I just returned from a fabulous week in New York, communing with fellow writers at Thrillerfest, the annual confab of the International Thriller Writers Association (ITW). As always happens when two or more writers occupy the same space, the conversation turned to strategies to employ for the purposes of selling books.
There’s universal agreement that a writer needs a platform from which to launch his or her marketing campaign. There’s equal unanimity that social media accounts are the way to go. Dutifully, I’ve established my Facebook page, my Twitter feed and my Instagram account. In addition, I have a YouTube channel, and this biweekly blog in TKZ. I attend conferences, teach seminars when opportunities arise, and in general make myself as accessible as reasonable security and privacy allow.
For the most part, I enjoy the marketing side of what I do. I’m kind of a Type-A personality to begin with so I enjoy the interaction with people, even if most of it is virtual. If the invested time and effort didn’t sell a single book, I would probably do a lot of that stuff anyway.
So, here’s my first question for the group: Forgetting what the pundits proclaim to be immutable fact, what is your experience? Do you read blog posts in this space or others that inspire you to buy books by authors you otherwise have not read? Do Facebook travelogues or Twitter insights make you actually feel so much closer to an author that you’ll plop down some bucks for the latest book?
My second question is closely related: Have social media posts ever driven you away from an author you have otherwise been inclined to read?
My answers to my own questions are yes and yes, particularly with regard to blog posts and Facebook. Excepting the nonfiction blogs that I lean on for research, I will occasionally read a post from a fiction writer whose voice intrigues me enough to take a poke at the fruits of his or her imagination. And, sometimes an ill-informed political or social screed will push me to place an author on my never-again list. I don’t care what side a FB friend takes on a position so long as it is well-argued. When the name-calling starts, I’m out. (And that’s exactly why I don’t understand why anyone in the entertainment business chooses to write screeds.)
Now, fair warning: When this post goes up, I will be doing my best torpedo impersonation inside the tube of an MRI machine to diagnose the source of pinched nerve in my neck. Because I am a raging claustrophobe, I expect to be in a narcotic haze for some of the day, and past experience has demonstrated that it’s best to stay away from the Internet and emails while drugged. Thus, I will likely not be a part of the conversation.