In a word, yes! But don’t just take my word for it. Neil Nyren, Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Putnam, talked about the importance of an author’s web presence in an interview at Murderati.com, a blog about “Mysteries, Murder, and Marketing.”
In The 4th Annual State of the Industry Interview, mystery author JT Ellison, asked if an author would be wise to “drop social networking in favor of working on her book,” and how Nyren felt about “authors having to shoulder so much of the [self-promotion] load.”
Nyren said, “There’s no question that one of the essential ingredients in selling books is word of mouth. … as M.J. Rose always says, if people don’t hear about a book, they ain’t going to buy it.”
I agree. In today’s Internet age, social networking and blog tours are an integral part of getting the buzz out. Social networking is at its most effective when you combine several forms of social networking so they work together. Each platform is like a spoke to a wagon wheel. They are all connected by the outer wheel, but they all point to the axis of the wheel, which is your Website. That’s the most important part of your Web presence: Your Website.
“As a writer,” Nyren said, “you are the CEO of your own business. You should make it a point to learn that business and to do whatever is necessary to make that business succeed.”
Does that mean we have to do everything? Blog, Twitter, Facebook? Ack! Like many of you, I find it difficult to juggle all those balls and get any writing done. So, when the deadlines get tight, what falls by the wayside?
The answer comes in finding the right balance. “Because,” Nyren says, “a big part of that success rests in writing damn good books, and it’s tough to do that if you’re spending all of your time on promotion. Not to mention that some authors are better suited for some kinds of promotion than for others. Not everybody is born to Twitter. Find out what works for you – it’s going to be different for everybody – and learn as you go along. Observe, experiment, be flexible, don’t get hung up on trivia. And remember: The book comes first.”
Sage advice. The book comes first. Without the book, all the social networking in the world is pointless in terms of your career. On the flipside, without social networking – today’s version of word-of-mouth – your brilliantly written novel may never fall into the hands of readers who will love it. The question, though, is how to manage both when there’s only so many hours in the day.
So, authors (and readers), what say you? Is social networking is worth the time it takes? What works for you?