September 16, 2019, 11:39:31 PM

Author Topic: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice  (Read 2842 times)

Offline Eli_Freysson

Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« on: December 04, 2018, 08:13:13 AM »
I'm... frustrated. I suppose that's just a part of being an indie author, but it's a specific issue this time.

I've come to believe that getting noticed as an indie is largely a matter of blind luck. I've tried basically everything an indie is suppose to do: Goodreads ads, Goodreads Giveaway, Facebook ads, Amazon ads, various forms of paid mass-mails, a paid-for book blog tour, interviews on various blogs, I kept an English-language Facebook page going for a while... NONE of this EVER coincided with a blip on my sales chart. Ever. The only thing that's ever worked a little bit is to an Amazon Kindle Countdown, and mentioning that fact on the r/fantasy page.

I got tired of throwing money out the window, and have long since given up on anything other than the Reddit thing. No one pays attention to "Notice me!" in a field absolutely jam-packed with desperate indies. I do keep an author webpage up; I was for a while not going to renew the fee, except that Romanian guy noticed me through it... due to blind luck.

I'm writing this because I just got yet another rejection from a publisher. There was no mention of the actual quality of the manuscript. They're only complaint was that they require "an established web presence such as a website, social media along with noticeable effort to engage potential readers prior to publication".

Social media. Goddamn social media. I have never gotten into it, as I think it is a weird, depressing activity, I've never really understood how it works and I refuse to get a smartphone. I tried keeping a blog going for a while, but weeks went by without me thinking of anything to say to the faceless hordes of the internet. Apparently a big following is what an indie needs... and now a lack of it is stopping me from becoming a trad as well!

I'm writing these next words with a sense of dread and hopelessness, but maybe I need to at least look into getting involved on social media. I don't have any hope for it. The problem is that I don't care. I don't have the slightest interest in spending hours each day approaching strangers about this and that, and I'm too isolated and weird to have much to say.

But it often seems that I HAVE to, so now I'm asking if anyone here with a better grasp of this awful, proven-to-induce-anxiety activity is willing to advise me.

(Sorry about the negative tone. I just despair at times.)
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 10979
  • Total likes: 6341
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 10:53:34 AM »
I just got yet another rejection from a publisher. There was no mention of the actual quality of the manuscript. They're only complaint was that they require "an established web presence such as a website, social media along with noticeable effort to engage potential readers prior to publication".
This is so unfair :(
... but I also understand where they're coming from...
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all" - Douglas Adams

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 12:42:47 PM »
It's tough and very hard to get noticed. You seem to be doing well for reviews—better than me anyway. My only Amazon review (a nice 5 star one) was removed for reasons I don't know.

I don't have answers, but I'm writing more content for my website and doing occasional promotions. I had quite a few downloads of my free novelette during a recent Kobo promotion. When my second novel comes out in February, I plan to do Book Bub ads, another Kobo promotion, and perhaps some Amazon/FB ads, too.

I have a FB page, but I'm less into social media generally.

Offline Peat

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 02:37:38 PM »
Well that sucks.

First thing - I don't think every trad publisher requires a solid SM presence. I know two guys who are on Snow Books and their online presence is quite anemic. I think everyone's looking at it because in this day and age, the more an author can do their own promo the more publishers like it, but I don't think its mandatory for everyone. Don't necessarily give up hope there.

But as for Social Media itself? Being too isolated and weird to talk to strangers about this and that on the internet?

I don't buy that. Not when you have 1550 posts on an internet forum. To me, that's like a bassist telling me he couldn't play the guitar.

Yes, Twitter is bigger than here. But the basic core concepts are the same. You log on and you exchange a few words here and there with strangers who increasingly become less strange, sometimes post a few things (like having difficulty with snow storms) and people respond.

I'm not gonna lie. I sometimes find the size daunting too. The likelihood that nobody's going to respond to what you say. But, mainly, I just log in, like a few things, reply to something, then go away again.

And it takes five minutes (unless someone posts cute cat photos). You don't have to spend hours there.

As for too weird... honestly, most of the stuff I talk about on Twitter is the same sort of stuff I'd talk about here. If you're not too weird for Fantasy Faction, you're not too weird for Twitter.

To get to the nub of it - you're vastly overinflating the problems and commitment that would be involved. And I get that. I get that you don't want to do this. I didn't want to do so either. But once you do and actually get used to it, you're going to find most of the problems never really existed.

I'd do it. Its free, it's another lottery ticket towards getting that lucky strike that authors need, and its occasionally funny.



Blogging is a different story. I can't say I've noticed it making much difference to the writers I know. And the amount of work you've got to put in to get an audience there is obscene. Blog if you enjoy blogging is what I say.

The webpage is pretty much mandatory though.

It's tough and very hard to get noticed. You seem to be doing well for reviews—better than me anyway. My only Amazon review (a nice 5 star one) was removed for reasons I don't know.


They probably thought the reviewer was a friend - they've taken to removing reviews from reviewers who are linked to the author where they spot them.

Offline Not Lu

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 05:07:00 PM »

I'm writing this because I just got yet another rejection from a publisher. There was no mention of the actual quality of the manuscript. They're only complaint was that they require "an established web presence such as a website, social media along with noticeable effort to engage potential readers prior to publication".


What the publisher is saying is that once you've built an audience they'll be interested. I'd run away from this type of publisher. They want you to do all the work of building an audience and then reap the major part of the reward.

As far as exposure for an author goes, social media is just one piece of an entire marketing strategy. Its best purpose is for customer retention (people who've already bought one of your books and liked it enough to follow you on FB or Twitter hoping to find out about new releases and such). The second benefit of social media is word of mouth advertising. When people come to your page/timeline and like your posts or talk to you their friends see the interaction, which gives your work exposure. The third benefit is networking with other authors (if you're so inclined). Networking allows you to do things like newsletter swaps where you both (or many authors) put your books on sale for .99 or free then everyone blasts their newsletters about the sale.

For ideas about using social media go look at some other fantasy authors' FB and Twitter feeds. Look at what they're doing. Maybe some authors in this forum can give you some tips on what's working for them. I know that one author here is slowly building his social media presence. Maybe he can tell what he's doing and how it's working. I don't want to out him, but his name rhymes with Hustan Jenner. :)

For exposure for your books I think you need to take some time and build a marketing strategy. I say this in all the kindness I'm capable of (which isn't much), but it looks to me like you've tried a bunch of tactics without any underlying strategy. Kinda like an army shooting some arrows, sending out the cavalry, and forming up the infantry without an objective.

So, first ask yourself, "What is my objective?"
  -- Is it selling books?
  -- Is it building a niche audience that will read everything you write?
  -- Is it building a brand that a wide audience will enjoy?
  -- Is it getting traditionally published?
  -- Is it selling the movie rights to HBO or Netflix? -- ok, a guy can dream, right?

Then build a plan (strategy) to reach that objective. If it's just selling books you don't have to do much more than write a decent series and use Amazon advertising to sell the first in series. You'll lose money on the first book, but make money on the people who buy book 2, 3, 4, etc. (assuming the books are decent). If you put your books in Kindle Unlimited you'll get an added benefit of more exposure and page read payouts. If you're making a little money use it to ad FB and other advertising. Then write the next series, rinse and repeat.

If you're building a niche audience or a wide brand, your strategy will have to start with a lot of research about your intended audience. Then writing a series specifically designed for them. Then using advertising tactics that find that specific audience. Then building an ecosystem (website, social media, forums, newsletter, etc.) that keeps your audience aware of you and your new works. Each time you release a new book you'll get a boost of exposure because your audience will be talking about the new release on social media.

Long story even longer, define your objective then build a strategy using the proper tactics to achieve the objective. This will take research and a lot of thinking about the best use of each tactic, but it will probably work better than throwing tactics against the wall to see what sticks.


Offline Skip

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 06:22:02 PM »
I agree with Peat--social media isn't social media, it's just talking. And you obviously don't mind talking with people or you wouldn't talk here.

There are many, many places where you can talk with folks--far more than in RL. I would add just *one* place. I wouldn't make that Twitter because that's essentially one huge stadium full of people all talking at once. Facebook is a possibility, though much depends on your attitude about that company. I shrug it off, but it bothers some folks and I wouldn't start at a place if I already had negative vibes about it. If you do go with FB, look for groups. That's how I found one specifically for historical fantasy.

Then there's the two big picture sites, Instagram and Pinterest. If you happen to have lots of pictures and enjoying looking at pics from others, that can be a place, especially good for making it look like your website is active. <g> (there's a way to hook the two together, if your website is WordPress).

Then, and maybe other folks here can chime in, there are lesser-known social media sites where it might be interesting to break in. Names escape me right now. These sites could offer the comfort of smaller communities.

In the longer run, your aim would be to be able to post a comment, a thought, a picture, a question, and have that appear in multiple places without your having to log in and re-type each time. There are tools that facilitate this.
Visit Altearth

Offline Skip

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 06:31:16 PM »
Separately, I know it's discouraging, but the life of the unpublished writer has always been discouraging. Always. There have always been gates and gatekeepers. These have shifted around in the past decade or two, but getting noticed has always been in the chair right next to Impossible's chair. It has always been hopeless, except for the ones who broke through. You notice how most any successful artist will talk about how lucky they are? Yeah. They aren't kidding.

In any talent-driven field, there's this terrible algebra: (Luck + Talent) * Persistence = successLikelihood
The only variable you control directly is Persistence. The one guarantee of failure is to set Persistence to zero, to give up. As for the other two variables, no one knows about Luck, and the artist is the worst evaluator of his own Talent. We tend to range from Brilliant to A Fraud. Usually hourly. So it might as well be an unknown as well.

Given all that, frustration is not something we experiences, it's more like the writer's constant state. Keep an eye on it. Nurture it. If you notice you haven't been frustrated in a while, start worrying. <g>

Offline Eclipse

  • Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4229
  • Total likes: 2112
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 07:08:42 PM »
I agree with Peat--social media isn't social media, it's just talking. And you obviously don't mind talking with people or you wouldn't talk here.

There are many, many places where you can talk with folks--far more than in RL. I would add just *one* place. I wouldn't make that Twitter because that's essentially one huge stadium full of people all talking at once. Facebook is a possibility, though much depends on your attitude about that company. I shrug it off, but it bothers some folks and I wouldn't start at a place if I already had negative vibes about it. If you do go with FB, look for groups. That's how I found one specifically for historical fantasy.


There’s a fantasy faction Facebook group , ask the same writer’s question as you do here . You will get answers from fellow authors and readers.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 08:13:37 PM »
I don't have answers, but I'm writing more content for my website and doing occasional promotions. I had quite a few downloads of my free novelette during a recent Kobo promotion. When my second novel comes out in February, I plan to do Book Bub ads, another Kobo promotion, and perhaps some Amazon/FB ads, too.

I tried Book Bub. I'm afraid it had no effect whatsoever.

For exposure for your books I think you need to take some time and build a marketing strategy. I say this in all the kindness I'm capable of (which isn't much), but it looks to me like you've tried a bunch of tactics without any underlying strategy. Kinda like an army shooting some arrows, sending out the cavalry, and forming up the infantry without an objective.

Yeah, I just tried one thing after the other.

Quote
Then build a plan (strategy) to reach that objective. If it's just selling books you don't have to do much more than write a decent series and use Amazon advertising to sell the first in series. You'll lose money on the first book, but make money on the people who buy book 2, 3, 4, etc. (assuming the books are decent). If you put your books in Kindle Unlimited you'll get an added benefit of more exposure and page read payouts. If you're making a little money use it to ad FB and other advertising. Then write the next series, rinse and repeat.

If you're building a niche audience or a wide brand, your strategy will have to start with a lot of research about your intended audience. Then writing a series specifically designed for them. Then using advertising tactics that find that specific audience. Then building an ecosystem (website, social media, forums, newsletter, etc.) that keeps your audience aware of you and your new works. Each time you release a new book you'll get a boost of exposure because your audience will be talking about the new release on social media.

Hmm. As I said, Amazon ads were among the things I tied money to before throwing it out the window. Maybe I wasn't spending enough, it's been long enough that I can't remember how much it was. But do these kinds of ads even work? I never click on ads myself, and I've become pretty jaded to the idea of other people doing so in the ocean of ads we all get exposed to.


There are many, many places where you can talk with folks--far more than in RL. I would add just *one* place. I wouldn't make that Twitter because that's essentially one huge stadium full of people all talking at once. Facebook is a possibility, though much depends on your attitude about that company. I shrug it off, but it bothers some folks and I wouldn't start at a place if I already had negative vibes about it. If you do go with FB, look for groups. That's how I found one specifically for historical fantasy.

I already have a basic Facebook page, which I use to keep in touch with family and real-life people in a convenient fashion.

Anyway, I think that, yes, selecting one or two SFF groups might be the way for me.

Quote
In the longer run, your aim would be to be able to post a comment, a thought, a picture, a question, and have that appear in multiple places without your having to log in and re-type each time. There are tools that facilitate this.

What do you mean?


There’s a fantasy faction Facebook group , ask the same writer’s question as you do here . You will get answers from fellow authors and readers.

I know of it but have never really gotten involved with it. Just what is it used for? I don't want to burst in shouting "Buy my book!"
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Skip

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 09:06:03 PM »
> Just what is it used for?
Rather, ask what sort of community it is. I mean, what's Fantasy Faction forums "for"?  They're for talking. For finding interesting people.

>I don't want to burst in shouting "Buy my book!"
They don't want that either. <g> So, don't. As was suggested in another post, you can post questions there same as you do here. Help other people out. Answer their questions, give your opinions, and in general get involved. One of the groups (FF?) has a single thread, announced monthly, to which you can post promotions. Others have different rules. Read and follow.

As to those other tools, I had in mind something like HootSuite. It's an app where you enter your login info on all your social media sites. Then you can set HS to echo a post to all or to a select list. I've not got to that point; I still adjust a post slightly from one place to another. Not terribly efficient, but it works.

Just for reference and context, I have
website (+ blog)
Twitter (almost never used)
Facebook (family)
Facebook (Altearth)
three FB groups
and three forums: FF, Mythic Scribes, and SFF Chronicles.

I probably spend an hour a day in these places, sometimes less, rarely much more. I still like the forums best, but I was running my own web-based forum clear back in 1995, and was running RBBS and PCBoard before that. And was active in Compuserv even before that (also, HUMANIST and MEDIEV-L, for the truly ancient). So I'm very comfortable with this sort of asynchronous, multi-threaded conversation.

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6961
  • Total likes: 4738
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 10:37:24 PM »
Completely off-thread...

Quote
I probably spend an hour a day in these places, sometimes less, rarely much more. I still like the forums best, but I was running my own web-based forum clear back in 1995, and was running RBBS and PCBoard before that. And was active in Compuserv even before that (also, HUMANIST and MEDIEV-L, for the truly ancient). So I'm very comfortable with this sort of asynchronous, multi-threaded conversation.

I was doing nothing re" net-based communication back in the day. My first experience of a forum is this one, and I was terrified (53 years-old, terrified) as I pressed the post button the first time. What if they don't like me?!!!!

 ::)
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 11:54:46 PM »
They probably thought the reviewer was a friend - they've taken to removing reviews from reviewers who are linked to the author where they spot them.
It's likely. The reviewer was anonymous, so I might never be sure.

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 11:57:46 PM »

I tried Book Bub. I'm afraid it had no effect whatsoever.
That's not encouraging, but I'll see what happens.

Offline xiagan

  • Writing Contest Organizer
  • Powers That Be
  • Elderling
  • *
  • Posts: 5932
  • Total likes: 2585
  • Gender: Male
  • Master Procrastinator
    • View Profile
Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 12:06:38 PM »
Elí, that's exactly the reason why I stopped. It took too much out of me.
I'm just not the type to self-advertise and keep social media accounts up to date.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Social media - I would really appreciate some advice
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2018, 12:43:06 PM »
Elí, that's exactly the reason why I stopped. It took too much out of me.
I'm just not the type to self-advertise and keep social media accounts up to date.

High five!

... sort of.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!