Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Marketing: Why I Gave Up Trying to Build a Big Social Media Following

This is a fantastic post. I've learned that quality over quantity reigns supreme. If the point of social media use is to network, then it does me no good to play the "Follow Back" game with online personas that have nothing to do with what I am trying to accomplish. Social media is time consuming, so I try to be strategic in my approach to it. I share information, promote projects and people I believe in, and let relationships build organically. I like a tight circle of people who matter as opposed to a big circle of those who don't. Well done, Mr. Miller.

The full post appears on Joanna Penn's "The Creative Penn" at


Problems with Building a Social Media Following
First, building a following consumes lots of time.

Social media guru Chris Brogan recommends a minimum of two hours a day. Think of J.R.R. Tolkien, who taught full time and hung out with his family after work, writing books after his children went to bed. Had he spent those two hours blogging and Tweeting, we may have never read The Lord of the Rings.

Second, there’s no proof that building a large following can work for every author.

Granted, it works for some authors, but that’s not the proof we need. Compare social media to the California gold rush. Had I lived in New England in 1849 and read regular newspaper reports of people striking it rich, I’d need better evidence to warrant selling the farm and moving west. I’d want to know, “out of the last thousand people who made the move, what percentage struck it rich?” If eight out of ten, I might move. If one out of 1,000, I’d keep the farm. But that’s precisely the statistical information we lack concerning authors trying to build social media followings.

Third, when I studied low profile authors who sold a lot of books, I found very few taking this approach.

When authors reported on book marketing forums, “Twitter works for me,” I’d ask, “How many books are you selling as a result?” Typically, they sheepishly replied “a few” or clarified that they were defining “success” in terms of how many people they drew to their blogs through Twitter.

Read the full post here:


NaPiBoWriWee Update!
Yesterday, I wrote my first of 7 picture books for this challenge. Already, I am tired of meaningful, warm and fuzzy stories. Today, I am going for something silly and fun with no lessons--maybe even rude and irrelevant. Time to shake things up! Won't you join me?


Sketch the Story! Contest

Deadline for entries is Friday, May 4, 2012! Enter my illustrator's contest today! Details here!


  1. For me, I'd be using social media whether or not I was trying to sell something. I'm there anyway, I might as well use it. For that reason, I like it, but I don't think it's the end all be all of marketing, and if someone can do without it, they should definitely try.

  2. Well, lets face it, the brass ring is getting on TV. That is where you sell the books, make the money and get famous. I am a media pitch coach and work with clients who try every approach to building a "platform" including heavy reliance on social media. As far as "bang for the buck" in terms of time spent, the payback is not there most of the time. Most people doing well in social media are already way up the ladder in terms of being a public figure. All my producer friends tell me social media is not something they put a lot of weight on in terms of picking guests to be on their TV shows. OK, thanks for this Edward Smith.