Friday, July 27, 2012

Shouting in a Windstorm

I have a confession to make - one which may not surprise anyone reading this...I suck at social media. The curse of being a socially impaired nerd, or geek, or dork - pick the term you like best. They all apply. Point being, that for me, while I adore the internet for the opportunity it affords me to continue hiding in my introverted cave without having to wander out into the wilds of a suburban shopping mall for socks OR books, I do sometimes feel like using the internet to help people find *my* books is a little like shouting into a windstorm. There are so many people wittier than I, so many people with bigger, more distinct voices who can be heard above the tumult.

How does a socially awkward geek girl up the discoverability of books?
1. Write more books and make them the best she possibly can. I wish I had stats to quote for you, but I'm at RWA National on an itty bitty netbook that makes calling up reseach data a real pain in the kazoo - BUT there're research stats out there in the world suggesting that readers finding your books and sticking with you as a author are directly related to how much new stuff you offer them to read. This doesn't require four books a year. But go four years between books and you'll have lost everyone who had once been so excited for your novels. Unless you are George R. R. Martin. Then they'll wait for you, but they'll hound you while they wait.
2. Read. Talk about what you read. I'm agreeing with Jeffe's note about "A rising tide floats all boats". Blog, Tweet, or whatever about books you've read and enjoyed. Talk to friends about books. Get recommendations. Read them. Make recommendations. Write reviews - honest, constructive reviews. Though, let me say, if I read something I don't care for, I won't finish it. Then I won't review it. A review on a book I don't finish isn't fair, so I won't. I love talking up other people's books, whether in person or on Twitter or on Facebook. (Goodreads - use at your discretion. Because of some truly odd stuff going down there, I only review people I actually know - especially if I had any quibbles with how something went together.) Helping other people discover a new to them author is good karma. And sometimes, the people you talk up will talk you up, too.
3. Pay it forward. Hard to do - but - throughout a writer's journey, knowledge and experience are gained. Some good, some bad, all of it valuable. It's easy to take for granted all the stuff you know that people new to the craft don't know. Share what you've learned in workshops and on panels. Sure your audience will be other writers, but these people are also readers.

Ultimately, it's about connecting people with what they want and need. Simple, often overlooked sales principle. Read the book The Spider and the Starfish. Most corporations are a spider - cut off the head, the spider dies. It's the 'centralized' notion of marketing. You can cut off a starfish's arms and it will still survive - everything just grows back. You can cut one in half. Both halves become a new starfish. I'm suggesting you build your own starfish by developing real relationships with a network of people who talk to other people, who talk to other people, etc, etc, until someone talks to Kevin Bacon. No. Wait. You're helping other authors and readers who are likely helping you, too. Word of mouth. Word of the internet (even if you're kinda bad at it like I am) - both are pretty powerful tools. But underneath it all are people and relationships. How do you raise the discoverability of books? You give a damn. Then you act on giving a damn.


  1. I wouldn't have pegged you as someone who sucks at social media - but maybe that's because I only know you through here and your own blog.

    Great suggestions on upping the discoverability. Thanks. Definitely stuff to use if I ever get published.

  2. I agree. Once an author has a fan base that they interact with on a blog or social media, the snowball effect will begin. It takes time but if the writing is good then they will come :)Fans LOVE to spread the word and they will relentlessly for an author that takes the time to say "hey" or "thanks" or "I know how you feel" :)

  3. I think you're doing fine on the social media thing. And if you ever feel like branching out: you're welcome at my blog for a guestpost or something like that :-)

    1. Heh. Maybe it's just in my own head that I sound all awkward and stilted. :D I'd like to think so.

  4. I definitely have a similar perspective on using social media to promote my work. It can become overwhelming at times, but is a necessity. However, you have provided very useful tools for a new author such as myself. Thank you.