Saturday, January 4, 2014

Social Media in 2014

Well happy New Year to everyone. Hope you're getting all your ducks in a row. I'm talking about book sales and social media, primarily. From all indications it looks like it's going to be a tougher nut to crack than last year. I say that because, as I write/speak, thousands of more books are entering the marketplace, and those books are coming from the self-publishing sector. They'll continue to come. There's nothing wrong with that, only it will make visibility that much more difficult for all of us. For once, Joe Konrath has agreed with me on one point that I predicted, as evidenced by words in his blog post below:

"5. Visibility will become harder. As more ebooks get published, and virtual shelf space expands, it is going to become harder to find eyeballs. Ebooks aren't a competition--readers buy what they want to, without limits, even if TBR piles become impossible to ever finish within a lifetime. So someone who buys my ebook will also buy yours; there is no either/or. But only if the reader is aware of both."

You can read the whole post here (It's the second one down):

I predicted a bubble burst in self-publishing back in one of my later posts, but I'll have to redefine that as more of a stagnation or stall in sales. I'm seeing evidence of that all over the Kindle Boards, with the exception of some old timers who seem to be holding their own. I can't really tell you what works and will work in the future other than the standard updates on your blog, website, FB and Twitter. Goodreads and Librarything seems a pretty safe bet as far as interacting and tossing the word out. Book Blogs seems to be dead for me as far as sales. I interact like crazy with all of my writing groups, but this doesn't seem to have much of an effect. My sales have been stagnant for about the last five months. Others are reporting the same situation.

I can tell you, that from some long and serious investigation, that if you have a huge extended family--relatives, lots of friends and a huge employee pool at your place of work, that if you send out notices to all in sundry, your chances of hitting the top 100 bestseller's genre or category on Amazon are extremely good. This type of algorithm of great sales ranks will draw the curious in and boost sales even more. I think this initial friends/family/co-worker push is the most important tactic you can use to up your sales chances. I know this because I've asked dozens of writers. I've confirmed this because I have no extended family and no place of work. My friend list is confined to online contacts. My entire family is nearly deceased except for some cousins, nieces and nephews. I'm a sole survivor of my family name. So, in essence, if you have this type of personal crowd support, dear Gawd, take advantage of it right away and ask those persons to blog you, re-Tweet you, announce you and spread the word to keep up the momentum. The longer you stay in the top 100, the more exposure you'll pull which may translate to sales. Everybody likes a winner.

I'm experimenting with visiting all the YouTube videos I can at the moment. These YouTube videos are all in my space, science, ufo and physics area of study. They all tie into my science fiction book in some form or another. I truly love these topics and comment on them so frequently that I'm sure I'm becoming known as some type of guru or something. What I've done with each comment is add my own personal signature at the end of the comment. It looks like this:  Chris Stevenson, author--Planet Janitor; Custodian of the Stars.

I just started doing this and I'm getting a lot of comments back. Now whether this might translate into sales, I'm not sure. I don't leave a link to the book. Hell, they can Google the SOB. I don't really want to come off as a spammer, and I'm taking a chance as it is by doing this. You might try it and see what happens. What's your area of interest that ties in with your book? Research that and jump into the conversations on the YouTubes. Don't spam. Get involved. Watch dozens, and sig dozens. Of course, this also applies to any writing group you're in. Jump into your genre thread and have at it. Link in your sig line if you have that feature in your group. Start joining new groups and introduce yourself. Find your pet threads and get involved. 

I can't advise you to spend money on ads, whether they're banner ads, hard-copy magazine ads or whatever. A lot of you are doing it--some are met with success, some are breaking even and many are losing their asses. I've never spent money on ads. It's too risky, IMO. I stopped physical book signings years ago. It doesn't pay unless you have that all important family, friend, relative, co-worker support group who will turn out in droves and make the event worthwhile. I'm serious. And y

You'd better announce your book release beforehand. Start your marketing and promotion campaign three months before your book release. Put out blurbs, teasers and excerpts all over the place. Put a couple chapters up, no more than 10 percent of your book text total, on Wadpad and Booksie and see what happens. Do a countdown on Twitter, your blog and FB. Entice your audience. Go for the big reviews. Failing that, go for the smaller review sites. Offer to guest blog with your peers, with the provision you can link and plug your book.

Good luck. If you have any ideas that are working for you, I'd like to hear them. Share with the other readers and subscribers. We just might hit on something that will work for 2014!