Do you get the picture?
That's the problem facing all booksellers. Yes, you, too. Even if you are only an author, you're still still interested in selling your books, aren't you? The people who just add their books to the heap without attempting to market them are only adding to the clutter. Readers must become aware of your book before you can begin to coax them to purchase and read it. If they don't arrive at that store with a desire to find and purchase your book, the odds of them stumbling across it while browsing is highly unlikely, isn't it? And, if you're a reader, just imagine, browsing four hundred miles of bookshelves. Why, that's a lot like browsing all the books on Amazon, isn't it?
I don't know how to help them find my book, yet. I'm working on it. I don't have any answers because I don't yet know all the questions. That's what I'm working on now. I'm trying to frame the questions. I have an idea of a few of them: What is the market for my book? Who wants to read that type? Where do they live? Where do they shop? How can I make my book stand out in the crowd?
It seems that most authors and publishers are “working” the social media to build sales. How's that working out for them? For you? For me? Not so much. I've spent the past six months building a following on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and all the rest, and all I see when I look around me are other authors trying to sell me their books. True, I've bought a few. Unfortunately, I don't think any of us are going to go very far buying and reading each others' books.
Does anyone remember CB (Citizen's Band) Radio? That was a true social media. People were chatting with one another all day and all night. I don't think that Twitter is anything like that. Not too many people are chatting on Twitter, are they? They're like Cbers who have tapped their “Push-to-Talk” switches in the “On” position and just keep yakking thinking that everyone else has nothing better to do than to listen to them. Of course, I'm no expert. I can only speak to the lack of Direct Messages and Replies that I've observed among my Tweeple. In fact, I've seen people complain that they don't want to receive Direct Messages claiming that they're only spam. In other words, they're not using Twitter to socialize. They're using it to broadcast advertising. Are things going any differently in your “following?”
There has to be a better way. I don't know what it is. I don't even know if I would recognize it if I saw it, not until I know what I'm looking for. Until I know who my audience is and how to communicate with them, I can't even begin to worry about the content of my message. The only thing that I know for certain is that it is impossible to answer a question that hasn't been framed.
I'm guessing that I have a lot of work ahead of me. I think that we all do, at least those of us who are trying to sell books in this economy. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.