Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Two Cent Tuesday: You Have to Win Friends to Influence People

Social Media Icon Butler Blue II!
Here's an article Neil Vogler linked to a couple months ago.  If there's a point I think it was that social media can sell books if you're able to engage people.  So the reason most people fail at it (and then write articles claiming that social media is worthless) is because they aren't able to engage the millions (dare I say BILLIONS) of people on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.

In a way I think social media isn't any different than high school or junior high or any of that.  There are the cool kids, the popular kids, and the dorks nobody cares about.  If you were a dork nobody cared about in high school, then chances are you never learned the skills to become a master of social skills and thus are probably a dork nobody cares about on the Internet too.  It ain't fair, is it?

I for one do not have the tools to be one of the cool kids on the Internet.  A lot of this is because I was one of those dorks nobody cared about in high school.  Which was usually fine with me.  I was never one of those people who saw high school as the be-all, end-all of existence for the precise reason that I wasn't popular and therefore had no reason to see it as some wonderful state of nirvana.  For me it was more like prison:  you do your three years and then you get released to the outside, so you just try to go about your business and not make waves until you can get out.  So really I never had any training to master the arts of conversation or making people like me or any of that.  Which is probably what you need if you want to engage "fans" and sell more books.

The funny thought that just now occurred to me is that if my mom could actually figure out how to turn on the computer and sign up for accounts, she'd probably have a lot more followers and fans than me.  (She'd probably also sign up for every phishing scam to come into her email too.)  Just because she's the type who when standing in line will just start blabbing to the other people in line even though she's never met them before and isn't likely to see them again.  Whereas I would just stare at my feet or out a window or play solitaire on my phone or something.

So there you go:  be more like your mom and less like yourself.  Now if I can figure out how to pad that to 300 pages I'll have a best-selling self-help book!  Maybe like Brian in "Family Guy" I'll make a third of the book blank for people to write stuff in.

Another part of my problem is I'm just too lazy to put all that work into it.  At work I do most of the Tweeting and stuff just because I get bored and need a distraction.  But when I get home I usually just want to make dinner, watch a TV episode/movie on Netflix, and then read or write or play a video game until bedtime.  Yapping with a bunch of people I don't know doesn't fall very high on the priority list.  The only time I will get online to yap is if I'm editing or something at the computer and need a distraction.

In a lot of ways then I guess I have no one to blame but myself for my failures.  I just don't want to put in the effort to building a fan base and all that.

I've speculated for a little while that really in the future it's not going to be about getting an agent anymore so much as a publicist.  Though really what I think most authors need is some kind of social marketing director, someone to make those Tweets and Facebook posts and whatnot for them to create a fan base.  Because let's face it, with all the self-publishing tools available now we're at the point where it's not about publishing the book anymore, it's about selling the book.  The Big X Number don't own the means of production anymore, thus the market has become glutted with product.

It's about being able to stand out from the herd now.  Unfortunately I think most authors are like sheep, we just timidly mill around in a cluster occasionally bleating something.  And that is why we fail.

I'd love to be able to hire a social marketing director (or whatever you want to call it) to pick up the slack for me.  But where to find someone who would actually be good at it?  Because anyone can just make a few random Tweets or Facebook posts or whatnot; what you really need is someone who can engage people on a personal level.

Or just get yourself a cute bulldog, because everyone loves that!
Even Twinkies Love Bulldogs! (and vice versa)


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