Ebook’s and Social Media

I read an interesting blog the other day about social media and the relationship between the sale of ebooks. I won’t bore you with all the findings, but the truth of the matter is massive tweeting, facebooking, and whatever media doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference in sales. The stats were pretty clear that that was true. I can back that up with my own experience in ebook promotion. When I first started writing with regularity almost ten years ago, I was told that the best way to get noticed was to just keep writing. After I completed my first and only full length novel to date, I then began writing short stories in a few different genres to build up inventory. I produced a short story ready for publish about every two months. I know, that seems a little slow, but hey I work full time so shoot me. Ok, don’t shoot me, but you get the idea. Once I felt I had enough inventory to hold me while I write my next novel, I bought into the idea of self promotion. Keep in mind that during the whole time, even until now, I still self promote using social media.

At first my sales were modest and consistent while I put one ebook up and then the next and the next. Each time I added an ebook I promoted it and then wrote another one. My sales were steady the entire time. Just incase you are wondering, I am not rich, nor did I make a serious amount of money with these ebook sales. My sales are really dismal to say the least, but I am satisfied that people are buying my works. Every time I promoted anyone of my ebooks via twitter, facebook, or gather I would only get a few hits on my website or blog post. I cannot really attribute any of those visits to actual sales. Most of my sales are from Kobo and I really have no idea why. Amazon was steady and now is extremely slow, Smashwords is the same (Although they are the medium that Kobo has my material), and Barns and Nobles was rocking for a time and now it’s like watching grass grow. Seriously, grass is growing on my ebooks at B&N. CreateSpace where my novel is available in paper back has never had a purchase other than my own purchases for promotional give away. My conclusion is that all my tweets, status updates, and gather posts have resulted in little or no sales. What really created sales was a little bit of luck by shoppers searching for a good read, and the fact that I was actively putting out new material. I still don’t know how that works. I am virtually an unknown author; no one knows who I am, and yet I had modest sale spikes on most of all my works when I kept putting up new works every other month. My favorite blog site is by Dean Wesley Smith and he preaches this topic all the time. The best promotion you can ever do is keep writing and putting out new material. I made a case on another post about authors with pervious publishing experience has a head start in the digital world because of their traditional notoriety. Dean makes his case that his name has nothing to do with it because many of his writings are under pen names where no one knows that it is him behind the writing. It would be interesting if the pen names he writes digitally under where ever published traditionally prior. I believe him though, so I would contribute that to the “luck” category. As I press on with my second novel I am perplexed at how to market this book as every other digital author asks for their own work. I really don’t want to rely on “luck” but so far that’s all that it is. Another author site I frequent claims that if your writing is good enough it will sell. I agree with that, but I think you still need that “luck” factor to get enough of word of mouth to sell a great deal of books.

Bottom line…don’t spend too much time on social media to push your ebooks because it falls mostly on deaf ears.

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5 comments on “Ebook’s and Social Media

  1. Pete Denton says:

    Great post. Unfortunately, I think you are relying on people stumbling upon your work, enjoying it and seeking out more books/stories. There are a number of really successful authors who took several books before they had the breakthrough. Keep going and hopefully the build up of work will bring the sale volumes through.

    • Thanks for the comment Pete. Your are right. Aside from my occasional tweet, facebook, and gather promotions I rely strictly on the stumbler to discover my work. I think it is true that more volume brings a greater chance of sales and breakthrough. Social Media has to be a balance between community and promotion. Tricky.

    • Thanks again Peter for the comment. I never got around, until today, to ask you. As a writer, what would you suggest as a way to market or promote your writing without relying on happen-stance? Aside from a blog and the social media thing what else can you really do other than put out more writing? What works for you? I love learning how other writers go about trying to move their finished product. Sorry to hear about the migraines.

  2. Robert–If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone! There’s special comfort in knowing the work, itself, sustains you. Making friends thru social media (if it doesn’t take up too much time) is gravy. Counting on them to buy your books, as you’ve discovered, is something else entirely. Really enjoy your blog. Love the cover to your book “Shadows.”

    • Thanks Susan for dropping in. I agree, for sure, social media friends are gravy and a great source of encouragement. I guess, as writers, we get caught up in the self-promotion part and get sucked into a time sucking black hole when putting out more content serves ,if not more, the same result.

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