In this blog post, I respond to “Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors“, an article published recently in the Guardian.
I can’t speak for other writers, but I wouldn’t want to spend 100% of my time as a writer (based on the last line in the article). I enjoy the mix of writing, promoting my books (oh, is that a hot link to my book page? how rude!) and doing other stuff that does not involve writing or promoting my books.
Also, just because you write a book and promote it using social media doesn’t mean it’s going to sell, and it’s never meant it’s going to sell, so to say the social media book selling bubble is bursting is to say that something that never existed no longer exists.
Does social media help me sell books. Sure. A few. But if I depended only on social media, I’d sell more than a few books. So how do you sell books? Ah, ain’t that the riddle!
But here is a summary of how …
First you have to write a “decent” book. Notice how “decent” is in quotes. Like beauty, decent is in the eye of the beholder. (For instance, I found the writing in The Da Vinci Code to be abysmal. So it was not, in my humble opinion, a decent book. But I’d never tell that to the millions of people who gobbled it up and felt is was a darn good page turner.
Next, you have to write a book for a specific target market. Let me rephrase that: You can write anything you want, no doubt about it. But if it is of interest to nobody, you will sell no (or very, very, very few books). In other words, just because you wrote it, doesn’t mean I have to buy it. No obligation on my part!
Then you have to promote it. How … Let me count the ways! (I’m not going to count them all here.) But social media can be one of the ways you promote your book.
Oh, and keep in mind, the book buying pie is not expanding. The number of books available are growing. Don’t know if it’s exponentially, but with self-publishing (print on demand and e-books) added to the traditional publishers’ mix, I think it’s fair to say there are more books available than ever before. And the same number of buyers buying the same number of books. Therefore, each author will sell fewer books than ever before. With exceptions to the rule: 50 Shades of Grey and a few other books that break the barrier. But that was always the case in book publishing. However, if you use self-publishing (POD and e-books) and price your books properly, you can make more per book than any publisher ever paid an author (blog post on the topic coming soon(ish)).
So you might not become a best seller, but you can make some money on your books. I’m no bestseller, although I’ve sold almost 6,000 books (yes, and some of my books — can you spell fiction‘ — are still trying to break the ‘dozen’ barrier, but since when have less than stellar sales ever stopped a writer who love to write!).
Overall, I’m a happy self-published author. Could I earn more doing corporate writing and training? Yes. But would I be having as much fun as I am? No. This is not a knock on corporate writing and training; this is just me saying that I’m making a bit of pocket change and having fun doing something I enjoy doing.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but the idea behind the Guardian article just doesn’t make any sense to me.