I wanted to dismiss the importance of social networking as a part of my marketing plan. (Who has that kind of time, I thought?)
Now, I am finding out how dramatic the online networking impacts sales. Social networking and blog spots keep your face, name and book title out in front of the public. How many advertising pros tell us that no one makes a BUY decision unless they have heard or seen a product at least three times?
Corporate giants spend millions on advertising that keeps their name in the forefront of the public. I mean, how many times have we been reminded that McDonald's is in business and ready to serve us? They could stop all advertising - we all know about McDonalds - every city has one – but they realize how important continuous marketing is to their profit line.
I am currently designing a blog spot that incorporates the theme and message of my Christian children's books. I have done some minor networking and already have seen sales and interest peaked in my first book - from an audience I would have never have thought of myself. This has convinced me.
Let's DIGG, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Tweet, get BLOGGED and sell more books!
They all CAN work if you use them reguarly. Any type of promotion is good if you keep at it. The problem is that most authors do not stay focused with their promotion. They promote a few times then if they don't see the results they like, they stop. I don't know why some writers think they should only promote their NEW books then stop promoting their previous books. Social networking is a wonderful way to promote but the Internet in general is great.
Also, for your question. Different things work for different people and for different types of books. Also, you may promote heavily and do a good job at it and some folks on these sites still might not buy your book but you are still getting exposure. That will pay off in the long run. It's not always about sales. The bigger picture is putting your name out there and getting an audience. Most of the people who say they're gonna buy your book will not. Most buyers are people who luck up on it or hear about it from word of mouth. Even with word of mouth, there is no guarantee. You just gotta promote and realize it's a part of the business. I think if we look promotional success only in terms of sales we're limiting the effect of it.
You can't worry about the sales but just promote your butt off, LOL! It will pay off. Publicity and promotion DOES NOT always equal sales but it will always get your name out there. People may not buy your recent book and they might not have bought your last, but you keep promoting and they'll buy you in the future. Now that's a guarantee. Just have fun with it. It's just part of the business.
All of these sites have worked for me and it's not just for sales. I've gained tons of readership from these sites but I've also met some wonderful folks in the industry.
On another note, I believe that there is social network overkill now because of Ning. Everyday I have a ton of Ning invites in my email and some of the sites people put together are ridiculous. If you're gonna be serious and do a good job, and create a social network with a purpose and niche then that's good. I am getting tired of anyone creating a social network and it being completely useless. I also notice that since I've been on Ning, the spam has gotten outrageous. I don't agree with just anyone starting a social network. I think there should be a purpose. I also believe that this is gonna kill the popularity of Ning sites. When anyone starts doing it, then it probably won't last.
But I think MySpace, Facebook and Goodreads will be around. I think Twitter is too popular and will soon get turned on like Blogger did. It'll probably always be around, but it won't be so popular after a while because it's overexposed. Shelfari, may be around. I like it but the interraction isn't too great. My Space is still the king though.
Hi Stacy, thanks for the reply and well said. You mentioned all the spam coming from Ning sites and I agree, I think Ning should put into place some more measures against mass-emails the way FB does, or provide each user a level of control over what sort of information is sent to them via the Ning site.
Recently I've heard different bloggers discuss how MySpace has fallen out of the mainstream due to Facebook and is struggling to get back in, but if you said they were "king" then it must be marketing your books well. Is that the case?
Stacy-Deanne, you have hit that Ning nail squarely on the head!
I run a Ning niche site (Black Author Showcase) and have amassed quite a few friends - which means I get at least 20 "Come join me at . . . " emails per day! It's maddening. I have turned off the emails from most other networks that I belong and now bare read the email that each one provides because they have been inundated with offers.
I and my volunteers spend a lot of time amassing publishing news and tips to be shared with our members. While I love the idea of being able to create your own social network, perhaps everyone shouldn't be a member of the ILoveNavelFuzz.ning.com group. Especially if its only about your individual five year treatise on navel lint collection. These sort of groups undermine the real value of networks like Book Marketing Network and others that truly strive to provide a tangible service.
I love your comment and I hope you don't mind if I quote you in an upcoming newsletter.