I’d like to thank Kathy for taking time from her super-busy schedule to be a guest on the blog today. I first met Kathy several years ago at an ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, where she was giving her Polishing the PUGS (Punctuation, Usage, Spelling & Grammar) presentation. If you need professional editing (and don’t all writers?), I highly recommend Kathy! ~ Linda
Social Media – How Much Is Too Much?
By Kathy Ide
When my new book released a few months ago, I started doing what “everybody” (including my agent and my publisher) told me I’m supposed to do: talk about it! In every social media venue, multiple times a day, several days a week. Which is easy, because I truly believe that Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors is a great resource for writers and editors. (A belief that, fortunately, is being confirmed by my readers!) And I do want to get the word out about it to anyone who might benefit from it.
Truth to tell, all this social media blitzing is actually kinda fun! Especially when I read a positive review on Amazon or someone’s blog. Or when I see that people are retweeting one of my posts or chatting about my book on their Facebook pages. Or when others ask me to do a guest post or a Q&A interview for their blogs.
But I have to say … there are a few downsides to this exciting world of book promotion through social media.
• Problem #1
I had a super-crazy-busy schedule before my book came out. And with everything a person can do on social media these days, that makes for a really long to-do list … on top of all the to-do lists I already had! Since my “day job” is freelance editing, I have to make time to work on my clients’ manuscripts. And I really love doing that. But it would be so easy to spend all day every day doing nothing but promote my book!
• Problem #2
I know people who are always pushing themselves and hawking their wares on social media. And it gets irritating really fast. If I see a flurry of messages from someone that just say, “Buy my book!” or “Got a great review on my book!” or “Please post a review about my book,” I’m going to be looking for that little X I can click on to hide their messages. And I do not want to become that kind of person myself! I mean, what’s the point of having hundreds or even thousands of friends, fans, and followers if they all hide your messages, right?
• Problem #3
I’ve been hearing some disparaging opinions and discouraging statistics lately about the effectiveness of social media for book promotion. Various surveys have indicated that readers don’t buy books because they’ve heard about them through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. One survey said the #1 influence is in-store display, with #2 being referral from a friend or relative. But bookstores (like many retail outlets) are carrying a lot less stock than what’s available online—especially with new books. And how often do people go into brick-and-mortar stores to buy books these days anyway? Besides, how do “friends and relatives” hear about books … and how do they recommend them? Surely that happens on social media—a lot. (Especially with a book like mine, with the target audience being writers and editors, who are strongly encouraged to be heavily involved in social media!)
• Problem #4
Before I had this new book to promote, I used to post things on my social media venues that I thought would be helpful to people. Like writing tips. And publishing industry news. And my observations of trends in the book world. Well, I’ve been tossing in a few of those kinds of things among all those book-promotion posts. But I think they got lost in the barrage!
I’d like to get back to posting the kinds of things that drew people to sign up to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. in the first place. Oh, I’ll still post things about my book from time to time. Like inviting people to my Virtual Launch Party. And letting folks know when my book is available on Barnes & Noble’s website cheaper than on Amazon! But I don’t want to overdo the whole book-promotion thing. And I don’t think my friends, fans, and followers want me to, either.
How much social media promotion is too much, in your opinion? How often should authors post announcements and information about their own books? How can an author get the word out about his or her book in ways that don’t come across as blatant self-promotion?
Kathy Ide is a published author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. Her latest book is Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. Kathy is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com). To find out more, visit KathyIde.com.