Thursday, May 28, 2015

U is for Using Social Media

Debra is a social media failure.

I will be the first to admit I am not very good at using social media effectively for promotion.

I really, really enjoy our conversations each week here at Heroines with Hearts, but as a marketing tool, I don't think blogs are very effective. At least for me personally. I've pretty much given up doing blog tours for my new releases. I found that I didn't get any new visitors, which means I'm not getting myself or my work in front of a different audience than I already have. Overall, my book sales have remained steady, so at least there hasn't been too much of a negative effect in not doing those tours. I still participate in one other blog, Book Beat Babes, but gave up the third I was a member of.

When I first got on Facebook, I was very careful to keep personal things off of my timeline. I only used my page for authory type news. But since many people who friended share personal information, I find my page filled with pictures of their kids, what they had for dinner, where they went on vacation, etc. Eventually the lines blurred for me as well, and I started posting personal things here and there. I am not on Facebook often, so again, as a marketing tool, it hasn't been effective. I do have a page, created by a friend, called "Fans of Debra St. John" which I really need to figure out how to use more effectively for book promotion. But again, if someone I've friended on there posts something personal, won't that appear on the timeline? Then personal and professional get all mixed up. This is something I need to investigate. I know many authors who have author pages on Facebook. I'll have to really study their timelines and see how it works for them to figure out how to make a page more professional than personal. With One Great Night, I tried a release party on Facebook, which was attended by several of my friends and fellow authors. But again, no one new. No one who wouldn't haven't known about my book already.

I haven't tried Twitter yet, although my publisher puts out a regular call for Tweets to share about our books on the TWRP Twitter feed. I think I may try giving Twitter a go this summer and see what happens. It will definitely be a learning curve, since I really am not familiar with it at all, but I'm open to learning something new!

Word of mouth...okay, so technically this isn't social media, but it can be a marketing tool. When my first book came out, my friends were so excited. They bought copies for themselves, their families, and other friends. Now that I have ten out, the excitement has died down a bit. When This Feels Like Home came out, I bought 30 paperback copies, thinking I'd sell most of them to my friends. Well, I still have a box of about 18 or so sitting in my den. I still let them know when I have a book out, but there doesn't seem to be a rush to buy them. Maybe they aren't romance fans. Maybe they don't like my writing. Maybe it's just that the excitement has worn off and it's 'same old same old' at this point.

I maintain a web-site, which I recently updated with a different theme and style. I have some ideas for adding a few more pages - pictures, a sub-page for each book, etc. - and I enjoy playing around with it, but I'm lucky to get half a dozen hits a month, so this probably isn't hitting any new readers either.

And I'm sure there are other things out there I'm missing.

What success (or failures) have you had with social media?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Until I have a book to promote, social media is of little use to me. I know i need to have an author website. I have three FB pages, one personal, one destined to be an author page, and one for my soup business but I neglect all of them. FB is a time suck I don't enjoy much.
    I don't tweet or pin.
    The marketing advice I read again and again is to write the next book.
    My June 6th guest is an author marketing assistant. It will be interesting to read what she suggests for promo.

    1. I definitely look forward to hearing what your guest has to say.

      I agree with you on the Facebook thing. For me, it just seems like something that sucks time away from writing or other things I need to be doing.

    2. I consider FB to be an essential 'time-suck' - as long as it isn't simply used for 'Buy my Book' promotion. Once you interact with others, your name becomes known and you build up a network of friends. They won't all buy your books, of course, but some will, and then if they enjoy your book, they'll tell others - and so on!

    3. Ana, how do you keep all of those pages separate? How do you avoid 'person' updates from friends on the business ones?

  2. Social media marketing is all about momentum. You need to build up your presence and then keep it going, and you need others to help you do that. I agree that the importance of blogs has faded, although again, if there are regular posts, people will be more inclined to read them (although not comment). I have found teaming up with people helps expose me to other readers I wouldn't have found. And I find Twitter and Facebook are very helpful, but you have to be diligent. If you ever want assistance, just let me know!

    1. Thanks, Jen. I might just pick your brain about Twitter when I get going with that. :)

    2. Twitter always seems too 'transient' for me. There is so much on there that anything you may 'tweet' is soon lost amongst the hundreds of other tweets!

    3. That's why those of us who use it regularly use hashtags to help organize things.

  3. Social media is about building up a network of online friends, some of whom you get to know better than others. I started with FB about 3 years before my first book was published, and also contributed to a lot of blogs, and as a result (or so I assume!), my first novel sold fairly well. Later novels did less well. Over the years, blogs, I feel, have lost their original effectiveness, mainly because there are too many to keep up with. I still enjoy this blog, but don't often add anything to my personal blog.
    Also FB has now changed, so that a relatively low percentage of my contacts there actually see my posts these days.
    Having said all that, and from my experience over the last twelve months, the only advertising that really works is Amazon's own advertising. Irish Inheritance 'took off' in April 2014 without any major promotion by me, apart from some initial 'new release' advertising in February, and since then has continued to sell about between 200 and 300 copies each month. Sales figures for 'Irish Intrigue' (released in March this year) have so far equalled the sales of Inheritance, and also, in the last couple of months, sales of my other 5 books have increased dramatically. I can only put this down to Amazon including the books in their 'Customers who bought this book also bought...' section, and also the emails that Amazon sends out periodically to its customers. I can find no other explanation for the huge increase of sales I have had this past year!

    1. Paula, those sales numbers are Fantastic! Congratulations.

      Your talking about Amazon reminded me that I really should put an author page there as well. Another summer project.

      I do get a kick out of it when Amazon sends me something that has my own book recommended on it! :)

    2. Debra - it's essential - and easy- to set up an author page on Amazon, and it means anyone can click your name and find immediately all the books you have written.

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