Adventures in writing … Facebook and Twitter, the way to success?

Random shots … well, it is The Season!

Just finished reading another of those little articles that cause me to stop and think…this one from The Guardian, recounting how publishers are now expecting authors to have Facebook and Twitter accounts, with as many ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ or ‘likes’ or whatever else you want to call it, as they can get.

Okay … you see, I’m always a little cynical about all this, wondering who exactly creates this stuff. A little bit like receiving posts from Book Baby and Kindle glowing with the stories of self-made authors who are making thousands every week. Apparently, this can’t be said for authors signed by major publishers as everyone there is losing money.

Which is why, I suppose, they tell us to get out there and sign up those ‘friends’.

Well … so I did a little research, just to see …

I chose five of my favouirite authors (I have a lot more than five, and this is only a random list)

Here they are, in no particular order.

John Harvey, Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, Philippa Gregory and C J Sansom.

The results were really interesting.

On Facebook, Mark Billingham has 6.424 likes, C J Sansom 10,726, Philippa Gregory a whopping 129,229 and Harlan Coben an utterly amazing 306,448! John Harvey does not have a Facebook page. Mm …

Okay, on Twitter, the results are somewhat different. These are followers, and I haven’t done ‘following’. Maybe I should, or you could, and let me know. Anyway … John Harvey has 337 (which is less than me, I think!), Philippa Gregory has 13,400, Mark Billingham 16,200 and Harlan is way out in the lead again, with 57,000 followers! C J Sansom doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account, but there a thousands of Tweats about him, which may or may not mean the same thing.

The thing is, of course, these authors don’t seem to have ‘personal’ pages, which is probably a good thing as it keeps their private lives separate from their professional ones, although some of them do share quite a lot of personal stuff other than their writing on their author page, and Twitter accounts. I notice many self-published authors combine their private and author pages into one. I have two, one personal and one for my writing and related news. I have probably gone about this in totally the wrong way, but nobody was here to guide me when I set it all up. And my poor old Twitter account uses my Young Adult author name, which proves I am moron when it comes to social media.

Which, in the final analysis, means I’m not going to be taken seriously by a big publisher.

Great. What a lovely way to end the year.

However, I do take solace in the fact that my very favourite writer, John Harvey, is in exactly the same boat. He has published NINETY books and is internationally regarded as one of the finest thriller writers there is. So, although I see the sense in having all these people following me (wouldn’t it be great, to have 5,000 likes on Facebook, and 15,000 followers on Twitter. Wow, the thought is intoxicating!), I am warmed by the fact that me and John are true soul-mates when it comes to this sort of thing. I don’t know what I’m doing. Perhaps John doesn’t either, but it hasn’t stopped him selling millions of books.

Wonder what my excuse is?

Anyway, lovely people, hope you had a very lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year. 2015 is going to be YOUR year, don’t forget. As for me, I have a new book, ‘Whipped Up’, the 2nd in the Paul Chaise thriller series, coming out on the 5th January, so please pop over to Smashwords and reserve your copy! For Kindle, it’ll be on Amazon as that beautiful day dawns.


Thanks in advance

God bless us, everyone!



Filed under fiction writing

2 responses to “Adventures in writing … Facebook and Twitter, the way to success?

  1. I read a fair bit about the importance of social media. I am published by a small American publisher and they are always encouraging us to “meet and greet” and say hello on FB and Twitter et al, but so far I have only managed small accounts on both, and have the sales to match ha ha ha

    • Hi Peter. You´ve hit on a big problema all writers now have. Persuading readers to buy our books! There are simply TOO many writers out there, and readers have become quite selective as so many self-pubbed books are plainly awful. Having good reviews helps, but to get those you have got to get out there and,as I do, offer reviewers a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. Be wary of some sites which ´sell´good reviews. You want HONEST ones. But, I´m like you. I have around 350 followers on Twitter, with around the same number of ´likes´on FB, and neither guarentee a single sale. It´s the same with free downloads of your book. I offered a free download of one of my books about 2 years ago. Over 3000 – Yes, 3000 – downloads were made. How many reviews did I get? ONE. I am constantly pulling my hair out thinking of ways to attract readers, and the only solution, I feel, is to keep going and try not to worry. Write books. Nowadays people like series, so write one, and make your books BIG. I don´t know what genre you write in, and you hear so much nonsense spouted off about novels and novellas, but it does seem to be the ‘in thing’to read big books. So, I always aim for a minimum of 80,000 words, but usually my books hit around 100,000.
      In saying all of this, Peter, you ARE published, so well done! Don´t be disheartened, just keep plugging on. Share things on social media about yourself, not always about your books. Post comments about the news, your interests, join groups, but try not to plug your books too much or, if you do, make sure there are plenty of other posts to break up the marketting. Readers like to know about authors, so tell them something. Post pics of favourite places you´ve visited, your favourite authors, books which have inspired you, all sorts of stuff. Good luck, and I hope I haven´t gone on too long!
      Thanks for dropping by.

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