Book Promotion on Social Media: The Eternal Quandary
When the internet came up with social media, I think the idea was for people to connect with each other. I wasn’t part of the Orkut or Myspace era, but I remember how happy so many of us were when Facebook first made an appearance. It helped us reconnect with those we had lost touch with, be it extended family or friends. That was less than 20 years ago, though it seems like a lifetime. Social media started as an enjoyable addition to real-life friendship, but it seems to be turning into a replacement.
“Authors are writing these incredible books, and yet when they ask me questions, the thing that keeps them up at night is, ‘How do I create this brand?’” says literary agent Carly Watters. It’s not that they want to be spending their time doing it, it’s that they feel they have to. “I think that millennials and Gen Xers really feel like sellouts. It’s not what they imagined their career to look like. It inherently feels wrong with their value system.”
Because self-promotion sucks. It is actually very boring and not that fun to produce TikTok videos or to learn email marketing for this purpose. Hardly anyone wants to “build a platform;” we want to just have one. This is what people sign up for now when they go for the American dream — working for yourself and making money doing what you love. The labor of self-promotion or platform-building or audience-growing or whatever our tech overlords want us to call it is uncomfortable; it is by no means guaranteed to be effective; and it is inescapable unless you are very, very lucky.
So on and so forth…the entire article is worth a read. I don’t know if anyone really buys books from social media posts, but I guess the hope is that if a book is seen enough, a reader might actually look it up.
I’ve had readers of this blog read and review my books, after all–though I think that’s more to do with friendship.
Here’s one very generous coverage by treasured friend and fab author and blogger Jacqui Murray. (If you haven’t read her work, I urge you to change that immediately. Go on, I’ll wait.)
And much as I want to I can’t be friends with all my readers. The BLUE MUMBAI series has been read by thousands, and I’ll never know them all, and I don’t think they want to know me either.
This entire focus on social media platforms is creating an ecosystem of hamster wheels, and annoying ‘buy my book’ shenanigans–but in a shrinking readership, what choice to authors have? And don’t even get me started on AI tools to ‘create content.’
I suppose I’ll just have to do my best to hold on to my sanity and see where the chips fall. In another twenty years the publishing landscape and book promotion will be very different, that’s for sure.
And of course, I can’t forget my writerly-pest duties, so here’s my February spiel if you’d like to help an author out:
This is the first Wednesday of the month post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Founded by the Ninja Cap’n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share their fears and insecurities without being judged.
This is a wonderful group–if you aren’t a part of it, I urge you to join in! The awesome co-hosts for the posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!
My literary crime novels, The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon are on Kindle Unlimited now. Add to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day ! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin. Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.
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