I hate social networking. I’m horrible at it, and there are very few things I want to do less than spend the time trying to come up with witty ways of telling people what I’m doing, as well as come up with things to say in response to other people telling me what they are doing.
I’ve considered killing my facebook profile numerous times over the years. The only reason I joined in the first place was because I was in school and it was being used by many of my classmates to get together to work on projects.
I joined myspace a number of years ago to understand the sociology of social networking, and have since stopped utilizing it.
And now I’m back on twitter after stopping a year or so ago because I just couldn’t bring myself to use it appropriately.
I returned to twitter simply as a response to what I had seen as a considered necessity if you wanted to win in the publishing game. Yet, I don’t use it appropriately. . . so, why am I still on there? No clue.
I have a new project in mind that would make heavy use of the different social networking platforms to tell a story. I’m very tentative about moving forward on it, merely because of the amount of attention that’s required. I would much rather sit in my backyard with a beer in hand than to sit staring at my phone trying to find things I should be involved in talking about. . .
In other words, I am questioning my plans on this new project.
But then there’s a whole other issue at play here. After fighting the battle of breaking into the publishing industry for the last year, I’ve finally made the decision to go it on my own. Doing so entails a certain amount of necessary marketing. Since I have limited funds to do the marketing, things like Twitter seem like an appropriate method . . . at least if you do the research on the interwebz. This new project of mine could be considered a form of self-branding as well. One of the reasons it’s been higher on my priority list than previously.
But I hate twitter. And I don’t really care for facebook. Hell, the only reason I’m updating this blog regularly is because I nabbed the domain name a number of years ago and don’t want to have to deal with changing my e-mail address. . . and so, since the space is here, it seems really stupid to not do anything with it.
In other words. . . I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to proceed. Many within the publishing industry believe that social networking is an important part of being involved in the revolution that’s currently taking place in the industry. Maybe they are right. . . but I see way more writers and agents and publishers on twitter than I see potential readers.
I think it’s an example of people seeing the future being here and being forced upon us, but not knowing how to react. The advent of e-readers has drastically changed the atmosphere. It’s being credited with the boon we are seeing in the romance novel market, as people don’t have to be ashamed to be holding a book with a Fabio look-alike on the cover.
But in this same instance, we’re seeing enormous markets of readers being ignored. And I don’t think they are spending their time on twitter. In fact, I think when looking for their books to load up on their e-readers, they are either looking for books that are recommended to them, or books they can get on the cheap. This offers a lot of opportunities for a self-published author, as the prices for ebooks are insane right now, at least from traditional publishers. They’ll state things like how the cost between the two is negligible (print vs electronic) and that the high price is because of how much it costs to market/develop/whatever the books.
I think that’s BS. There is a cost difference. Maybe it’s not large, but when you can get a print version of the same book for cheaper than the ebook, there’s something fishy going on.
So. . . anyways, back to the topic at hand. A self-published author has some great opportunities in front of them, since they have the ability to set a price point much lower than the traditional publishers are willing to do at this point. Yet there’s the battle of trying to get your book to rise above the crap of the pile. That’s the hard part. Luckily, traditional publishers are in that same boat, as they all have fallen victim, during the years of plenty, to publishing loads of crap. People don’t buy books because of the publisher, they buy books because they know the author’s previous work, or the book’s been recommended to them. Or, if they are very prolific readers. . . because the idea interests them.
But the prolific readers are a small portion of the market share. You want the first two sections of the market, the people who don’t read volumes of books, but read the books they know are worthwhile.
The question still remains. . . how do you get your book in their hands?
Looking into the successes of other self-published authors, you can see that many of them have used book review blogs to get knowledge of their book out there. Only issue is. . . many book review blogs don’t deal with self-published books (understandably). And the ones that do, well, convincing them to do so can be very similar to convincing an agent to read. The battle rages on.
There’s the old school methods available. Getting your books on shelves in as many bookstores as possible can definitely help awareness. That means you need a fantastic cover that brings people in. . . generally meaning more money invested. Somewhat of an option, but very time consuming, and still no promise of return on investment.
But is there actually a sure thing in the publishing industry today? Is there a way to actually succeed when going it on your own? Many of the big name authors of history came to success through self-publishing. There’s precedent. But how did they go about it? That’s the real question.
Because no matter how technology has changed the world, sales really hasn’t changed. You need to spark that interest, you need the network marketing that will spread news of your work around. What technology has done has increased the avenues in which one can do so. . . but that also dilutes your ability to get to any one market.
I’m working on this. My brain has been going into hyperdrive trying to figure out how to combine the old world and the new. My books are good, whether or not the industry wants to back them right now. I just have to find a way to let the world know they are good so they’ll actually sit down and read them.
And I’m not looking at making millions tomorrow or anything. Just need to find a way to get that ball rolling, no matter how slowly it has to roll.
It will happen.
But for now, I’m in the midst of revising, and developing this new social networking-based story, whether or not I actually go through with it. I love the idea of this new story, but the work involved in putting it together sounds painful. . .
have a great memorial day. I’m going to spend it sleeping, methinks.