Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Problem with Social Networking

To piggyback on Theresa's excellent post, I'd like to take a moment to chat about social networking in general. Whether it's on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, e-mail lists, forums, or anywhere the digital world can take us, we see authors pimping. And well they should. The Web offers so many ways to get the word out about new books, but these authors miss the most important point.
Social networking is meant to network us...socially. You can do what you like with your blog, your tweet feed, your online presence in general. But how you put yourself out there will affect your relationship with readers.

I'll say it again: Relationship. Social networking builds relationships between people. That's the primary reason folks use Facebook - to connect. And the masses are often very annoyed when all they see in a feed is pimping. They unfollow, unfriend, unlike, unhook. They disconnect.

The best way for you to sell your books is not to tell us all about them every time you have a second and 140 characters to spare. That's not why we're watching you. We want to connect with you. Even if you're only comfortable telling us about your writing journey, your perspectives during the editing cycle, your dread at the insane blog tour schedule your publicist has given you, that's preferable to an endless reminder that you're trying to sell your book. Even better, if you can share some details of your life -- under the guise of your author persona -- we will connect with you. Interact with us, respond to us in these public forums, and you might have a fan for life.

Authors who only log on to Facebook or Twitter or Bigtime Authors Discussion Board or Awesomesauce Word Divas Group Blog to tell the world about the release date or links to their next book will lose their online audience. Poof! Gone. And then all that work they've put into building a community is lost.

Don't be that author. Build your community. Build your tribe. Invite us in. Offer us a place to connect.

That's how you sell books. That's how you build your audience.


Donnell said...

Love this, KL! Thank you!

Theresa said...

I lOVE this post! Yea! I agree. When did humble go out of vogue? A humble, entertaining, giving person is a compelling person to me. That's what snags me and then I will check out their books.
I love that you remind us that social networking is about relationships! Thanks!
PS--it also takes the pressure off of pimping ourselves, which most of us hate to do.

Lori Corsentino said...

Great post! I so agree. It makes me a bit sad sometimes to continually see an author's "ads" and not see anything else, like how their writing is going or how they just got a request for a partial!
It is all about the give and take of a relationship. That said, I'm a fine one to talk. I don't often post or tweet or read/respond to blogs (time factor). BUT - I'm really going to try this year to get more involved and get those connections going.
Guess it's time to get serious about blogging! :)

KL Grady said...

Thanks, y'all. I think this is an important and often forgotten element of social networking - the fact that it's all about forging and maintaining relationships.

Harry McDaniel said...

There are also some disadvantage that you should know about using social networking and be careful of those problem in social networking because that will bring you in failure.