A couple of weeks ago Ewan Morrison published a fascinating article on epublishing and authors’ self-promotion in The Guardian.
In the article, Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors | Books | guardian.co.uk, he says:
“I’m convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months. The reason is this: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn’t, and we’re just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon.”
If you’re a writer, and you aspire to self-publish, or are already doing so, it’s well worth a read.
That said, the claim that authors are spending 80% of their writing time tweeting is hyperbole. I know a lot of writers, and I don’t know anyone who’s doing that. He may be right, maybe some misguided writers are doing that. (If you’re a writer, and you’re doing that, stop it. Focus on writing, first and foremost.)
Of course social media isn’t a magic bullet. There’s no free lunch and magic bullets are always a fantasy. No writer I know is basing his marketing on social media; that would be suicide. Social media is SOCIAL, above all.
Every writer needs to balance writing and promotion. You need to do both but the writing always comes first. You can’t sell what you don’t create. Think in terms of your career; make plans for where you’ll be three and five years from today. A frantic marketing effort, at the expense of your writing, is always a mistake.
“Create and promote” has been my mantra for years. Creation and promotion go together, but creation is always more important.
Making promotions the center of your writing life is not the way to go. I’m a fan of Pareto’s 80/20 principle, however writing must form 80% of the time you have available to write. If you’re a new author, writing should take up 95% of your time, because you don’t have enough ebooks to promote. Write five or more ebooks, then think about promotions. Yes, you can use social media, but you’d be very wise NOT to make any of those sites the hub of your efforts. What happens when they vanish, as they will?
Pay attention to writing, first — never let the promotional tail wag the dog of your writing. It’s your career.