Q: Do you use social media to market your books, and if so, do you think it’s made a difference?
- from Susan
This is a hard question and (spoiler alert) one I can’t really answer. But let me break it down and take it in parts:
Do I use social media?
Yes, I cop to that. More than I should. Facebook is addictive and I have an addictive personality. I have soooo many friends on FB and would have so many more if I accepted the friend requests from the hundred or so manly looking guys dressed in army fatigues who apparently are tabula rasa when it comes to any details in their lives except having dogs or young children they can be photographed with.
Do I use it to market my books?
Yes, in that I mention new books, very occasionally share a particularly good professional review, and invite - no, beg – people to come to book readings. Using Twitter is like getting swept away in a riptide. You just dive in somewhere and then kick your way to safety as soon as you can. For me, five minutes a day is it, but I do try to let it be known I am an author and do have allegedly witty novels on the market about art and crime. Pinterest? Yes, Hilary Davidson gave a room full of authors a challenge a few years ago: A Pinterest page for every book. So, I do it. It’s fun and a complete distraction from writing. No one has ever said, “I loved your photos of Santa Fe so much I had to run out and find a coy of Murder in the abstract.” No one. Instagram is beyond me so far. Blogs (here and occasionally on my own site and often as a guest on other writers’) all the time. Some delightful back and forth. No rush on Book Passage’s stock.
Do I think it makes a different in marketing efforts?
I observe that a good number of people (to whom I am forever grateful) show up at most book events if I’ve put out the word on social media. When people show up, they mostly buy a book. But does the social media I initiate and control influence anyone to search out and buy the book on their own? I have no idea, none at all. No bookstore tells me here’s been a flurry of interest about any of my books after a brilliant Tweet or a few new of photos on a Pinterest board. I don’t get nominated for awards because everyone knows my name and the title of my newest book by the time the ballots come out. And, in truth, I think the honest answer is no one knows where in all the non-writing activity authors have to do is the magic key to success.
I look at some of the most successful crime writers in my circle and what I see is they work hard at everything – from research to writing, to cleanly edited published books, to book tours, to Facebook posts, and contests, and charming book events – everything.
So my answer to the unanswerable question is: Who knows, but who’s ready to go silent and see what happens?