Friday, April 11, 2014

Writers and Social Media, Redux

There's a myth going around writer circles, egged on by trad editors and agents, that a writer HAS to do every, single type of social media available, and if you don't, then your writing career will fail miserably!

(Say that sentence all in one breath. I'll have an oxygen tank waiting for you.)

No, you don't have to do every single one. (Hold the mask to face and inhale.)

There's no measurable, predictable way to know which social media will work for you specifically. None. What worked for Amanda Hocking or J.A. Konrath or Bella Andre may or may not work you.

Why do I say this?

Because Suzan Harden DID everything and couldn't sell shit for her first year. Alter Ego did NOTHING, she had no plans to do so either, and sales took off in the second month.

Why did Alter Ego's sales take off with no social media? I published her first novella the month before everyone and their grandmother went apeshit for Fifty Shades of Grey. And that first novella happened to be a BDSM romance. So all those ladies needed a fix until Book 2 in the FSoG series came out. It all came to down to luck and timing.

As for the Suzan Harden books? Well, frankly, I burned myself out trying to do a zillion marketing things everyone insisted HAD to be DONE in order to be successful. And they didn't do jackshit for me.

So how do I decide what social media to engage in? I go where I am having fun.


1) Alter Ego has a blog, but it acts as a surrogate website with announcements of releases, a mailing list sign-up, catalog of available books, and buy links. She doesn't anything more than that.

2) Suzan has two blogs. One is publishing business and other things she finds cool (i.e. the one you're reading right now). The other is for readers, where she posts short stories and samples from current wips. She also comments on the blogs of other folks actively involved in indie publishing.


1) Alter Ego has a very active FB account. She loves talking to readers and other writers!

2) Suzan thinks FB sucks. Her husband insisted on creating a fan page. She tries to post something funny once a day, but often forgets. Even then she gets nasty messages from people she doesn't know (and sometimes from people she does know) who think she sucks. She'd chuck it all if a handful of fans hadn't started visiting the page this year.


1) Alter Ego gets on Twitter once in a while, but for the most part has her FB posts going to her Twitter account.

2) Suzan has given up on Twitter because the only folks who follow her are other writers hawking their books and third party vendors trying to sell her their overpriced services for indie writers.

Yep, that's it. That's all I do. This isn't a slam against other social media you might enjoy.

Well, wait. That's not true. I won't do LinkedIn because they have a very bad habit of harvesting e-mails from your address book. (Or they did. I'll retract that last statement if someone can prove to me they've stopped.) I also won't do Pinterest because they made a blatant rights grab in their original terms of service. If that's changed, send me the link. But I refuse to go back to their website because they seriously pissed me off the first time.

The big thing you need to remember to BICHOK, aka Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. (If you don't use a computer, then change the fucking acronym!) The best publicity/marketing is putting out a new story. All the promotion in the world won't help you if you do gain fans, and there's nothing else for them to buy.

Which means I need to get back to work!

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