Ebook Sales And Social Media

Slow down on social mediaSlow down on social media

Read any advice on how to market an ebook and all the tips and tricks and how to’s you find will advise using social networking as the be all and end all of ebook marketing. As

As ebooks are simply an electronic file that slots in perfectly with Internet delivery, who could argue with this logic?

So if you’re an ebook book author on Kindle, Smashwords, B&N or any other online distributor, you know you need to have a Facebook Page and personal profile, a Twitter account (or two), an Author page on Goodreads, another on Shelfari plus a Google+ account and of course another on Linkedin.

For the very committed there is the option of adding Quora, Stumbleupon, Digg, Helium and Tumblr accounts, as well if you’re really determined to get your book and name out there. If these are not enough there are hundreds more you could add to this list and busy yourself 24/7 with social media.

But I have to be honest with you. I’ve been there, done that and it’s not only a hard slog but also an incredible time waster. Sure, you need to have some presence, but social media can become a monster that takes over and you end up forgetting what your goal was in the first place. To promote and sell books. Attaining 400,000 followers was not.

It reminds me of an old adage:

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your main objective was to drain the swamp.

I should say though that I have been fortunate and have gained a healthy following on some of my social media accounts. Then again, many of these accounts I had well before the advent of ebooks, so my follower numbers are more due to the period of time rather than any special popularity.

But one aspect I have noted is that my book sales do not rise proportionally with an increase in my follower counts. This has led me to reducing my involvement (in some cases completely) on a number of platforms.

After using social media for quite a while now, the key benefit for me is in finding new readers. Not for my books, but rather for my blog. Users of social networking want it to be social, logically. So they would like to be informed, entertained, amused and to interact and be involved.

Social media is best used for being social and becoming involved and known in your online community. It is from this recognition that books sales will steadily grow. Not from having a million followers or blasting out thousands of  ‘Buy my book now’ links per week, which in my view has an extremely low success rate anyway and will probably simply diminish your popularity.

So be careful. Becoming involved doesn’t mean being online 24/7. You do have books to write you know.

12 thoughts on “Ebook Sales And Social Media”

  1. I was reading through a couple of topics on Amazon’s ‘Fiction Forum’ the other day. One that is pertinent to your post Derek is entitled – What behaviour puts you off buying an author’s book?

    One contributor complained that if an author used his/her blog to plug their book(s), he personally would make a point of never even looking at the books in question. These Amazon forums unfortunately do tend to bring the disaffected and other internet low life’s out of the woodwork. Some contributors get downright rude, pouring out their bile in the belief that the average book reader will take note. Consequently I steer clear of them.

    Using our blogs and book sites like Goodreads, or even excellent Ezines like Angie’s DIARY to promote our work is far better than using social networks like Facebook.

    1. I gotta tell you Jack. I never go anywhere near Amazon or Kindle forums. My brief experience some time ago gave me the clear impression they were little more than self centred cesspits populated by egotistical and in some cases, imbecilic and occasionally psychotic creeps.

      Guess you got my drift that I didn’t find it an enjoyable experience.

  2. Deborah Hughes

    You are so right about how social media forums can overtake your life! I spend more time trying to keep up with all the sites I’m part of that I hardly have time to write. If I write and ignore the social biz…then I get behind the game and drop out of sight! It’s quite the conundrum. I have found, though, that blogging is definitely a good niche to keep up with. I still love the personal interaction on Facebook, though. I’m not sure what spurs people to check out my book or which social media avenue lured them to it…wish I knew, but I have learned this much…I need to limit my time “networking” and more time writing. When a work is finished…THEN, I can socialize and brag about it! (smile). Great post, thanks.

    1. Yes, it’s a catch 22 Deborah, but in the end you have to have time to write. But I agree with you that regular blogging is as, if not more effective than hitting social media all day long.

  3. The message that you *must* network is repeated so often that there’s a whole subculture of writers who’ve finally realized how time-consuming and comparatively ineffective it is. I’d rather be writing. Blogging fills part of that need, while also allowing me to connect with readers and other writers on a more personal basis than Facebook or Google+ allow.

    Jack, I do flog my books on my blogs, but that’s a very small part of the month to month routine. Currently, I’m serializing my latest novel, which is a method that’s worked pretty well for me. Readers get to read the book in its close-to-finished state, and it tells them whether they want to buy the published work. If not, at least I’ve entertained them.

    1. Happy to see you’re working outside ‘the nine dots’ Catana. With so many following the ‘well trodden social media road’ now, you really do need ti think differently and not ‘swim with the fish’.

      Oh and sorry about my over use of tired old clichés! :)

  4. Here’s a book idea for anyone.

    No Strings Attached: 101 Ways to Reach Out Without Being Distracted.


  5. This is a hard one for me. I’m not a huge fan of blogging, mostly because I just don’t have time. I like to read blogs–when I can–and take a peek at twitter, but I just don’t know if it will sell my books. Most of my followers are other writers who are doing the same thing I’m doing. I have yet to publish anything but some friends of mine have: one self published, another went with an e book only publisher, and another went with a writer co-op of sorts. I’ve watched their numbers and I just don’t see the difference between the one that is a social media freak and the others who don’t do anything. I also met some other writers on the ABNA boards who have since published and have made it to the top of their lists on Amazon without a twitter account. So I don’t know. Good post. Thanks.

  6. Jenny Milchman

    Thanks for this perspective. I was interested to read that followers/time spent on forums didn’t correlate with new readers.

    It took me 11 years to find a publisher for my work and so I spent a lot of time on sites with no book of my own to promote. What it taught me is that it’s a lot more fun to talk about other people’s work than my own. Every now and then it comes up, or someone says something nice, like they’re excited for my book, but basically I get to meet people and learn about great reads and to me that’s social media.

  7. Couldn’t agree more. I think of my blog as the gateway to gaining new readers and the rest is used to try to get people to sample my blog for free so that maybe they’ll buy a book.

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