Saturday, April 11, 2015

How Effective Is Social Media For Promoting One's Books: Excerpts from a Reddit Discussion Thread

Was captured by a discussion on Reddit last night that dealt with ePublishing, books and writers. It was a fascinating read because it was an open forum with both cynics and idealists taking part, and a lot of folks with experience.

The discussion began with this essentially simple statement of opinion: "I'm convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months."

By the time I stumbled upon it, there were 66 comments, including one which suggested putting your books on Pinterest, which I proceeded to do before going to bed last night.

Maybe it was this first comment that got me into reading more:

The argument he presents is this:
1. Self-publishing success is tied to social media marketing
2. Social media does not, actually, help sell books.
3. Therefore, self-publishing will burst.
The above isn't really true, though. Most authors know that advertising through twitter/facebook doesn't generate many sales. A social media presence is good for maintaining fans, but it rarely drives new sales directly. What does generate sales are services like BookBub and ENT, advertising books directly to interested customers. Those are proven to work.
So overall I would say his premise is false. Now, self-publishing may be a bubble ready to "burst" simply because it's over-saturated, but that's a self-fixing problem. People self-publish their first novel, don't receive the success they'd expected, then quit.

Throughout the discussion you can hear a lot of experienced writers talking candidly about issues concerning today's new age of self-publishing. With a million books being produced a year now, "there's a lot of crap" out there, and many authors who come and go deserve to be quickly gone. Here's Indie author Alexis Radcliffe weighing in:

A good book never actually goes away, so as long as you write good fiction, you're in no danger from a bubble, imagined or otherwise. You just keep your head down and keep putting out high-quality material. You have the same chance to win over fans and gain traction five years from now that you do today (and probably a few more books to do it with if you're committed). Amazon's latest actions suggest that they're testing substantially better sorting options for books in a way that's likely to revolutionize the way people sift through their book selections. I think it's going to shake things up a lot and help people reach high-quality books of exactly the kind they want to read.

Here's another topic that gets vetted fairly extensively as well by another commentator:

Every self-publishing author I know is offering editing services as well - a huge part of the market is devoted to taking money off the hopeful, with a large dose of the blind leading the blind. I'm not sure where it'll end.

Taking advantage of aspiring writers is nothing new, however. It happens with young artists, inventors and all kinds of other ventures where peoples' enthusiasm for an idea runs ahead of their common sense or experience.

Ultimately, if you are a writer and have time for an interesting discussion of everything from blogging to Twitter to Pinterest and the future of ePublishing, you can check it out here.

What are your thoughts on all this?

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