Two different words for what we do. Different in meaning, but yet similar. What is it we do and who are we? For those reading that are inspiring writers, new or experienced writers, or those reading this simply because you're interested, we can always learn. Let's take a look. First, if you think it's all glory, and you'll get rich doing it, you are sadly mistaken. Honestly, it's more in the order of 85% luck, as well as who you are. Well known public figures or celebrities don't need to establish a name for themselves. They will get free mentions to millions about their book just because of their already existing popularity. If Tom Brady was to write a book about football it would be all over the news. Just try to get that free publicity for your book without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars for that type of advertising. They are already half way to the goal post. No matter what anyone writes about, no matter how great the book cover is, or the content within. You have to be seen to order to sell. The days of many getting rich writing books are long gone. Most do it because they we enjoy it, and with time and a little luck, you could make a very comfortable living at it. If you're really lucky and one book takes off, you get that shot at the golden ring. However, unless you're prepared to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on promotions and marketing, posting about your book on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms alone is just scratching the surface of the exposure your book needs.
A twitter post lives on a news feed for between 12 and 18 minutes. Less if they follow many people. Data shows that 1 out of every 100 people that follow you will see just one of your tweets. And that's providing they haven't muted you because you tweet to frequently. If you do, you will end up with many people that will stop following you. If they like your content, they will mute you and check your feed manually for your updates. Let's be realistic. Do you actually believe someone with 100,000 followers, or even 1,000 followers read every tweet on their feed, or scroll back through pages of tweets? No way. With those numbers it would be a full time job. For this reason, Twitter is considered a high volume, low impact platform, unless you create PAID CAMPAIGNS. That's the ticket, but be ready to spend lots of $$$. Facebook on the other hand is a high impact, lower volume platform. Again, be ready to spend $$$ on campaigns. The average recommended tweets per day is 12. They should be posted during the times that people are most heavily engaged with your content. I rely heavily on the analytics for every social media platforms I use in order to target the specific times people are engaging my content. Often, that changes from week to week, so it takes work to monitor. Any attempts at seriously trying for that golden ring will take luck and cost money. That's a fact. A friend of mine spends about $70,000 per year on Facebook alone, but he gets results. You know your price points, how many books do you have to sell to recoup $70,000 in net profit?
Follower numbers are another issue. Social media is a platform based on popularity. Popularity which is determined by the number of people that follow you. It's a number. Now with that said, whether or not the number of people that follow you are actually following you is irrelevant in the popularity game. What's your end goal? Do you want many followers, or quality followers? Someone will tend to follow someone with 100,000 followers versus someone will only 100. However, the user with a 100 followers may be getting a better response, and more shares or retweets. No one knows. Those with the drastically high numbers will always be in the see-saw game. Lose some today, get new ones tomorrow. Low numbers is perceived as not being popular. Remember, perception perceived is perception achieved. This is why so many buy followers. They are not buying an audience, they are buying perception. There are many people that walk around with a large amount of cash in their right pocket. When they pay a bill, many are impressed that they are filtering through 100 dollar bills to find a smaller domination. They are perceived to be well off when in reality, that might be their whole life's saving. Do you want numbers, or quality followers? Personally I shoot for the mix. This is NOT in any way implying anything negative about Social Media or it's users. It's simply the nature of the beast. This is the way people perceive it as a whole. Each social media platform is the same in this regard.
Moving on to the real world, how do we succeed on Amazon or any other book store? On Amazon alone, we are up against almost 11 million other titles. How do you get seen over the rest. Amazon does not offer an advertising campaign geared to feature your book. With that many titles, it would be a bidding war to get a feature spot. The ones they feature change daily, and are based on other determining factors. With all this said, you have to rely on yourself or a marketing team to make your name, or the title of your book a household name. You could spend up to $20,000 every six months just for a publicist. It's clear that the average writer cannot afford these types of expenses. Therefore, you need to start advertising your title at least six moths before it's going to be released. More times a day as the release date gets closer, but not so much as to drive people away. It's not saturation in this case that matters, it's consistency over time. It's a balancing act, and a difficult one at that. You can't start so early as to make people tired of seeing it, and not to late that it doesn't get around. Talk about trying to please the world and finding that sweet spot. A spot that is in a constant state of flux due to trends.
There are many greats. I will use two as an example. Stephen King and James Paterson. But they come from an era in writing that was totally different than what we have today. No on line books sales, but more brick and mortar book stores. More ways to interact with your readers. Still a great challenge, but different and some might say easier obstacles to overcome. The days when a publisher invested in a writer, paid for book tours and more, are also over unless your a proven money making commodity. So how do you reach that plateau? Can you reach that plateau? In that era more profit was made on a book by the writer. Today many write and sell their books for as little as $1.99. NOT knocking it, but by the time the print on demand folks are paid, than add costs, how much is left to go in your pocket. Pennies. If your an Indie Author you have to consider other things as well due to additional marketing and PR expenses. Many have to sell tens of thousands of books to make it worth it. If the price point is to high, you're still in the same boat. It's a new world in the book writing industry and has been for some time.
Everyone wants to make a best seller list, but no one really knows how those numbers are figured by each list. No matter how much you try, you don't make it. Some lists are exclusive to certain stores, therefore, if your book isn't in those stores, forget that list. Today there are many best selling lists besides what some consider are the elite. For example, it is "estimated" that on Amazon alone, you may have to sell 3,500 to 5,000 copies of your book in one single day to make the Amazon top 100. But you only have to do it once. Many target their advertising campaigns to get people to buy their book on the first day of it's release in the hopes to achieve those numbers and make the list. If they do, they forget about the following days. If they don't, it will become more difficult as each day passes. It takes time and patience. But are they really a Best Seller? A celebrity because they are already well known, can make a credible list much easier. A dear writer friend of mine worth millions from writing books over the years and has NEVER made a best seller list. His thoughts are simple. If you have to hype the book to make the list, was it really a best seller? I don't necessarily agree with that but I get the concept. But yet, he's a multi-millionaire and NEVER made a list. A rule of thumb. "Making the best seller list is a nice goal, but having consistent book sales is a much better goal." Think about that.
When I had my own business many years ago my father told me you can operate your business one of two ways. Try to make a lot of money on each customer that walks through the door, and when they see how overpriced you are they never come back or refer you. Or, make less money with them but more money over time due to repeat business and referrals. That doesn't mean you're giving the product away, it just means your goals are different. More long term. You can be your own judge. You release your book, and you check the best seller lists to see if you ever hit them for just one day. Do you remember the titles of all the other books? Of course you don't. This leads to the final part of my blog. What really are we?
We are a persons friend, someone's mother or father, their entertainer, their secret lover, their adviser, or someone they admire or look up to. The list is endless. We are also their escape. We bring life to a story, to its characters. We bring people's lives into our books, we make our books and stories a part of their life. We provide them with data, statistics, real stories, fictional stories or whatever it takes to help them to escape from what could be a bad reality day for them. Or just to let those who believe they have a perfect life to understand that others do not, but they are equally important in the big picture. Books are the blood that flows through our veins. We are the heart that pumps that blood. We try to make our characters and stories come alive. Depending on the genre, we try to make people see things differently. From a different viewpoint. Ten people can look at a sunset and describe it ten different ways. Look at a picture and see ten different things.
"A writer has the ability to make people see and feel the exact same thing." Kudos to you all. .... CJR