Like most citizens of the universe, I have been aware of the explosion social media has created in human communication. I have seen how it has localized communities a world away, and created new communities. I have seen how it has allowed so many of my authors to connect with their readers in a direct way that was never before possible. Yet, for some reason, in this era when social media has progressed so many industries and entrepreneurs, I am still having conversations with some of my authors where I am convincing THEM to engage in social media. Let me repeat: I still sometimes have to convince my indie authors to engage in the platforms that have–for the first time in the history of the written word–put them on a level playing field (in terms of exposure) with traditionally published authors.
Some authors may get intimidated by learning social media, or perhaps they simply don’t want to make the time investment. However, there truly isn’t a genre out there (aside from non-famous family histories) that wouldn’t benefit from even minimal social media support. In trying to get authors to join up, there are three common excuses I’ve heard authors use again and again.
Excuse #1: My audience isn’t on social media.
This is a frustrating one, because it’s not even an excuse–at best, it’s a lie; at worst, it’s a choice to remain ignorant of blatant realities. Though some audiences are more tied in to social media than others, all audiences are are on social media. Perhaps finding ways to connect with audiences on social media will take time, and perhaps there will be a learning curve. However, a book cannot–CANNOT–become a national seller without social media, regardless if you have a Big 6 publisher or if you published in your basement.
Excuse #2: Social media is a waste of time.
This is like saying reading in general is a waste of time simply because trashy content exists. Yes, there are ways to waste time on social media, but social media is, itself, a neutral platform. It delivers what people put into it, and fortunately there are a lot of people making extremely valuable connections on social media. For example, many publicists are finding initial contacts for gathering book endorsements on Twitter. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Excuse #3: I don’t have time to engage in social media.
This one is linked to Excuse #2; it’s really easy to avoid doing something because it has the potential to take up a lot of time. However, there are ways to make it less time-consuming. For example, you can save up tweetable posts and schedule them out using Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Timely. You can reuse tweets from months earlier to save time finding new content. There are ways to make social media take only minutes from your day rather than hours. The challenge? Again, the learning curve. It will take time to understand how to use social media plugins and apps to make social media more time effective. It also requires authors to be more knowledgeable about the book industry and their audience on a regular basis. The good thing is that being more knowledgeable will help you in other ways, and it will take less time the more you learn to “speak” the language.
Authors: Bottom line, it’s time to stop making excuses about social media! The irony here? This article might reach social media outlets, but might not make it to those authors who really need to stop making excuses. If you know an author like this, please forward on this article! Email it! Print it out and snail-mail it! It’s time to get engaged!