Author Topic: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?  (Read 884 times)

Cabbages and kings




So I just noticed that Amanda Hocking is active on YouTube again and engaging her fans on YouTube.

And I wanted to do a poll about this video.

What are your thoughts on it?
 

LilyBLily

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2021, 02:07:48 PM »
This video is eight or nine years old and talks about how often Hocking posted to her blog back ten years ago: around every other day. Her blog on her website has three posts in 2021. Nothing wrong with the video. Basic advice not to get snookered by high-priced scams about making a fortune writing books, and then the usual stuff about being active on social media.

Then it was blogging. Now it's YouTube and TikTok and whatever. We get this advice over and over again, along with the patronizing comment that if we are serious about our writing we will do lots of social media. One can be serious about writing and not do social media.

In fact, the basic problem with that advice is that it is given to the people who are most likely to have spent their formative years curled up alone with a book. The antithesis of social, in fact. Serious people who seriously do not want to be social. Didn't want to then; don't want to now.

Faking sincerity Talking to people works for some writers and isn't of any interest to others, so whether it would or could work today as well as it apparently worked for Hocking a decade ago is unimportant. Try it and see for yourself if you are successful at it and if you like doing it. If you don't like doing it and you do it anyway, this is just another rotten job, isn't it?   
« Last Edit: August 13, 2021, 02:12:01 PM by LilyBLily »
 

cecilia_writer

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2021, 06:08:54 PM »
In some ways I would prefer not to interact at all with people who read my books, but I actually enjoy doing it on my own terms. I have a writer page on Facebook where I let people know what I'm working on and get some excellent feedback from time to time, and a writing blog where I probably post about once a month and it magically goes straight to Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
I also have a few people I know in real life who read everything I publish, and we sometimes chat about my books when we meet, although we almost always have lots of other stuff to talk about too. I think I would find it hard to keep up a real world conversation entirely about my books for very long! This is because I don't like talking about my work in progress and I am not so interested in the ones I've written already.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 

Hopscotch

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2021, 05:36:09 AM »
Being the sort of introvert who wishes all of you out there would go away to another planet and leave me alone, I can't argue w/anyone who does or does not care to socialmedia his/her/their readers.  But I always thought the book was the writer's method of communicating with readers.
 
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Eric Thomson

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2021, 08:47:34 AM »
Being the sort of introvert who wishes all of you out there would go away to another planet and leave me alone, I can't argue w/anyone who does or does not care to socialmedia his/her/their readers.  But I always thought the book was the writer's method of communicating with readers.

And yet, I've found that there is a not inconsiderable segment of readers who want to know more about my universe and what's behind my stories, so I interact with them on social media and on sites I control. Does it lead to more sales? No idea. But having readers interested in the unwritten stuff is gratifying.
 
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sliderule

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2021, 09:59:59 PM »
Being the sort of introvert who wishes all of you out there would go away to another planet and leave me alone, I can't argue w/anyone who does or does not care to socialmedia his/her/their readers.  But I always thought the book was the writer's method of communicating with readers.

And yet, I've found that there is a not inconsiderable segment of readers who want to know more about my universe and what's behind my stories, so I interact with them on social media and on sites I control. Does it lead to more sales? No idea. But having readers interested in the unwritten stuff is gratifying.


As a reader, I'm always interested in peeks under the hood. I read a universe, get invested in the characters and I want to know everything.

Yet it blows my mind in a good way that someone would feel that way about something I've written.
 

LilyBLily

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2021, 11:04:44 PM »
I think separation of the artist from the art is wise, because so often the artist is a complete jerk but the art is magnificent. It's far too easy for a fan to be disillusioned by too close contact with the artist.

I personally prefer a reasonable distance from my readers. That distance is part of what makes the magic of art happen. It's easy for an author to believe that magic is in short supply, which is another good reason to maintain distance.   

« Last Edit: August 14, 2021, 11:07:58 PM by LilyBLily »
 
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Lorri Moulton

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Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2021, 01:41:37 AM »
Authors can be removed from the public.  Publishers might have to interact a bit more.  I think it depends on what we emphasize in the business. 

If an author can write and hire the rest done, that's wonderful!  If we do it all ourselves (whether we have to or want to) then communicating with readers is another part of the job. 

Personally, I enjoy it!  But I know it's not for everyone.  And I don't talk about me (boring). I talk about subjects my readers enjoy that are often in my books.

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
 

PJ Post

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2021, 02:13:34 AM »
An emerging best practice for creatives is to engage with their audience as much as possible, including through as many platforms/services as possible. I assume the study of social media is taking up more and more 'pages' in Marketing textbooks these days. Eventually, social media will be just another business discipline, like accounting, finance or advertising.
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2021, 03:57:26 AM »
Every hour spent on social media is an hour spent not writing the next book.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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Eric Thomson

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2021, 04:45:00 AM »
Every hour spent on social media is an hour spent not writing the next book.
Sure, but if you harness the procrastination to something useful, like interacting with readers, at least it's not as wasteful as watching cat videos.  Grin
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2021, 02:06:54 PM »
Every hour spent on social media is an hour spent not writing the next book.

I find most of the time I can't write outside my normal session times. Not all the time, but most of the time.

So social media time is outside of writing time.

I also find sometimes I need to let the brain work on what comes next, and a social media sideline does the trick while it happens.

I'd love to be more productive, but we work with the way things are.
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Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2021, 03:30:54 AM »
An emerging best practice for creatives is to engage with their audience as much as possible, including through as many platforms/services as possible. I assume the study of social media is taking up more and more 'pages' in Marketing textbooks these days. Eventually, social media will be just another business discipline, like accounting, finance or advertising.

I took a few online courses last year and noticed social media is now an emphasis area in business and marketing degrees.

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2021, 10:48:39 AM »
Every hour spent on social media is an hour spent not writing the next book.
I don't spend all my time writing. I learned a long time ago that doing that only reduces my production. If I want to spend some of that off-time on social media as opposed to watching TV or reading or gardening or whatever, I don't see that it makes much difference.
 
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Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2021, 07:08:32 AM »
Attendance is up this month over the past two months at my readers' party.  I never have a huge group, but I would say we're at least 30% better than July or August.  Maybe people are settling back into their routine now that summer is just about over?  Anyway...thought I'd share in case anyone is debating about trying social media again.  :dog1:

And as I said earlier, this is more about branding than sales, but I do sell a few books.

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
 

The Bass Bagwhan

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2021, 09:50:56 AM »
My understanding of the state of things is that the kind of potential organic reach that regular social media might generate has been very much negated, if not purposely diminished by algorithms, in favour of paid-for promotions. You need a strict regime of social media to keep your website ticking over — maybe a short weekly blog, and by all means respond to comments, but I reckon pursuing greater interaction in the hope it will create sales is long gone as effective use of time.
 

PJ Post

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2021, 09:56:28 PM »
My understanding of the state of things is that the kind of potential organic reach that regular social media might generate has been very much negated, if not purposely diminished by algorithms, in favour of paid-for promotions. You need a strict regime of social media to keep your website ticking over — maybe a short weekly blog, and by all means respond to comments, but I reckon pursuing greater interaction in the hope it will create sales is long gone as effective use of time.

The algos are the algos, and I think you're right, the platforms are fighting back against organic anything because it reduces ad sales - which is way more important than indie book sales. Ad sales are the modern internet's profit engine.

And no hard feelings, but I think you are completely wrong on the interaction thing. Interaction is engagement. Engagement creates interest, familiarity and eventually sales. To be sure it needs to be the right kind of engagement to get there, but that's how social media works.

And I think that's the real question: not whether or not creatives should be using social media, but how to leverage it effectively/efficiently.
 
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She-la-te-da

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2021, 12:24:44 AM »
I tried social media, set up the site, the blog, the twit, the FB, the email list. It just won't work for me. I can't "engage". Don't like it, stresses me out. Even posting on writing forums drags me down, makes me so tired that I take long breaks from it.

I know it works for many people, that many introverts manage to deal with readers, but it's not for me. I personally don't care about authors, their lives, what they're working on, any of it. Just put books out. I love you.
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 
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PJ Post

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2021, 01:08:54 AM »
The more one sees self-publishing as a business, the more important social media becomes. It's a spectrum, at the hobby level it doesn't matter at all, although it can be lots of fun. At the cold-cash spreadsheet end of the spectrum, it's highly recommended, because whatever is being accomplished without it, the proper use of social media will improve everything - i.e. make way more money. Ads become more effective because of improved market penetration as does word of mouth sales. In every case, and for pretty much every consumer-level industry, social media improves revenue.

This is a fact backed up by countless servers full of data. Full stop.

This does not mean that any specific individual can make it work for them, nor that everyone is predisposed to the task, nor that there's a once-size-fits-all strategy. It's wonky and results are difficult to duplicate  - and yet, not as much as one might think. The main element for success is long-term commitment.

From a business perspective, social media falls under the public relations umbrella of marketing, which sits side by side with advertising - both of which are part of promotions.

4P's of Marketing: Price, Place, Product and Promotions.

And this is why I encourage new writers to figure out their brand and to not only learn social media, but to remain plugged in because it's constantly evolving. But play nice, the internet never forgets.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 01:12:56 AM by PJ Post »
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2021, 03:24:00 AM »
On the one hand, social media is like a pyramid scheme.  The True Believers™ point to the upper tiers of the pyramid and proclaim, See?  If you simply invest and persist, you, too, can reach the top!  But the reality is that most people, even if they do commit and persist, will end up screwed.

On the other hand, social media is like snake oil.  It will cure all your ills!  And, if it doesn't, well, it's your own fault for not continuing to take it because you were so very, very close to being cured that if only you had continued another month or so, you would have been fine.

Sure, someone benefits if you put a lot of time and effort into social media but the reality is that someone is almost never you.  But, you know, keep at it and maybe, just maybe, if you happen to beat the odds, you can be used as an example to lure in more unsuspecting rubes.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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Lorri Moulton

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Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2021, 03:26:59 AM »
On the one hand, social media is like a pyramid scheme.  The True Believers™ point to the upper tiers of the pyramid and proclaim, See?  If you simply invest and persist, you, too, can reach the top!  But the reality is that most people, even if they do commit and persist, will end up screwed.

On the other hand, social media is like snake oil.  It will cure all your ills!  And, if it doesn't, well, it's your own fault for not continuing to take it because you were so very, very close to being cured that if only you had continued another month or so, you would have been fine.

Sure, someone benefits if you put a lot of time and effort into social media but the reality is that someone is almost never you.  But, you know, keep at it and maybe, just maybe, if you happen to beat the odds, you can be used as an example to lure in more unsuspecting rubes.

At first, I thought you were describing the allure of making money selling ebooks...

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LilyBLily

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2021, 03:59:39 AM »
I prefer antisocial media. Books.
 
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PJ Post

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2021, 12:17:28 AM »
On the one hand, social media is like a pyramid scheme.  The True Believers™ point to the upper tiers of the pyramid and proclaim, See?  If you simply invest and persist, you, too, can reach the top!  But the reality is that most people, even if they do commit and persist, will end up screwed.

On the other hand, social media is like snake oil.  It will cure all your ills!  And, if it doesn't, well, it's your own fault for not continuing to take it because you were so very, very close to being cured that if only you had continued another month or so, you would have been fine.

Sure, someone benefits if you put a lot of time and effort into social media but the reality is that someone is almost never you.  But, you know, keep at it and maybe, just maybe, if you happen to beat the odds, you can be used as an example to lure in more unsuspecting rubes.

Yeah...not really. Social Media is just Business 101 in a new package.

Like I said, social media is public relations. Remember when Mountain Dew sponsored the X Games? It helped change their target market from all soda drinkers to the motocross, skaters and snowboard folks, but not just the inner circle, it became aspirational for the extended fashion crowd too. That base opened them up to the gamer demographic. That doesn't happen with regular advertising because, to work, public relations moves have to appear organic. It's a pull strategy used to compliment advertising's push strategy.

That's how social media works. Don Draper would be very comfortable with Instagram.
 

Vijaya

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2021, 11:47:45 PM »
I prefer antisocial media. Books.

Me too.


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Hopscotch

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2021, 05:27:17 AM »
I prefer antisocial media. Books.
Me too.

I'll join in - I don't own a social media machine (paraphrasing the old Dick Van Dyke Show) b/c I prefer books and people who prefer books for communication.  Social media is chatter.  Books endure.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2021, 09:41:39 AM »
Social media is chatter.  Books endure.


I'm a bit more cynical.  I think social media is the death-knell of literacy.  Today's kids are learning how to read from tweets, text messages, and video game chats, not books.  They're internalizing terrible grammar, usage, and syntax, and it's only going to get worse.

Having said that, I'm really looking forward to casting a vote for President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.   :cool:


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LilyBLily

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2021, 11:04:05 AM »
As usual, civilization is going to the dogs, and the younger generation is a bunch of ignorant know-nothings who don't read. Next, someone will yell, "Get off my lawn!"

I don't actually believe that books endure; there is plenty of genre fiction from Victorian times on up that most of us have never heard of and will never read, even though quite a lot of it is available on Project Gutenberg. I'm at peace with the ephemeral nature of the books I'm writing. After all, I'm a gardener, too, and talk about ephemeral! I'm fighting Mother Nature every day in an epic battle I inevitably will lose. These endeavors, fruitless as they are, remain a reason to get out of bed each morning.
 
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The Bass Bagwhan

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2021, 12:20:19 PM »
Just going to say that PJ Post has put forward some compelling ideas and thoughts ... interesting stuff.
 
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Jeff Tanyard

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2021, 01:46:54 PM »
Next, someone will yell, "Get off my lawn!"


I prefer yelling at clouds, actually.  ;)





Quote
...there is plenty of genre fiction from Victorian times on up that most of us have never heard of and will never read, even though quite a lot of it is available on Project Gutenberg.


I actually prefer that old stuff over modern stuff, believe it or not, and not just because it's in the public domain and free (though "free" always helps).  The non-fiction is particularly good, because it gives one a perspective that isn't available otherwise.  For example, I read Captain Bligh's account of the mutiny, and it paints a very different tale from the one given to us by Hollywood and popular opinion.
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PJ Post

Re: Communicating with your market. Does it still work? Did it ever work?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2021, 10:57:00 PM »
Quote
In the preface to the 1780 book A General Dictionary of the English Language, Thomas Sheridan wrote:

"The total neglect of this art [speaking] has been productive of the worst consequences ... in the conduct of all affairs ecclesiastical and civil, in church, in parliament, courts of justice ... the wretched state of elocution is apparent to persons of any discernment and taste … if something is not done to stop this growing evil … English is likely to become a mere jargon, which every one may pronounce as he pleases."

Quote
In 1904, psychologist and educator Granville Stanley Hall published The Psychology of Adolescence, in which he warned that it was a dangerous time, particularly for young folk:

"Never has youth been exposed to such dangers of both perversion and arrest as in our own land and day. Increasing urban life with its temptations, prematurities, sedentary occupations, and passive stimuli just when an active life is most needed, early emancipation and a lessening sense for both duty and discipline, the haste to know and do all befitting man's estate before its time, the mad rush for sudden wealth and the reckless fashions set by its gilded youth—all these lack some of the regulatives they still have in older lands with more conservative conditions."

Quote
In its July 1859 issue, Scientific American rallied against a wicked game that made both the mind and body weaker—chess:

"A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages ... chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while it affords no benefit whatever to the body. Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, but persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises—not this sort of mental gladiatorship."

Quote
In 1695, Robert Russel wrote in A Little Book for Children and Youth (subtitled Being Good Counsel and Instructions for Your Children, Earnestly Exhorting Them to Resist the Temptation of the Devil ...):

"I find by sad Experience how the Towns and Streets are filled with lewd wicked Children, and many Children as they have played about the Streets have been heard to curse and swear and call one another Nick-names, and it would grieve ones Heart to hear what bawdy and filthy Communications proceeds from the Mouths of such ..."

Quote
In Book III of Odes, circa 20 BCE, Horace wrote:

"Our sires' age was worse than our grandsires'. We, their sons, are more
worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more
corrupt."

Quote
“They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.”
Rhetoric, Aristotle, 4th Century BC
 
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