Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Social media for writers

Marketing is dull. Practically everyone hates it. We are all trained to tune it out. Authors have it drummed into their heads: "Get people to buy your book or you're dead."

I've been a busy proponent of marketing and have written about it a good bit. More and more, my ideas fall under the category of "Everything I know is wrong." I do sell books, maybe not millions, but a respectable amount that pleases more. But the whole push is not that satisfying, and not the real goal. Selling lots of books is disguised as the real goal, which is to influence people or change a mind with your thoughts.

I've already been shifting away from the "promo blitz" that I lapsed into when I started self-publishing, which wasn't much different from the days when I was pushing product for a corporation and making pennies on the dollar. I'm moving to a place of service. How can my work help somebody or make the world a better place, not just buy me another can of beans?

As the universe does, it was nudging me to the right crevices, such as Seth Godin's ideas on community communication. I just found a neat list on social media today at Conversation Agent. The bottom line is to be useful to others--why should you come read my blog to hear my ideas about (a) my books, (b) the changing publishing industry or (c) occasional gardening news?

Okay, let's start with Drummer Boy. New novel. Sure, a purchase puts a few coins in my pocket and maybe bumps it up the sales ranks a notch. A review is even better, as it improves recommendation slots. And I wrote it to work out some "misfit" ideas from my own childhood. And that's the reason for this book. Some kid somewhere, probably in his early teens, is going to find this book and it's going to help the kid through a rough patch, or at least say, "Hey, you're not alone."

The trick is that it's presented as an adult novel (though it doesn't necessarily have mature content, just that it features adult characters as well as kids). And because it's POD and e-book, it's less likely to just drop in as a used copy from a garage sale. So the job is to find that one kid who will benefit from the book.

They say authors should write for themselves first. If you are doing that, why not just stick with a diary? That's not communication, and it's not service, no more than sitting in a cave meditating for 80 years constitutes a sacred and moral life. "Faith without works is dead." That's a nice social media message.

How can I help you today?


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