Publicity, Platform and Social Media — Ruth L. Snyder

Recently I read two opposing opinions on publicity, platform, and social media: one by Sandra Beckwith and the other by Ewan Morrison. Sandra says, “We’ll talk about how to create and use the single most effective publicity tool for both fiction and nonfiction.” Ewan Morrison counters with, “Do you want to spend 80% of your time creating unpaid market propaganda for the social media industry? Or would you rather step away from the hype altogether and spend as much time as you can being a 100% writer?”

Sandra Beckwith presented a session titled Building Buzz for Your eBook during the recent eBook Publishing Boot Camp. Here’s a brief overview:

1. Understand your target audience. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What do they read, watch, and listen to? Use SurveyMonkey.com to find out about your readers’ demographics.

2. Prepare a book announcement press release to send out with copies of your book. Find influential people who are willing to write book reviews.

3. Put together a “Tip Sheet” a “press release that uses bullets or numbers to share your tips or advice on a problem that your audience has that you can solve.”

4. If you’re an author, you’re an “expert” on the topic of your book. “It’s experts who get interviewed by the press.”

5. Make a list of key media (10-12) to target. Start connecting and building relationships. Use social media to find and connect with these people. Comment on LinkedIn status updates, retweet or reply to content on Twitter, like their media pages on Facebook and comment on stories related to your book, follow their blogs and comment on their posts.

6. Pitch, pitch, and pitch again.

Ewan Morrison wrote the article Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors. Here’s a summary:

1. “Successful” ebook authors like Joanna Penn and Louise Voss recommend spending 80% of your time marketing and 20% of your time writing. He goes on to say that most self-published authors work full-time, which leaves them the equivalent of 18 twelve-hour days to write a year.

2. Tongue in cheek, he suggests you get some “professional help” to create your platform (Take a course to learn how to tweet more effectively, hire someone to tweet for you, get anyone you can to post reviews on Amazon, buy advertising on Facebook, exchange free ebooks for platform growth).

Morrison says, “As individuals and companies abandon Facebook advertising, and finally come to realise that Twitter does not increase sales for the vast majority of writers, then the very idea of using social media to sell books will begin to collapse.”

So where does that leave a writer? Here’s my take:

1. It all boils down to relationships. There are many different ways to get to know people.

2. Building a platform takes time and energy.

3. We are all unique and enjoy different things. If you enjoy marketing and social media, go for it. If you don’t, find someone else to do marketing for you so that you can spend more time doing what you truly enjoy.

What do you think? Is social media a waste of time or a useful tool for authors? I look forward to your comments.

Ruth-L-SnyderRuth L. Snyder enjoys living and writing in scenic northeastern Alberta. She currently serves as the publicity coordinator for InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.

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