Everyone has seen Mr. Mom, right? My favorite line from the whole movie is when Michael Keaton is dropping his kids off at school, pulling into the circular drive against traffic, and like four moms tell him, "You're doing it wrong."
Look, I'm not saying I'm the Mother of Social Media (although I'm probably old enough to be), but I've seen and heard things there that make me mad. Not because Newbies don't know better, but because there's so much wrong information floating around out there. These poor beleaguered writers are running from one platform to another, freaking about their numbers, tearing their hair, and screaming, "BUY MY BOOK!" Then ramping up, when people don't.
I was a career business-person. Business doesn't mess around. They want results. So here's some common-sense advice:
It's NOT about the numbers.
I see people on Twitter (possibly other places too) either lamenting their dismal number of followers, or crowing that they've reached some round number they're excited about. Hellloooooo — there is no gold star, free Cracker Jack prize or even green stamps (told you I was old) given for an ideal number of followers. It's about ENGAGEMENT.
Unless you're someone super famous that people listen to, and look up to (sometimes for dubious reasons — this is SM, after all), all those people aren't going to engage with you. And numbers don't sell books — engagement does. More on this in a minute.
It's not about, BUY MY BOOK!
I don't do a lot on Twitter, but I really enjoy the #WritingCommunity — or I used to. It's a huge group of writers, talking about the process, or word count, or posting inspirational memes, etc. It was my warm fuzzy place — a place I could interact with other writers.
But in the past two months or so, it's become a billboard for selling books, writer services, and the like. UGH. That was my one place to get away from all that! I posted, asking what the deal was all of a sudden. Many agreed with me, some didn't mind it. What hurt was the one who said,
"Know what you mean, but publishers look for evidence of a strong social media presence when you pitch and they may want to take on an ebook."
That is so sad. Guys, you're doing it wrong. What agents and publishers want to see is that you have people on social media that you're "friends" with — and I don't mean you "friended" them on FB. They're people who like you, and what you post. Guess what? If they like your posts, they're probably going to like your voice, and it follows they might take a chance they'll like your book and buy it.
What do you write about? Here's an example. I write romance and women's fiction, but it is, and will always be, set in the West, usually small towns, and it may have a cowboy or two. Who do I engage with? Rodeo women, cowboys wives, farmers ... you know, country people!
Get creative. Who is huge in your genre? Who in that genre is similar to your writing? Go look at their followers. Follow them. Engage with them. After all, they're a consumer of what you write, right? That's doing it right.
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Hey, I'm not all that. I spend time thinking about how to do this better, and just a couple weeks ago, I realized I was doing it wrong too.
Seriously. I may require an intervention.
I spend a lot of time on FB. I don't use my author page much, because I believe people want a real human to interact with. I have built a following of around 4k. That's not a huge number. BUT I work hard to engage with them.
Every morning, I post: coffee memes for the Morning Brigade, a beauty pic for the day, a mom meme, an awwwww for the day (think adorable puppies and kittens, and yes, Jenny, bunnies), and something from the weird file (you'd have to see it to believe it). Oh, and SNARK! I've had over 800,000 likes, probably get 50 or more comments a day, and God knows how many shares.
That's good, right? By the way, you do follow me, right? You can, HERE.
It is, except I wasn't taking advantage of one of my strongest avenues to sell my books! Yes, when I had a release, or a cover reveal, or a great review, I posted about it. But I never gave away my books in my general feed — only the groups I'm involved with.
So I did a giveaway for three books — ONLY for those who had NOT read a book of mine. All they needed to do to enter was to comment which book they'd like. Do you know I got 200 comments on that post? That's 200 people who love my posts daily — like my voice, my twisted sense of humor. They'd like my books! Three didn't seem enough to give — so I got in touch with my publisher, who kicked in 20 more.
It's done — they're all out and, I hope, being read. I truly expect to turn most of those into fans. And guess what? My Amazon ranking went up for a week after the winners were drawn — I assume non-winners went and bought a book.
There's always more to learn — go out there and do it right, people. Sell a shit-ton of books!