Today is the day after yesterday, which turned out to be a very significant day for me. Why? Because three very important things happened to me. One has nothing to do with writing and so I’ll leave it for another time. The other two . . . we can talk about.
It’s been almost a month since I published “Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes” and early signs are looking—I don’t want to jinx it. However marketing, which is something writers have to do, not want to do, isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work. As part of my marketing plan, I’ve become active in social media. I know. In social media marketing you never admit that you’re doing it, marketing that is, it’s a cardinal sin. But the truth be told, for a one-man show like me, marketing is a part of my life and if I didn’t talk about it, I wouldn’t be honest. I’m not perfect, but I try to be honest. At least my social media marketing isn’t as gratuitous as say, Doubleday or Penguin. They and others like them all have active Facebook/Twitter campaigns. But honestly, who among us really thinks they care a hill of beans about what our children brought home from school today? Unless of course, it was one of their books.
This blog, to a much smaller extent than other social media, is still a part of my overall introduction to the world and therefore, helps with marketing. But in the scheme of things, it differs from Facebook and Twitter in some important ways because here, it’s all about me. I say what I want, for as long as I want, and it’s up to you whether or not someone reads it. Just like book sales. If I write a book and publish it, you, the reading public are the ones who decide if anyone will actually buy it. No one is holding a gun to your head.
As a writer/publisher (I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this blog then you are one of the tribe or thinking about it), you know people who have read your work, or better yet, purchased and read your work. Of these, you’ve probably asked them at one time or another, what they thought. Maybe they liked it, maybe not, and maybe they had some constructive criticism; we’ll stay away from the jealous destructive criticism. You ask, they tell, and some of it is helpful and a lot of it is not. But there’s a fundamental problem with the entire process. The people critiquing your work know you and their underlying agenda is usually not to hurt your feelings, so they lie. No, that’s too harsh—they soften the truth.
That’s why social media marketing has some problems. Most of the people you contact in the beginning and for a long time after, know you in some way. If I put on my publisher’s hat and start to think like a businessman, then I have to ask an important question. Sure, you can sell a copy of your book to your coworker’s soon to be ex-boyfriend, but can you sell a book to Jane Doe living in Phoenix, AZ who doesn’t know you, your coworker, or her soon to be ex-boyfriend? The answer is. Who knows? Maybe.
I’m new at publishing and I’m new at blogging, though to me it seems entirely plausible that if you can get people to take time out of their busy day to read a post on your blog, you probably can get them to consider buying a book. But if you can motivate someone to not only read your blog, but afterward, leave you a positive comment, you might actually be on your way to finding something better than a sale—you might have a fan.
With that in mind, my blog has only been up for a short time but I was beginning to get concerned about the lack of comments. I had plenty of likes and my follower list was growing thanks to all of you, but comments, there weren’t any.
Yesterday, I finished what I was writing early because I got an earlier than normal start. With the extra time, I decided to work on my blog and when I signed in, lo and behold, there they were, my first comments. And to top it off, all three were positive. Thank you all very much. Yes, I know three comments aren’t thirty-three and hell, I may not get anymore. But the way I see it, it’s a start, and a sorely needed pat on the back. It’s lonely out here . . . all by my lonesome.
Needless to say, for anyone who might want to put in his or her two cents, don’t be shy. I’m not. I tell you what I think; it’s only fair that I hear what you think. Good or bad. By the way, you may have noticed that we only talked about one of the two writing related things that happened to me yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the other, negative comments.