She's here to discuss social media and blogs for writers. Here's what she had to say...
I thought I’d write about social media and blogs for writers. This topic tends to polarize people. I’ve heard the argument that social media and blogs take away time from writing a great book.
Which is true.
But in this crazy new publishing landscape with brick and mortar bookstores closing their doors, and the remaining stores carrying fewer titles on their shelves, how will anyone ever find the amazing novel you’ve poured your heart and soul into?
And even if they found it, what would make them click that buy button?
This is where social media can come in handy.
Now before you start cringing, thinking I’m about to talk about “branding”, I’m not. The truth is people who only use social media as a megaphone to shout their “brand” are usually wasting their breath. Readers aren’t on Facebook and Twitter to hear constant “Please buy my book” posts, and unless they know you personally, they’re probably not going to click on a “great review for my book” either.
The heart of social media is you. Not your brand or your book, but you.
I’ve been in sales my entire adult life and the bottom line always falls to a simple statement. “People buy from people.”
There have been studies that show someone needs to see a print advertisement nearly 7 times before they’re motivated to act on the advertisement. Seven times. It could cost thousands of dollars to build your brand through advertising alone.
However, when hundreds of your followers on Twitter or Facebook feel like they know you, they’re more likely to click your link or visit your blog or buy your book. Why? Because if I have the opportunity to buy one book this week, I would be much more likely to grab a copy of something one of my “friends” wrote than an author I’ve never heard of.
So if you choose to dip your toe into Twitter or Facebook, remember to be social. Reply to others and make yourself available not just to other writers, but to people who could someday be your readers.
I’m going to mention a few writers that are shining examples of “social” media users. (If you’re not following them on facebook and twitter, look them up…) Teresa Medeiros, Jackie Kessler, and Yasmine Galenorn just to name a few. They all dedicate a chunk of time to actually converse with readers and they have a loyal fanbase who follow them, visit their blogs, and buy their books.
And yes, after meeting them online I did go buy their books and I loved reading them.
This brings me to blogs. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably been told you need to have a blog.
The jury is still out on how effective blogging is for book marketing. From a sales standpoint, I think the problem is often that writers tend to blog for other writers.
It’s fun to share ideas and vent and sometimes network amongst ourselves, but in the end when you have a book to market, you want to be attracting readers who buy books. (I’m not saying writers don’t buy books! Of course we do! :) But there aren’t enough writers out there to get you on that NYT list we all dream of…)
I think blogs can help with this as long as you understand the purpose for your blog. Who are you really blogging for?
If you’re looking to attract readers, they’re probably not going to be interested in hearing about how to write a query letter. And if you’re not published yet, then you don’t have a book to offer them.
So what is the purpose of your blog?
This is an important question to ponder. Finding the purpose of your blog will give you direction for your posts, as well as an idea of how often you should post.
When I started my blog, I decided my purpose would be twofold. I wanted to build a base of readers who might be interested in my books when they’re published, and I wanted to hone my craft by writing new fiction every week.
And my blog was born. :)
In two years on MySpace, I gained 300 blog subscribers and over 65,000 blog views. I still post every week on Sunday nights. I usually share something about my week, and then post some new short fiction. Readers get familiar with my work, showing up each week to read something new, and it also forces me to stop editing or querying or whatever publishing business is sucking my creativity away to try new techniques, and write something new.
Once you’ve decided how often to blog and the purpose of your blog, you can drive internet traffic by using your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Like one big circle of virtual life. *cue the Lion King music*
You determine how much or how little you use social media… My personal experience has been amazing. I’ve met incredible people from around the world on my blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
The internet offers us a unique way to shrink the huge world we live in and interact with readers. No matter how amazing your book might be, if no one knows about it, your words won’t be read.
I’d love to hear about your social media or blog experiences. Are you thinking of starting a blog?
Do you have one already? Are we following each other on Twitter and Facebook?
Let’s get connected…
Thanks Kerri for inviting me to the Book Boost blog today!
A Note from the Book Boost: Thank you, Lisa. Great having you here at the Boost! I love the part of your post about "people buy from people" and I totally agree. I'm one of those non-fans of Facebook. I have a lot of personal qualms about Facebook because I believe it is used for a lot of bad that far outweighs the potential good but I guess that can often be said of the Internet in general. I do use Twitter and I'm starting to slowly build a following there. The jury is still out on the benefits. What I do love is blogging and although I totally agree with you that often times--writers blog to other writers--I find that the benefit is that each writer usually brings along some followers of their own and therefore cross promotes in the process. Great thoughts and insight!
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Lisa Kessler writes dark paranormal fiction novels and short stories. Her vampire short story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. She’s currently working on compiling many of her short stories for an Anthology to be published this summer.
Lisa is an active member of her local RWA chapter as well as the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal online chapter.
When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional singer with two CDs available, and sometimes performs in musical theater productions and operas.
She lives in San Diego with her wonderful husband who reads every word she writes, and two amazing teens.