Social Media is a different world from offline. As such, I think interaction on and offline must apply to book promotion and be fitting for each. I’m learning, and trying to better implement, a well-balanced combination of both off and online tools because each is so different, yet similar too. Now the following are just my personal thoughts and opinions and are by no means that of an expert. These thoughts are not supported by any advanced data or statistic aside from my own experience; they are just my thoughts because, well, I was thinking about some stuff.
Me and Offline supporters from Canada and Philadelphia at The Pearls Before Swine release, The Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Chicago IL 2014
In my opinion, offline offers opportunities not always present online and online offer its benefits as well that are not always present offline. There are things I would do online as to appeal to this community that may not be required offline. Or that may not attract as much attention to offline supporters. For instance, I think offline activities are great to share with your online friends in the form of pictures. It’s always exciting to see photos of book signings, public speaking engagements, and varying social engagements with offline supporters. I think these, pictures, are far more engaging to your online supporters than ads and constant promos concerning updates of what is done offline because it gets boring after a while.
Online communities want to engage online whereas offline communities who are not as into “internet-ting” want to engage offline. Offline supporters and readers want to hear your voice and see your face. They can care less about how many Facebook Likes you have. As such, I believe balance of both on and offline activity is good but that there also need to be a limit to merging the two. Its OK for them to be separate. I believe, for instance, that a social media presence should rightly fit the online community.
I know this looks good, but Social Media is very deceiving. While numbers such as is in this photo is exciting it can mean absolutely nothing or it can mean everything. You will probably never know for sure. This is where offline activities come into play. Offline book promotion handles much of the foot work. It is the physical act of pushing the book.
Social Media on the other hand, in my opinion, is not necessarily about selling books as much as it is about building; though through building come sales, social media is best utilized to help generate buzz about a book without blatantly asking people to buy it. Its purpose is to serve as a networking platform that helps connect writers to other writers, readers to writers, digital marketers and professional experts, editors, book groups and workshops, reviewers, beta readers, and gives authors room to connect with readers who enjoy the genre in which the writer writes by way of a platform. What I hope to accomplish as an author in general but especially online, is to show my support for the books content itself. I aim to raise awareness concerning the social or political message behind the writing. Why is this topic relevant today? How does it help people to grow? What value does my subject hold and can it start conversations that lead to greater understanding? By striving to answer these questions, it will help garner offline attention and lead to radio interviews and social engagements. In short, I try to forget for a moment literally selling the book, and to instead focus on why my book is different from the next and thus why it is even worth your time in the first place.
Social media is about connections and should be used to reach the people you can’t reach offline (because they will become offline supporters). It should be, not merely an advertisement of the book, but a presentation of the books message and an introduction of the author on a personal level. By focusing on the content of the book and getting to know the author, I believe readers become interested in the book itself because of their passion for the topic and their trust of the author. In this way, I think we Indies have the potential to reach lots of readers and to be more productive in our service to the online literary community.