Social Media and Amazon

If you are an Independent writer/publisher marketing your own work, recent statistics about social media posting, and Amazon’s advances in total book sales, have you a bit frightened. Here’s why:

First, social media: Posting on various sites to gain notoriety for your work is massively time consuming. What’s more, your posts are among the millions of other posts. You only see yours and those of your friends. Do you really need to market to your friends? Furthermore, most folks tend to ‘friend’ those who are interested in the same thing. The problem is, the “public” is where you need to be marketing your work, not to other writers and friends.

Further, where do you post–Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter? Do you have added pages on those or other sites? Even using “HootSuite” to post automatically on your sites, while efficient, is time consuming. In fact, social media posting is a full time task and the results are spotty at best. Are you posting to the most effective sites, or just those mentioned in news media? How do you know?

You’d rather spend your time writing, or with family. Right?

Well, shall we advertise on those sites you use? Good idea? Not so fast. Facebook, for example, allows you to “advertise” using “Like” clicks. What that means is your ad appears asking those who see it to “Like” your page. It’s a crap shoot those folks will actually read your page when liked. So, you spend, say, $50 over a 10-day period and get 50 likes–$1 a click. Pretty expensive, what?

Now, Amazon: Amazon now sells the majority of books sold in the United States! It’s a good thing for Amazon, but what about you, the Independently published writer with e-books and maybe a paperback on Amazon. How will your readers find you on Amazon’s millions of book listings? Furthermore, because Amazon is the behemoth in book sales, it is in the driver’s seat. Will it change the royalty percentage you receive? Will it change the way you upload your book? Will it set more rules for content? Frankly, only Amazon’s management team know the answers to those questions. Amazon is successful because it is easy to buy on it’s site, and it provides extraordinary customer service.

On-line books sales competition is a major reason for the decline in “traditional” publisher print sales, too. Print publishers take a bigger piece of the writer’s royalty pie, as well.

All of the above comments are depressing. It’s scary to the independent writer. So, how do you tackle all of these problems?

I believe the only way an independent writer can ever hope to surmount these stated problems is to band together. That’s why I have helped organize and support the Independent Writers’ Cooperative, Inc. Together is the only way I can foresee achieving any success in marketing independently written books. It takes money and members. If enough folks band together in a cooperative effort, the organization can do the work of marketing and public relations for the Indie Brand, not just on social media sites, but, with dues funding, national PR as well. That’s how Sunsweet and other cooperatives did it.

It just makes sense to me… are you a member? Try What more have you got to lose?

–Dan Lee,