This week I’ve been getting quite philosophical. The beginning of a year is as good a time as the end to reflect. I had been thinking about twenty years ago at a time when I had been submitting a children’s novel I had written during my second year of university. Back then, it wasn’t a requirement for authors to have social media platforms to promote their work; in fact, most of the usual platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, didn’t yet exist back then. Nowadays it’s quite a different story. If an author approaches a small press publisher, more often than not, they’ll be asked for the URLs for their social media accounts and a brief run-down of how they intend to promote their work. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to provide links to all my social media accounts when submitting a novel manuscript to a potential publisher.
Personally I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Goodreads to share updates on my writing; but by no means do I expect this to result in guaranteed sales. Social media is what it is – social. I enjoy mingling with the writing community on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve found some of my ARC readers through those platforms, which has been very helpful for an Indie author. As an introvert, I enjoy the social connection with book bloggers, readers and writers who I don’t otherwise know in the real world. I’m happy that my Instagram and Twitter accounts have organically grown over the past three years since I’ve set up both accounts. Check out my first introduction post on Instagram yesterday for my new followers.
I still do feel however, that if an author wants any real sales, investing in advertising is the best way forward, rather than relying on social media. I’ve made some awesome bookish friends through Twitter and Instagram, but ultimately I channel my energy into KDP ads, Bargain Booksy promotions, Ingram Advance advertising and more recently an upcoming print ad listing in Myslexia (which will be appearing in the March 2022 issue), to sell books. Is social media necessary for an author though, in this day and age? It’s hard to say, since I don’t personally know any authors who haven’t at least got a website. The fact of the matter is, if a reader wants to know more about a book or an author, the first place they’ll look is on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I know I do, so having a digital footprint does matter; at least, to a certain extent. It’s hard nowadays to be truly reclusive anyway, isn’t it?