Friday, January 18, 2013

Social Media - Does It Add Value?

Today's repost is from Joe Konrath (J.A. Konrath/Jack Kilborn). It would be great to read his entire post at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing as it recaps his annual year-in-review/new-year resolutions since 2006. 

Social Media ADDED tremendous VALUE to Joe's career and sales. His Enthusiasm for his Books, and the Social Media opportunities he took advantage of these past few years, made his career.
"The books combine hair-raising scares and suspense with laugh out loud comedy." 
Joe's been nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, Dagger, and Barry, and has won the Derringer, Bob Kellog, EQMM Reader's Choice, and two Lovie awards.
All this means he's a rather solid and talented midlist author who knew his audience would buy his books even if the traditional publishing world didn't have room on their bookshelves for another thriller-horror author.

We'll add more insights beneath his quote:

Konrath's resolutions for writers - 2013
I've lived long enough to see my advice become obsolete, and that gives me hope for the future.
Back when I began, this business was all about finding an agent, finding a publisher, then doing whatever you could to promote yourself.
This blog spoke at length about social media, and book tours, and partnering with your publisher.
Things have changed.
I have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but I only use it occasionally Facebook? Haven't been on there in eight months. I witnessed the rise and fall of MySpace. I've opted out of Google+ because I saw no benefits. LinkedIn? I can't even remember my password.
I'll never do another book tour. I doubt I'll ever do another official booksigning. I've stopped speaking in public, stopped attending events. Once it was important to meet fans and network with peers. Now I can do that just fine via email.
Partnering with your publisher? Why would you do that, when they offer so little? 17.5% ebook royalties with them, vs. 70% on your own.
I haven't blogged or Tweeted in months. I've been busy doing what writers should be doing: writing.
And guess what? My sales have remained constant.
Many times this year, I took industry practices to task. I saw stupidity, or unfairness, and I did my best to discredit it. I fought, tooth and nail, for what I believed, and wasted untold hours arguing with pinheads.
Which brings me to my resolution for 2013.
Get Over Yourself
I have turned off Google Alerts, and don't Google my name or my pen names.
I don't go on message boards.
I don't read my book reviews.
I don't care what people are saying about me, good or bad, in blogs or on Twitter or in the media.
There will always be people who don't like you, and don't like your books.
Ignore them.
Trust me, it is liberating to be free of the opinions of strangers. We all need to focus on our writing. Because the millions of readers out there don't care about your blog. They aren't searching for you on Twitter and avoiding your books based on the comments of others. They aren't taking one star reviews seriously.
It's very easy to obsess in this business. But I haven't seen a single shred of evidence that obsession helps careers.
The thing that I have seen, over and over, is people finding success by writing good books.
I really think it is possible to make a very nice living by writing and not worrying about anything else.
We all want to believe we're doing something good for our careers, so we abuse social media, buy ads, rigorously defend our good name, cultivate media contacts, make appearances, and celebrate our own very minor celebrity.
Let it all go. Spend your time working on your books. That's the only thing that really matters, and the only thing you have control over.
I hope everyone reading this has a very successful 2013. Happy new year.

Now for some Common Sense Points from AM101:

Joe's got a good website, lots of books, and BUY links. He's a NAME. He's got an AUDIENCE. His time and career is about Writing Books. That's what his audience wants. HE'S NO LONGER A NEWBIE! He was one of the early trailblazers in the e-revolution. He's a great example of using social media to his advantage. He's now an Urban Legend. It would be good if he'd change the title of his blog so as not to confuse new authors who feel they can mirror his publishing success without investing in a decade of learning the craft of storytelling.

Joe was ASPIRING TO BE a novelist (for 12 years) prior to when his first (tenth!) novel was published in 2004. His stories have won awards. He also Enthusiastically Invested his time and energy into Every Social Media outlet available to build his audience. Pulling-Pushing readers to his Website activities that contained Point-Of-Purchase experiences and BUY links. Now he can just keep writing books and let his Marketing Machine operate with minimal energy. At least for this year.

Joe is a great example for self-published, genre, and midlist, authors when they look at his whole PUBLIC journey. In his first 12 years of writing and marketing his manuscripts to publishers, he also was enhancing his skills as a storyteller, a writer, and his Author Persona. Those skills have amplified his success these past eight years.

He's now at a point in his career where he can write books, advocate for libraries, and be pithy with his disregard for all the opportunities and tools that he used to achieve his success. Remember that and take all advice with a grain of salt.

Fortunately, he's been pithy about a lot of stuff in public so he's not going to alienate his audience of READERS because they only care about the next book.

In short, NEW AUTHORS need to market their books and PERSONAS to find their audience and connect with readers.  Once you are established with a solid backlist of books, like Joe, then you can decide how much time you want to focus on marketing.

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