To paraphrase... (But you really should go read the article. And the comments.)
This core assumption is reinforced by agents, publishers, publicists, and other authors. Some agents won’t even take on a new client unless that writer has a Facebook following of at least 500 and a Twitter following in excess of 5,000. At minimum, you also need a website; but you should also blog, guest blog, and have a Pinterest page for your each of your books, right?
"...there are two things—and just two—that will meet your readership’s core needs and leave you with far more time and energy to write: a website and an email list."
I agree. My website is my blog is my newsletter. I've been here nearly five years. People know where to find me. I stuck the email-this-blog-to-your-inbox-thingie on my sidebar. (I wish I knew how many people actually did it. I'm sure there's an analytics tab or something to find out.) However, if readers/fans want to know me better they can follow me if they want to. No pressure.
"Does your social media presence sell any books? What's the conversion rate, the ROI (Return on Investment), in terms of books sold? I'm not advocating others who enjoy social media abandon it...my point is simply that I believe that in terms of actual marketing and book sales, the ROI is at the very least hard to measure; frankly, I think it's minimal... As far as I can tell, there's zero empirical evidence that the time writers spend on social media brings returns in terms of book sales.
And do any of us put a $ value on our time ? We should. Because if, as I suspect, one gets one sale for every dozens of hours spent blogging or on social media.... well, at that point we might be better off advertising or hiring a publicist. :)
Which is why I like Twitter. I'm on, I'm off. Quick. When I see friends or colleagues on Twitter, it's like running into them at the coffee shop. Sometimes 420 characters is all you need. My biggest regret of late has been neglecting to comment on other blogs.
Unfortunately, I think that's the cruelest trick of them all. We start out on social media, build a friendship, a base, and then once we get "famous/comfortable/an agent/contract/publisher" we abandon them. We don't have time for them because we're working hard on the next book and the next and the next.
Say you spend just an hour a day (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) on Facebook, Twitter, your writing blog, etc. In a year that amounts to around 350 hours, which is the equivalent of ten thirty-five-hour weeks. And this doesn’t even address the effect that regularly fragmenting one’s time and attention has on the creative mind.
If we want our work to be seen and read, we must hawk our own wares sometime. Who else is going to do it? I'm not advocating 35 hours a week, but at least 10. Quality, not quantity.
I Tweet in spurts. When I have time and the laptop, I'm more apt to make an appearance. Yes, I do Tweet about my latest book releases. But so what. Everybody else does too. Even those people who tell us not to do it. But how else are readers supposed to hear of it? (I don't think I'm obnoxious about it.) And besides, we can't all do commercials on TV like James Patterson.
I blog on Sunday (Anne Gallagher) and Monday (Piedmont Writer). I write my posts on Friday nights. I gather my topics during the course of the week and spend the late afternoon getting it all together.
I'm on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and yes, I do have Pinterest boards for all my books. I like them. But I don't frequent the these places, and for the most part they're just static.
My issue with writers blogging, spending time on writer sites, and all the rest, is that other writers are typically not our audience. Yes, there are things to be learned, but I think the writer's business is to write. There must come a time when one has a good command of one's craft, understands the basics of markets, formatting, etc., etc., and really, how informed does a writer need to be?
I also agree "...that other writers are typically not our audience."
However, here's my caveat.
I spend most of my time alone. In a room, in the basement, with spiders. Sometimes I just need some contact with the "outside" world to reassure myself
a) I'm not alone.
b) I'm a writer.
c) Somewhere in the world, someone else is doing the exact same thing I am.
Which is why I'm in the basement in the first place. My family just doesn't understand my need for solitude.
I love my "job". I cannot imagine going back into the restaurant business. (Not at my age. Unless the pay was phenomenal.) Writing is what I have always wanted to do, and now I'm doing it.
I've tried to not be social. I've gone into my cave and not come out for months. It didn't make a dent one way or another in my sales. So whether I'm on it or off it, it doesn't make a difference to the ROI.
However, in not being social I missed some things (blogs, articles, book releases, news) that I probably wanted to hear. I guess you have to trade one for the other.
These days, I'm with Mr. Ciriello. Less is actually more. And if there's no ROI, then why bother wasting your time. However, it's a good idea to be seen occasionally. Besides, you might meet a new friend.
Tell me -- What do you do for social media? If you're published, do you think it has a Return on Investment?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2014