Self-Publishers and the Social Media Divide

POSTED ON Oct 14, 2010

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Self-Publishing has been around for a long time. Walt Whitman and Benjamin Franklin were both self-published authors from a time when self-publishing had no negative connotations.

Social media, on the other hand, is a pretty new phenomenon. Blogging is about ten years old, and the social media space has only become powerfully influential in the mainstream in the last couple of years.

When you see anchors on CNN and other news shows featuring Twitter posts and advertising their blogs in prime time, you know that social media has become a real force within the bigger world of media.

The Social Media Divide

Those of us deeply involved with the rapidly expanding world of social media sometimes forget that there are millions of people who don’t participate in it, or limit their involvement to Facebook groups and making connections on LinkedIn.

When it comes to self-publishers, there’s a clear divide on social media. On one side are the authors who primarily sell their books online, who use tools like article marketing, blogging, Twitter posts and all the other ways we seek to drive traffic, engage a community, and sell books.

On the other are the self-publishers who have stayed with traditional marketing, press kits, review mailings, bookstore appearances and all the other ways we’ve developed over the years to launch and promote our books.

These publishers, when confronted with social media initiatives, are likely to disregard the amazing power of network marketing, which is where social media gets a lot of its juice.

Self-Publishers Who Miss the Point of Social Media

  1. Think blogging is “giving away my content instead of selling it.”
  2. Consider Twitter “a waste of time—you can’t say anything meaningful in 140 characters.”
  3. Write two or three articles and keep submitting them to blogs and article sites, over and over.
  4. Open Twitter accounts and then send the exact same tweet to their 10 followers, day after day.
  5. Visit forums only to market new books or announce appearances.

Self-Publishers Who Really “Get” Social Media

  1. Actually want to interact with interested readers.
  2. Realize that social media give them access to crucial information they need to succeed in their chosen market.
  3. See peer-to-peer networking as an important part of their marketing efforts.
  4. Understand that books are changing, and that change creates new opportunities.
  5. Are on the lookout for new technologies, new venues and new ways to market their books.

Obviously, these are not iron-clad lists. We’re all complex creatures.

And you might say there is a third group, those who use every tool at their disposal, traditional and web-oriented, to maximize their books’ sales potential.

Which one are you?

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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