This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Is this how it begins, commenting on comments until you’re sucked into the social media vortex?
I continue to mull over my first encounter commenting on comments about a topic I blogged (The myth that social media sells books – you can find it on this site). It was a four-way conversation (including myself) that ranged from the enlightening to the ludicrous.
It began with some cogent comments by Carpe Librum about the use of social media to promote book sales. I’ve taken some time to consider what she said and here are her quotes and my comments.
Carpe Librum: I wasn't successful sales-wise until I published a book that appealed to the kind of readers that I am already connected with through Goodreads.
So she wrote a book that would appeal to her social media followers? I thought it was the other way around – you wrote a book and people that liked what you wrote started following you. Boy, have I got it wrong. I’d like to acquire some book sales but I don’t think I could write a book I wasn’t committed to just because I knew it would sell. However, if any one knows of a sure thing, please let me know.
Carpe Liburm: Previously, I wrote two children's books that received positive reviews, but the word just never really got out about them. My adult historical fiction novel has been selling better than I would have hoped for, so I've looked at what I've done differently.
What has she done differently? Well, how about writing a book for adults instead of children and in an entirely different genre, unless there’s a children’s historical fiction category I’m not aware of.
Carpe Librum: Besides the audience that I already have a relationship with, I've joined a historical fiction Tweet group. We re-tweet each other on Twitter once each day, sharing each others posts with our own followers and greatly increasing the number of people that see each individual post. I have also done some guest blogging besides my own blog. I don't know exactly what the magic formula was, but I have sold more copies of this book on some single days than I have my first novel since it was released.
My guess would be the “magic formula” is more likely what I mentioned previously -different genre, different age category. I’d want hard data on the effectiveness of re-tweeting tweets.
Which brings us to my remark that everyone took offense to – “Is it fair to let people assume you’re interested in them, in what they’re doing, by following or friending them when really you’re only interested in promoting your own agenda? Before you answer remember integrity is what you do when nobody’s watching.”
Initially Carpe Librum wrote: I agree that we can't get too caught up in followers and likes, but I don't think my recent book release would have gone nearly so well if it were not for my presence on Goodreads and Twitter especially.
Following my gibe about integrity her response was:
Carpe Librum: My efforts in the social media department do take time, but it has been rewarding in more than sales. I do indeed have many online connections that I consider friends.
Hmmm. Do I sense a contradiction there? Never mind, because what she does say in that same paragraph really makes sense.
Carpe LIbrum: I will say that if your attitude toward social media is that you have no intention of being social in terms of reading and commenting on other posts, then it is pretty much doomed to fail.
So there you have it, as they say, in a nutshell. Since I’m using cliche´s I might as well add a few more: You reap what you sow; nothing ventured, nothing gained; and many, many more that mean you get out what you put in.
Apparently, at least to those who would lead you to believe they actively engage with all their followers and friends on social media, the content of this blog for example, is not nearly as important as how I respond to the comments and reciprocate with “liking”, “re-tweeting”, “following” and “friending”. Troy (another contributor to this conversation) was right when he said, “It's called social media for a reason. It's social.”
It appears I’ve failed in my first foray into the social part of social media. But, hey it’s not all bad, thanks to Troy I’ve learned a few things (though to use journalism lingo, they remain to be substantiated):
- most readers are introverts (I must be the exception. Misanthropic, yes, introvert, no).
- people who dedicate time and energy on a blogging site are introverts who need an outlet to talk, make friends and share ideas. (Oh, dear).
- you lose customers one at a time (tell that to Volkswagen)
- negative word of mouth travels faster than news – actually at warp speed. (Wow! Now if only I could figure out some way to use negative word of mouth to promote my books)
- the opposite of caring isn’t hatred, it’s apathy and, besides nobody cares. (I’m not sure about the first part, but the second part I’m beginning to believe)
- I’m clueless and have little grasp of deeper meaning. (No argument there)
- there actually is a website for quotes by Princess Leia http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000008/quotes
Net result of this experience is no sales, no more traffic than I’m aware of and I’ve gained one more follower on BookLikes. Go figure.
You can read the blog that started all this The myth social media sells books on Wordpress at
Or you can read the BookLikes version of the blog with the original comments at
You can visit Carpe Librum on her BookLikes site at
or at her blog at
You can find RedThaws Reads Randomly at
You can find Troy on his BookLikes blog at
Thanks to everyone. Let’s do it again some time.