Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Does Social Media Sell Books?




Between authors spamming online groups daily, twitter hashtags that are increasingly flooded with tweets, and Facebook pages that despite having a large “like” base being hidden from view, is Social media a place to sell books?

I’m guilty of all of the above. I belong to countless facebook groups for authors, readers, reviewers, etc… I regularly schedule auto-tweets, and use hashtags. I practically live on facebook. But, I do not see the efforts helping to push any of my books into the spotlight.

I’d venture a guess to say that other authors have noticed the same trend.

This won’t be a post filled with answers. If I had them, I would certainly share them. What I’d like to talk about is the why rather than the what do we do aspect of this.

When the market was smaller and being an author was more a dream than a reality, advertising was easier. But, with the ease of self-publishing, more people are realizing the dream. A bit of a double-edged sword. The down side of that is that everyone is publishing, and I do mean EVERYONE. 

Anyone who has ever had the desire to penn their first novel, is. The market is quite literally flooded with books of all shapes and sizes. Anything you can think of has and is being published. And, social media is the place where EVERYONE is taking their books.

I open up facebook and look at my notifications. Over 99 in just a few hours. The majority of them… You guessed it, post about new books and sale books. I can hardly find post by friends anymore because of the absolute wall of book advertisements. And, like I said, I am guilty of posting as well, though I limit myself to no more than 8 a day. Still, even with my low post count, it is only adding to the white noise.

The same applies to twitter. A quick scroll through recent posts in the last five minutes turns up the same results.

If I go to blogger and look up blogs I’ve signed on to read and 90% of them are blog tours advertising new books.

It’s enough to make you want to scream at times. Nothing but sale, sale, sale, and New Author, and 
Debut author. Yes, authors need to be able to reach the market to sell books, but this is just not the way.

So, I put the question to you. Are you guilty of this? Do you feel it really helps? And, if not, what do you do to help sell your books?


4 comments:

Jenna Elizabeth Johnson said...

Hello Katie,
As a fellow indie author, I must say you do make a good point here. Yes, I am guilty of these as well (though I cheat when it comes to Twitter - it's attached to my Facebook posts, so what I post there goes up on the other). I wouldn't say I do much by way of making announcements on book groups (I'm too lazy and disorganized for that ;)). I do use my Facebook author page A LOT, and I doubt I get many sales out of that. I do host tons of giveaways there and my end goal is to engage my readers and hopefully spread the word about my books the old-fashioned, word of mouth way. I have tried other advertising sites and BookBub has by far been the most successful. I feel this year I've hit a wall of sorts and I'm thinking the best way to get past it is to just keep writing and publishing more books. If you find a secret to gaining more sales, by all means, let me know!

Rosemary Rey said...

I've quit posting to forums and pimping my books in comments requesting suggestions. I feel that it is a delusion that constant posting will help with sales. They may, but if all of us authors are doing the same in the same groups, then how will we know if we're reaching the readers who are the people the ad is directed to. I also hate feeling irrelevant when the same books are being linked, suggested, gushed over. I've asked my readers to post for me. Not really a street team, but close enough if they really want to help me, they will. There may have been a time when those ads helped, but FB is limiting those posts unless they're paid for. And even when paid, I'm not sure it makes much of a difference past the first couple of days. After about 4 days, the sales dwindle because new people aren't being reached. If the ones reached wanted to buy it, they did early on in the campaign. There are a lot of factors that help with getting books to the readers and it is an amalgamation of things.

Katie Salidas said...

Jenna, I too have the auto post feature from my Facebook page to my Twitter account. Mainly because I just don't "get" twitter. I know about hashtags and what not, but it still just seems to me to be like shouting into the void. But other people love it. To each their own, I guess.

Now, giveaways I do fee are an excellent way to get readers fired up. I love to do them as well and use FB pages as a place to host them.

Katie Salidas said...

Rosemary,

Yes, If you can get other people to post for you, official street team or not, it does help more. Word of mouth is best achieved that route. I've always said, you can talk your book up for hours and no one will listen, but if one stranger loves it others will hear about it.