Does Anyone Really Enjoy Social Media?
I’m both traditionally published and indie published, but because I’m not a household name and pulling down huge advances for my traditionally published books, I’ve had to do just as much promotion for them as for my indie books. Promotion eats up a lot of an author’s time, time that should be spent writing the next book, and I often wonder if it really works.
I’m not a salesperson. The three weeks I spent one summer pedaling Fuller Brush door-to-door (yes, I’m dating myself) were three of the most excruciating weeks of my life. Most writers are introverts by nature, and introverts don’t do well when it comes to trying to talk people into parting with their money.
But unless you promote your books, no one will know they exist, especially if you’re indie publishing. Those indie books aren’t sitting on bookstore shelves where they might attract the attention of browsing customers. And that’s where social media comes in. Readers can learn about our books via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever the social media du jour will be next week. Some authors choose to concentrate their promo efforts on one or two social media site; others embrace them all. But does social media really help authors sell books?
Several weeks ago I released Mosaic Mayhem, the second novelette in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery series. These books are e-only companion works to my traditionally published Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series which has received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist as well as having been nominated for a Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Crewel Intentions, the first Mini-Mystery, was released the end of November and had sold 225 copies through the first week in August. Mosaic Mayhem, was uploaded to Kindle, Nook, and Kobo early Saturday morning August 3rd. It went live on Amazon later that afternoon. By the next day it was also up on Kobo. Barnes & Noble took nearly 48 hours to make it available for Nook. Apple dragged their heels for a week and a half before it went live on iTunes.
Both of the mini-mysteries sell for $1.99. The full length novels sell for $14.99 as trade paperbacks and anywhere from $7-15 for the ebooks, depending on the title and vendor. The mini-mysteries are quite a deal in comparison.
By Monday morning Mosaic Mayhem was #7 on Amazon’s list of Kindle Craft & Hobby Cozy Mysteries. On Tuesday it was #2 under Hot New Releases. Sounds pretty spectacular, doesn’t it? But here’s the catch: at that point I’d sold all of 12 books on Amazon. 12 BOOKS!
That Wednesday I composed a tweet with both the Kindle and Nook URLs included. I’m not one of those people who constantly sends out “buy my book” tweets. Most of my tweets are about the interesting articles and guests who appear on my blog or retweets of interesting things I read on other tweets. I don’t like to hit people over the head with promo. Remember, I’m an introvert by nature. However, I went on the various Yahoo groups I belong to and asked people to retreet for me. I added @anasleuth, my Twitter handle, at the end of the tweet so I’d be able to track the numbers. Twenty-four hours after the first retweet went out I’d had my tweet retweeted to 146,791 people. At thirty-six hours that number had increased to 160,591. Again, sounds pretty impressive, right?
When I was first out of college, I worked in advertising. I remember a statistic concerning direct mail marketing that claimed result of 1-3%. In other words, for every 100 sales brochures sent out, you could expect that 1-3 people would buy your product. Using that stat, I should have sold a minimum of 1,467-1,605 copies of Mosaic Mayhem, although I would have been happy with 1/10th of 1% (146-160 books.)
Care to guess how many additional books I sold within that 24 hour period? Three on Amazon and two on Barnes & Noble. Pretty dismal, right? And yet at that point Amazon still had Mosaic Mayhem ranked #17 on the Kindle Craft & Hobby Cozy Mystery list. Obviously, the paradigm no longer applies in the new cyberworld order.
So what’s the takeaway here? I’m not convinced social media is worth all the effort authors put into it. Does it work for some authors? Probably. Does it work for most author? Probably not. I will continue to tweet about my books occasionally and ask people to retweet my tweets because you just never know, but wouldn’t it be nice if all authors had to do was concentrate on writing the next book?
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery
The second novelette to the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series.
So much for a romantic getaway…When cash-strapped mom and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack is offered an all-expense paid three-day trip to Barcelona, her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of landing in Europe, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve got the wrong person. Why do people on both sides of the Atlantic keep trying to kill this pear-shaped, middle-aged single mom, and magazine crafts editor?
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack which Kirkus Reviews dubbed, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Twitter @anasleuth.