Social Media and Writing

Social Media Writing

Social media writing? No, I mean both of them. Not the combo.

Janet-Gershen-Siegel-Adventures-in-Career-Changing-Social Media Writing
Social Media Writing

Social media and writing go together.

Kind of.

I read Chuck Wendig’s post on the two and I want to comment on it.

Basic Info That Can Help Anyone (Really!)

Let’s start with the basics.

Social media will not save a bad book

Unfortunately, it’s true. We have all seen the Twilight tropes, e. g. “still a better love story than Twilight”. My apologies to Stephenie Meyer, and to the people who enjoy her work. She caught fire because she hit a particular market extremely well. Social media did not fuel her success, at least not in the beginning. Although it probably did later, as people shared their joy on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Rather, her work did well, at least in part, because it hit the teen/tween girl market like a bull’s eye. Ever wonder why Bella Swan is so undeveloped with such a bare bones description? It’s so any young girl can dream of being her. Any girl of any race or height or weight or hobbies.

Her publisher, Hachette Book Group, also marketed the Twilight novels very well. At the time the fourth one came out, I received it (it’s called Breaking Dawn) as a bonus because I was working for Hachette in their IT department.

Some people get Thanksgiving turkeys. Some people get ….

Er, sorry, Ms. Meyer. I don’t want to turn this into a bash session.

Rather, the point I am dancing around is: what if Ms. Meyer had blasted everything on Twitter and Facebook? What if she hadn’t had a good marketing department behind her? Then she probably would not have gotten so far.

Social media did not improve her works. It did not worsen them, either. Her success arose, for the most part, outside the realm of social media. And it did not save critics from savaging her work.

Converting from one platform to another is exceptionally difficult

You may be fantastic on LinkedIn but stink on Twitter. You may be killin’ it on Wattpad but limping along on YouTube. Or you may even have tons of Facebook friends but few followers on your Facebook page.

True story. I read a lot (duh!). It’s all sorts of stuff. I read fanfiction, I read original writing, I read free stuff, I read NaNoWriMo novels. And I read the classics. What often interests me is seeing works which are highly rated on GoodReads with so few sales on Amazon that they don’t get recommendations. But with enough sales, your book gets mentioned in those, “If you like __, you might enjoy ___” kinds of notifications.

I see people who are Wattpad gods and goddesses, cranking out tons of super-appreciated chapters and adored by hundreds of thousands of (presumably) screaming fans. Then they try to monetize their work, and it falls flat. New York Times bestselling authors, for real, only sell a few tens of thousands of works in any given week and they make the cut. So why don’t these Wattpad writers with phenomenal read counts to an order of magnitude ten higher than that end up on bestseller lists?

Social media is a daily tsunami

Part of the reason? This right here. We are all inundated, every single day. Users upload over twenty-four hours of new YouTube content every second of every day. They have over one billion users. Facebook has over 1.7 billion registered users and over one billion of those people access the site on a daily basis. Therefore, Facebook considers them ‘regular users’. The average number of Facebook friends currently hovers at around 150 or so. Twitter’s users also number in the hundreds of millions.

Given all of these big numbers, you can’t blame organic reach decline on a platform trying to hide posts so you’ll pay for the privilege of advertising (although that’s part of it). It is also a sheer numbers game. If you have 150 friends on Facebook and it’s your sole platform, you still can’t keep up with it all. If you go on Facebook for 150 minutes (e. g. two and a half hours), that won’t be one minute per friend, as you will inevitably read a headline, take a survey or quiz, like a comment, post a picture, or watch a video.

How does this apply to you, the indie author? Does social media writing matter? Stay tuned; I’ll cover it in part 2.