The last year has been filled with uncertainty because of all the transitions in the publishing industry. As a result, many writers have been searching for new directions with the collapse of the economy and transition in the publishing industry to high-profile celebrity authors.
Meanwhile, things have gotten worse and worse for most writers. With the growth of e-books and reduced sales of books generally, royalties and advances from traditional publishers have gone down. At the same time, there has been an explosion of self-published books, which has created a tremendous clutter in the market place, and increased difficulty for writers in promoting their own books. Plus recently there are new rental programs, so instead of buying a book, readers can now rent a download of it from a library or online rental service. So that means even less sales for writers, unless some formula can be found to pay writers each time a book is rented or downloaded — perhaps like the music industry has done in the face of massive piracy.
Another problem for writers is that somehow you need to get that news story or something to attract public attention for people to buy your book. Using the social media can help, if you can get information about your book in a news feed or in a group interested in your topic. However, this process can take a tremendous amount of time, and just posting announcements often doesn’t work, in contrast to sending a press release to the traditional media which blasts it out if your release is of interest — and sometimes a reporter or TV or radio producer may call to invite you to be a guest.
By contrast, with the social media, your news announcements can quickly disappear in news feeds or in wall postings, as others add their own announcements. Also, if you post in a group, such as LinkedIn, you get the best reception if you build up a relationship with the other group members by repeated postings and commenting on other posts. If you just make an announcement, it can often be ignored, or sometimes one of the long-time denizens of the group may blast you as an intruder. Then, others in the group may join in the chorus putting down whatever you are trying to promote. So, while the social media can be very important, it can backfire as well as being time consuming. Even so, like climbing a mountain, it can be worth doing, and eventually, you may figure out how to climb more quickly and get to the top.