Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Does Social Networking Work?

I've recently released two ebooks unto the world.
As part of my awareness campaign I did several things. I blogged about both books. My blog appears on Livejournal, Blogspot and Myspace (aka deadspace) and it is "fed" to Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and Jacketflap. So my rough estimate is that around 5000 people have friended or follow me on these various networks. So that's a potential audience of 5000 (or 10,000 eyeballs if you're counting).
Arthur Slade's Profile
Arthur Slade's Facebook profile

I also tweeted and "Facebooked" about the books, exposing them to about 4800 people (many of them the same people as the first group). These tweets were also re-tweeted by several others for even more exposure.

Total sales in the last two weeks: 25

That may seem like a small amount but I'm actually extremely pleased by it (hey, there was even one sale in the UK). If I examine just my Facebook friends alone I have around 3200. But only a small part of them would be actual fans -- the rest are other writers, people who collect Facebook friends, other writers, teachers, other writers, etc. Only a certain portion of them would own eReaders and only a small portion of those owners would be interested in Draugr and Dust. Not everyone wants to read YA. And not everyone wants to read horror. Add to that all the other "noise" out there (how many tweets can you read in a day?).
Follow arthurslade on Twitter
Actually if the sales pattern continues of 12 copies a week by the end of a year I'll have sold 624 copies and made $1248. Hey, that's not too bad. Add to that the fact that I intend to release two more books in the Northern Frights series, a book of short stories and maybe even a novelette--all of that can only help sales.

So does networking work? It depends on what you hope it will achieve. I see it as a way to both join the community of other writers and readers out there (and the heavy metal/starwars/startrek/geek community) and a way to be able to communicate directly to people who enjoy my work. "Friends" won't just purchase something the moment you tweet about it. They have lives of their own (apparently!). I rarely like seeing a direct sales message (unless it's something I'm dying to get) so I don't expect others to want to see too many of my own. In fact, I think you're far more likely to sell books if you're a good online citizen and nice to people (hey, maybe that could be a t-shirt--be nice to sells books!)

So the social networking works for me.

And it's a great way to procrastinate from writing...



Anonymous said...

Hey Art, interesting topic and one we focus on as a company. I have noticed a larger uptake of "commerce" from Facebook versus Twitter. It seems Twitter is more about community and less about selling which is OK. Its another tool. It is also interesting to note that someone can have you in a list without "following" you which could suggest you're part of a larger community than you even know.

Was their any direct evidence that the sales you mentioned were a result of social media or was it simply people with good taste buying a great read? Good luck with the latest release and I'll see you tomorrow at McNally!

Barry Napier said...

I use Twitter and, of course, my blog which is linked to my Twitter account. I have a Facebook page that I rarely use and I also have a Goodreads account. I ahve heard lots of people say they have generated a slight fan base with Goodreads, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to utilize it.

Unknown said...

Tim--There wasn't any way to directly attribute sales to my tweet/facebook campaign. Only that they happened shortly after the campaign.
Barry--yes, utilizing it seems to require magic of some sort...

Unknown said...

Then, of course, there are those of us who have read ALL your books in the traditional format. (And bought most of them, for self or local library.)

From what I've read on J.A. Konrath's blog, there is also a cumulative effect on sales, which hopefully you will experience.

Jennifer said...

Just think, if you continue building a network of friends and fans you could see an even greater increase in your numbers because they will be enthusiastic about helping spread the word.

Unknown said...

No joke about the procrastination thing. I'm suffering from that majorly bad right now. Sounds like you've got a dang good following. I'm with you. I think 25 sales is very good for your first two weeks. Congrats. I wanted to tell you your covers look great. That has probably helped too. Did you do them?

Unknown said...

@ Karen. I appreciate your support! Thanks for paying my book sale at a time. It does make me curious whether people will buy "new" things that I ePublish (like my collection of short stories soon to be released).
@ Jennifer. Yes, there's nothing better than enthusiastic friends to help sell books. Well, and to party with, that I think of it.

Unknown said...

@lois Thanks. I was really happy with the covers. The Draugr cover is by Derek Mah @ and the Dust cover is by Chris Steininger @

Nicole said...

I'll be publishing my first novelette very soon, and I would be pleased to see that many sales in that amount of time. And I definitely plan on utilizing the same social media networks that you mentioned. I've seen two friends of mine achieve quite a bit of success by marketing through social media, and it has greatly encouraged me.

Unknown said...

@ Nicole. Good luck with the novelette!