Everyone back from rushing out to the bookshop because of that irresistible message?
Then I'll begin.
Q: Do you use social media to market your books and, if so, how do you know if it's working?
I got a Facebook author page five years ago because my editor told me to (and I'm a wimp), then I got a Facebook person page because friends kept asking why they couldn't tag me. I got a Twitter account round about the same time because . . . I can't remember why. Probably someone I needed to be in touch with didn't use Facebook.
And don't get me wrong: I post news, events, trade reviews, new jacket designs and some truly thrilling pictures of my laptop and bundles of printed paper on the author page. Stirring stuff. If someone should stumble across my website and click the Fb button, there are writer-y things to see .
But it's the other page where I feel at home and spend most time. On my personal Fb page I talk about the monster zucchini I'm accidentally growing if I'm not careful, that time I hosed my screens with the windows open, that other time I reverse parked into the no-parking sign, the Chewbacca mask lady, and why I can't spell
It's not marketing though, is it? It's just life. I love that even though I'm thousands of miles from my family and I don't see them for ten months at a stretch, I know what my great niece's birthday cake was this year and that my mum's wisteria is blooming. When I talk to my sisters on the phone, they know how I've been and I know how they've been and we can just witter on a load of mince (like we always did) without having to do a massive catch up.
It's exactly the same with friends I first met on Facebook or only know on Facebook - we just hang out, keep up with one another, share all of life's rich strangeness. We soothe sorrows when the world delivers a kicking (as it does), share joy when the gods smile on us (as they can) and let one another rant when only ranting will do.
And, because I'm a writer, a lot of my Facebook friends are other writers or the blessed readers (thank you!) as well as the occasional scientist-in-law. So it's inevitable that we talk about the books we love, the books we're reading, looking forward to, have just bought, are saving for a long flight . . . And almost as inevitably some of the books some of us are reading are books others of us have written. But again, it's not marketing, is it? It's just the love of books. (And the Chewbacca mask lady.)