Monday, December 3, 2012

Next to cozy pajamas and good wine, social media is an author's best friend

Every now and then I'm asked to give workshops to writers' groups on the subject of social media. After I've blathered for awhile about blogging and Twitter and Facebook, someone in the audience will raise a timid hand.

"It looks fun and all, but how does that sell books?"

It's a question I love answering even more than the one about how to have a steamy makeout session without messing up your lipstick (because frankly, I'm not sure about that one).

But the answer to the former question is that you have to redefine what you consider selling.

In the social media world, selling does not involve beating the consumer over the head with your product until he falls to his knees and throws his credit card at you as a means of self-defense. It involves forming connections and friendships over shared experiences, laughter, or what you had for lunch.

And because people like the idea of supporting their friends, they'll take it into their own hands to buy what you're offering and suggest their friends do the same.

If I'm organized enough to have a Powerpoint presentation prepared for my workshop, I'll show few screenshots that illustrate my point.

As soon as I saw this exchange on Twitter a few weeks ago, I knew I'd add it to my collection of favorite examples. It started with my blog post about people laughing at my new hat. I was delightfully surprised that a regular blog reader was kind enough to tweet about the post to her followers, and things unfolded from there:

And just like that, I have a new reader. Well, assuming she followed through. I've considered figuring out where she lives and peering in her windows to see if I can spot one of my books lying on the sofa, but my editor might frown on the negative publicity of having me arrested for stalking.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of social media, I also want to share this incredible video I saw last week at a marketing workshop I attended for the day job. The instant I saw it, I searched YouTube from my iPhone to find a link. I immediately emailed the link to three marketing colleagues, tweeted about it from my author Twitter account, and posted it to Facebook.

Talk about illustrating the point.


Patty Blount said...

I couldn't agree more! I've been active on social networks for several years now, which is how I met you! Twitter, Facebook, etc., are all about forming 'connections' not grabbing the bullhorn and shouting "BUY! BUY! BUY!"

The connections aren't from writer to reader. They're from person to person. I have a lot of interests and also issues I'm dealing with at any given time and the support, the advice, the concern I feel from people online is absolutely priceless. From everything to naming a character in my latest story to dealing with the death of my mom, the connections I formed online have helped me through.

Teri Anne Stanley said... media is bigger than PORN? That IS big. So to speak.

Unknown said...

Great post. I love your example of the new reader on Twitter. I have bought tons of books relating from a Twitter feed and NONE of them were because an author posted a "buy my new book" tweet with a link to Amazon. Almost all were recommendations from a tweet or a link to a blog book review.


Stephsco said...

I bought your book Making Waves because of this blog and twitter! I've bought a few other books because of blogs and connecting on social media with other writers and authors. The ones I ignore are the ones who only post links to purchase their books. I don't mind that every so often, but if it's all an author does, there is no "social" there. It's just spam.

Anonymous said...

I'm a believer in social media. I found Kristen Lamb's book to be helpful on the subject... it really opened my eyes and let me know what to do and more importantly....what NOT to do.

I found you and your books through social media.

wendy@chezchloe said...

Ditto. Found you through ummm... can't remember. Bought, read and liked Making Waves. Then honestly although it sounds a little desperate... when I first started twitter I asked you something about something - cats maybe? Something obviously VERY important, and you wrote me back. That made me feel happy and acknowledged. THAT made me want to support you and I downloaded Believe it Or Not.
There's all this technology but it still comes down to the fact we are human beings with feelings. ;-)