Lawrence C Connolly is starting a series about social networking and how it works for the modern writer. I wanted to comment, but it is something that I have been thinking about the last month since I started my new schedule for everything I do online and off. So I thought it would be better to do it here, because I have more questions than responses.
Before the coma and the transplant, I averaged 471 hits a month. I was able to have long conversations on Twitter, racking up my Tweet count that is now somewhere around 15,000. Now, I knew 2010 was going to crash for me. I had to recover and had a lot of complications that I had to work on and still working on, so I had no time or energy to blog, tweet, or facebook. But since January of this year, as a started to get back into it all again, I haven’t had nearly the same experience as I did when I was at my peak pre-transplant.
Now, I also haven’t had a sale to promote. In fact, the one I had hoped would come out while I was recovering was dropped not that long ago. Along with no social networking came no writing for the same reasons. This year I’ve been trying to get back into the groove I was in, and it’s hard. But even on Twitter, no matter how much I add of my own things and interact with others, it is rare to that same level of socializing as I did before. Blog posts aren’t getting the same traffic from Facebook or Twitter.
As a proud introvert, I feel like I shouldn’t have to just be out there and say random crap to keep followers and readers. I do understand that you need to regularly give the readers something. But I wonder if it is as beneficial to do all this networking for fans or if we doing to network with other writers in hopes fans will follow?
Case in point: A few months ago, I purged a lot of writers that I just kinda knew or only knew of. I did that because I was following enough writers that actual friends’ and family’s posts would never be visible on my newsfeed. Before I did that, I when through all of them to see who I would want to keep. I basically want to get rid of promotion heavy people. As I did that, I also looked at the mutual following list and they inevitably all high and all writers.
Now I’m a small fish in a small pond in the horror genre, and in the beginning I did it to just keep up on what was going on. But to be honest, I learned no more than I would have just checking publisher websites and book selling sites. I may have gotten some traffic from them, but it wasn’t consistent or that substantial. So what are we networking for? Fans and readers? Practice for when we have a successful title? Some other reasons?
Case in point: Zoe E. Whitten is probably one of the best uses of social networking I know. She’s out there promoting, she’s tweeting and posting. She is churning out stories for her readers. Yet, she is having a hard time turning traffic into sales. She’s had some great successes for her, but even by doing exactly the same thing to promote her other books and stories, they don’t do nearly as well. If networking is key to promotion to make sales, then why is she having such a hard time converting the traffic she’s get?
Is networking different for established writers and those of us new to the game or concentrating on new publishing formats? Should new writers invest the time in networking instead using it all to build a catalogue for people to read? What is more true: people will follow who they read or people will read who they follow?