Well, yeah, but…
I’m not sure why anyone thinks a writer’s e-marketing time should be all or nothing. It’s probably useful to market to your audience, present or future. Your marketing time should not cut into your writing time. If it does, you either aren’t writing enough or not prioritizing. Blogging and tweeting to your market (present or future) should be a fun thing for you to do. If you don’t like it, then don’t do it.
I tweet, but always during time that would otherwise be dead time (e.g. waiting for something, while suffering insomnia or during commercials when I forgot to PVR something.) I enjoy blogging about writing and I make time for it. As a result, I watch a lot less TV than I used to do.
But writing time has to come first. The real question is, must you blog or make a book trailer or tweet to your followers? Can’t you just leave that to someone else when the time comes? (Answer: No. Selling anything means selling yourself.)
The Globe article suggests that it is often contests that curate bestsellers (especially in Canada.) Mm, yes, but what if you don’t write the sort of fiction that’s likely to even be considered by the Giller Prize panel? You can’t leave your book’s promotion to the whim of a handful of people, not when the power of the Internet is right in front of you.
It’s worth noting that publishers expect authors to shoulder most of the responsibility for promoting their books. Your publisher and agent will want you to have a blog as a home base that all your marketing efforts feed. If you’re into self-publishing, it’s all you, though that’s arguably not much different from what it ever was. (I’ve been a publicist and I’ve worked with publicists. What they’re doing is not rocket science. You can do it and if you won’t do that, at least control it.)
Do people follow you on Twitter and then buy your books based on those interactions? I bought a Scott Sigler book after he shot me a kind tweet. If Margaret Atwood alerted to her Twitter followers that she was holding a book signing at a particular bookstore, not only would they all get her message, that’s free targeted marketing to a group very likely to show up if they can.
Is social media marketing the norm for book marketing? Answers: Yes, no and not yet. Yes, because it’s the cheapest way to go. No, because the are many authors and publishers out there who haven’t embraced the full power of social media’s potential. Lots of people still think Twitter is about letting people know about that spicy burger from lunch backing up on you. They don’t get that Twitter can push information you want to you (sometimes information you didn’t even know you needed.) And finally, not yet, because I wouldn’t count on that “no” remaining stable.
Yes, there have been authors who did not promote themselves. JD Salinger became a recluse and never tweeted. However, that’s a lousy example for two reasons:
1. He was JD Salinger and we aren’t.
2. The world (and the world of publishing) has changed drastically, even among those who are reluctant to embrace new models.
For instance, the number of book sales reps has plummeted. Interactions through Twitter and Amazon Reviews and Blogs and search engines: All that technology has turned up the volume on the marketing environment so it’s hard to hear the tiny books by unknown authors who aren’t stepping up to speak for themselves.
Yes, I know you have lots of books on your shelves and most of your buying decisions were not influenced by anything you saw on Twitter. You’re right. But as e-books flood the market from self-publishers, you won’t be right about that for long.
Build your following now so when you do have something to sell, you’ll have lots of people to spread the word. If you don’t begin to market yourself until you have a book to sell, you’re already late.
First I have to buy in to you. Then I consider your product. Twas always thus, but now more than ever.
- Twitter Content That Doesn’t Suck (blogworld.com)
- How to Get Success on Twitter – A Formula that Simply Works! (dailyseotip.com)
- Now You Can “Like” Any Tweet on Twitter.com (staynalive.com)
- ” 🙂 when you say that, pardner” – the tweet police are watching (oup.com)
- How to “be somebody” on Twitter (thepomoblog.com)
- The fine art of writing a tweet (globalthoughtz.com)
- Margaret Atwood draws Twitter-based superheroes [Margaret Atwood] (io9.com)
- The riddle of replying on Twitter (customerthink.com)