least two books on Amazon's top list ranked within top 20 today were pushed up hard by goodreads activity. goodreads Alexa traffic scores are higher than POI/ENT/etc sites combined. So I've been teaching myself that place.
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I agree that you should have some presence (meaning a blog and FB) so that if a reader wants to interact they can find you. You have mentioned that you are busy, though, so it seems like it could potentially suck away a lot of your time if you let it.

 

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First post was lost somehow, sorry if I post twice.

This might be an interesting read for you . . .

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1250002958

Social Media is Bullsh!t by. B.J. Mendelson. The title is some obvious link baiting, but he used to be a professional internet marketer. He got out of the game, and wrote a book describing the way "social media" is just another name for the internet, and the more you understand that the better off you'll be.

The marketing guru's keep rebranding the internet, and he quotes a few who admitted to it. For example, after the dot com bubble burst, the internet was dead but Web 2.0 had replaced it. And other than a cool name that some marketing guys used to sell books, the underlying technologies hadn't change much.

He points out that twitter and facebook are just more modern and fancy versions of (i think) AOL chat rooms, classmates.com and MySpace. It's been a while since I read it, but this stuff has been around for almost 20 years.

At the end of the book he gives some advice for things that actually work.

Anyway, cheap and fascinating read. Might help as a sanity check if you're reading too many blog by marketing gurus pushing their content products.
 

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My blog has seen a steady surge in readers and has acquired a loyal following. It even got me a job offer out of the blue. I also get a lot of interest via LinkedIn. That said, the stats don't show a marked correlation between book sales and my social media involvement. But I agree it's useful in giving an author some exposure.
 
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