IWSG - March

Between writing and doing my 'real' job, I've been reading. I know, crazy right? A writer who reads. You'd never think! My focus the last couple of weeks, has been reading about social media and how to maximize our presence for building a 'platform' and hopefully selling books.

The most interesting thing I've found is Kristen Lamb's We Are Not Alone method of connecting with people. I've been reading her book, Rise of the Machines -- Human Authors in a Digital World. It's a bit basic at moments - like when she, for example, defines a Tweet - but some of the concepts she talks about hit on truths that I'd been intuiting but hadn't quite solidified as a concept. One of those is that writers on social media seem to primarily socialize with other writers, which is not a particularly effective way to sell books. Now, I recognize the irony of talking about this on IWSG day, I do. But bear with me! She says that it's good to do some socializing with writers, because of course fellow writers are the only ones who understand this particular brand of craziness and we need to have people on our side (hence, IWSG).

But in order to build a true base of supporters that will sell books, it is necessary to connect with people who are NOT writers, or even necessarily "avid readers". Think about all those people on Twitter who claim to have a huge base of "avid readers" as followers. Have you looked at the list? It's mostly all our writing friends!

The goal is to connect on social media with everyone else, in hopes that they will share the awesome'ness of your book with their friends, and help you go viral. A great example of this is Alex J Cavanaugh's recent success with his book CassaFire. The man is everywhere in the blogosphere and is a super nice guy, so when he asked for help promoting, people stepped up. And he sold TONS of books. Success!

Part of how to accomplish this is to let people see you as a person, not just as a writer. You also have to show that you appreciate them as people, in return. It makes sense, right? When blogging or tweeting, if we're only posting about writing all the time, most folks aren't going to connect with that. But if we share our thoughts on the big game, or our favorite recipes, or cat pictures, or the beautiful places we've been, that is what captures the attention of the general population. It hits them in their heart, which is most likely what we aim to do with our books as well. We are storytellers, so we must tell stories to connect with our audience.

All this to say that in the midst of trying to finish book number two, I've also been considering a pretty major redirection in how I use social media. First things first, we need to finish Sky Pirates, but it's a lot to think about! Very interesting to think about, but a lot nonetheless.

How do you use social media? Are most of your friends/followers writers, or everyone else? Any success (or fail) stories to share?

This post brought to you by the Insecure Writer's Support Group - a bunch of lovely writers who help each other 'rock the neurotic writing world.'


  1. Julie Flanders6:23 AM

    I'm always looking for tips on using social media effectively, I'm the first to admit that I really struggle with it. Lamb's book sounds like one I want to check out. Great to meet you through the IWSG!

    Julie Flanders, #IWSG Co-host

  2. Charity Bradford11:47 AM

    This has been on my mind lately too. A year or so ago I stopped writing "WRITING" posts on my blog. But I still talk a lot about my personal progress and wips. I need to start branching out a little bit. *sigh*

    Great advice and very timely.

  3. frodofrog12:01 PM

    It's really been a very interesting read. And, she practices what she preaches! I reached out to her on Twitter and she responded right away and actually engaged me in a conversation. Good stuff!

  4. frodofrog12:01 PM

    Right? We're so silly :)

  5. frodofrog12:03 PM

    That little *sigh* ...yeah, I get you on that. It's hard being everything, especially when the writing stuff is a second job, and oh yeah we'd like to have a life sometimes too! But this way of doing things seems like a good way to take some of the busy work out of promoting, so... it seems like it might be worth it to see if there's anything to it!

  6. Diane Burton12:30 PM

    I love Kristen Lamb's posts. She has this uncanny ability to zero in on a topic and make you think. I find when I share something of myself on my blog I get a better response than when I share something about my books.

  7. Solid advice! When I first started blogging, my publisher advised me not to follow only writers and authors. I do follow a lot now, but I still have an eclectic following and hope I always do.
    And the success CassaFire enjoyed just blew me away...

  8. Patricia Lynne4:31 PM

    I have a lot of writers I follow, but my followers I think I'm getting a good mix. I try to tweet lots of different things and actually don't pimp my book often. Lately, I've done some promoting but only because it's on sale.

  9. Holli7:49 PM

    You're so right! It's natural for writers to interact with other writers, but it's probably not the best way to sell books. And it's a must to talk about things other than writing on social media. The people who do nothing but promote themselves and hawk their books get annoying fast. Great post!

  10. doreenmcgettigan11:11 PM

    I rarely talk about writing or my books on social media. I use social media to create relationships. It has taken a lot of time but it is paying off.
    Writers definitely need to stop promoting their work to other writers it doesn't work.
    I love my writer friends though, they understand and are always good for inspiration and a kind word.

  11. Michelle Wallace7:19 AM

    The use of social media is important... but a time suck! How does one manage it? I struggle with this.
    Writers always connect with other writers. It's natural.
    Writer In Transit

  12. Elsie Amata6:49 AM

    I'm terrible about social media. It's just not something I pay much attention to during the normal course of my day. I need to do better.

  13. HilaryMB6:49 AM

    Hi AJ .. good luck with your social media - I don't do any .. but really must pluck up courage and start - perhaps after the A-Z this year .. and I at the moment am not publishing anything .. but I still buy and I enjoy the process of finding out what everyone's doing ...

    All the best though .. and yes Sky Pirates comes first .. cheers Hilary

  14. M. J. Joachim5:32 PM

    This makes so much sense and is a really good marketing idea. We need to know our target audience, but we also need to be out there for those who might appreciate our work, even when we don't specifically target them.


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