I am currently experimenting with social media networks as a method to sell books and build my author platform. Truthfully I wish I had spent more time researching how the industry works before I went ahead and got my books published. The common knowledge is that anyone can publish a book these days, but only a select few (or rather a lucky few) gain the fame and fortune that we all seek. Yes, I know, there are lots of authors who say they only write for the pleasure and joy of creativity. This is true for me, but I also want to earn a living from my writing, and after a very long moral battle, I accept that there is no shame in this desire.
Now, I am a working mother who spends 90% of my time being the 'housewife and mother' and the remainder is spent trying to write more books and promote the ones I currently have in the marketplace. I have no money to put into an advertising campaign, but I do now have the support of a publisher as a result of my fourth novel The Darkness of Love. This is very exciting, because Chances Press have organized a Christmas blog tour for me, and they are planning another one in 2014. It makes me feel very special as an author, actually, that someone else is prepared to put in the work for me without demanding immediate repayment. They have great faith in my work, and they clearly appreciate my writing. This is a huge compliment.
Part of my networking experiment has been to explore the use of hashtags, mainly on Twitter, but also on Google+, Facebook and Pinterest. These are all my main platforms of choice, and I am spending some time on each in turn trying to speak directly with a variety of people, and reading articles and infographics that might explain how best to use these fabulous resources. Therein lies part of the problem. These networks are so vast, so complicated, and so busy, that I need to spend every spare minute of my time working on them with no guarantee that I will actually sell my books as a result of my efforts. The other issue is that they can become addictive, and I need to allocate time for writing and freelance projects alongside my self marketing.
Anyway, it is a long, slow process. I know that with social media we have become a 24/7 culture. We expect results immediately because we can send out tweets, messages, photos and web links at the touch of a button, and we all have portable media devices in the form of smart phones, tablets etc. Even if we do not have such sophisticated personal technology, we can usually find a library with free computers, or find a friend or relative with the media technology on which to work. I now have to accept that I need to become a recognised name in publishing. People need to know who I am and what the titles of my books are, and maybe then they will begin to read them, possibly review them, and better still recommend them to friends and family. Ultimately it seems word of mouth is still the best marketing tool for an author. I am just taking it global with social media... See you out there!