Does Social Media Sell? Take the Poll

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Writers are told they need social media to sell books; however, they are also told they won’t sell books directly from social media or blogs.

Sounds rather counterproductive doesn’t it?

I guess the key word there is directly. Meaning, I suppose, that no one actually purchases your books by clicking on the links you provide in tweets or post.

I am a writer, so I believe other writers when they tell me they don’t see a lot of sales from their post or tweets.

I’m also a reader, and as one, I purchased ten e-books last year–all of which I found either from a tweet or blog post. That’s the only way I learn about new books. I don’t have time to browse Amazon–and Goodreads won’t even give me recommendations until I review a few more books.

That being said, I want to hear from the rest of you. How do you find your books? Do you respond to posts from twitter, Facebook, or WordPress? Please answer the poll below. If you don’t see your answer, please respond in the comment section below.

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27 thoughts on “Does Social Media Sell? Take the Poll

  1. Jon

    H’m, well, I’m not quite sure how to answer. I’ve bought books from four people I know from blogs and/or twitter, but in all cases I got to know them (via social media) before I bought their books. I wouldn’t have bought their books if I hadn’t known them, but then if it weren’t for social media I wouldn’t know them, so … do you have a button for ‘It’s Complicated’?

      • Jon

        That saying about judging and covers is really dumb. What are you supposed to do, read them all? Covers are going to be a huge problem for me, I can’t afford proper artwork.

      • Have you checked out Elance? My sister got her cover from there. You post a job and people will bid for them. You might be able to find someone in a price range that you are comfortable with. Or, you might try to find someone who is just starting out who needs clips for a portfolio. They might be interested in offering cheaper services since they aren’t “experienced.”

  2. Er…..none of the above. Social media is about connections and curiosity. I have had a lot of clicks when I post about my book, though I don’t post about it very often. What books I have bought I would have made a connection first. I surmise that people will look at your books when they become familiar with you and your work. If that makes sense.

    • Just curious, do you notice a sales boost when you post about your books suggesting people follow the links? I feel like I’m the only person who actually clicks on links to check out an author’s books.

      • People click the links, but that doesn’t mean sales, so the answer is no. What happens is that they begin to get familiar with my work, so eventually they might buy. It may take numerous sightings of my book before they press the button. They click the link and have a look first……and then go away and think some more. Tweeting in itself rarely results in sales, but familiarisation does.

  3. I’m with Jon on this matter.It’s complicated. I’ve found some really great books from friends online and met some really great friends from reading their books. The thing for me is sometimes a tweet, blog post or interview will draw me in and I have to read the book. I do find new books to read via Goodreads friends who recommend titles to me too.

    My personal experience as an author is that social media does help me sell books. It just takes a lot of time and creativity. The key, as an author, to not get burned out by it. It’s a long-distance race and it takes time to find readers. 🙂

    • I’m glad to hear that. My thought, theory, and hope is that social media can make some direct sales. After all, I’ve made several purchases because of blog post or tweets, so I can’t be the only one.

  4. I’ve bought books that have been featured on bloggers’ sites, but it’s usually only after I’ve been interacting with the blogger for a time. I really don’t use Twitter much, or Facebook other than for personal use. I get a lot of e-mail ads from Amazon and sometimes find books that way. I’d like to use Goodreads more, but haven’t worked it in yet.

    • I would have to agree with you there. I’d say I’ve bought more books from blogs. Usually a book is advertised along with an author interview or feature allowing you to get to know the author the same time as the book. It’s hard to fit information like that in a tweet. Heck, sometimes the book’s title doesn’t fit.

  5. Yayyy! A Princess Bride reference!

    Ahem, yes, books…
    I have purchased because a blogger hosted an author and/or suggested a book.
    I have purchased because the cover, title and blurb looked intriguing on Facebook/Twitter.
    I have purchased because the author was a friend of mine and I wanted to read what they had been working on so diligently (usually becoming a ravenous fan 🙂 )

    What will turn me off faster than anything is the author who only tweets ‘buy my book’ stuff. No thanks. The hard sell is not the way to go in such a flooded market.
    A little self-deprecating humor, a sarcastic remark about your day, tell me you couldn’t live without chocolate and I’m automatically interested in you. Make me laugh and it’s guaranteed I’ll click your follow button.

    • Thanks for responding. It sounds like I’m not the only one who finds books via social media. I especially agree with the last bit about posting humor and remarks about your day. I tend to follow people who identify themselves as coffee addicts, nerds, fantasy geeks, etc. It makes you curious to know what they write.

  6. Thanks for doing this poll — as I found the results very interesting. I haven’t had a lot of sales through Twitter, and that seems reflected in your poll’s results. I suppose there’s something good about the fuller content that a blog post and interview have to offer, rather than a quick tweet.

  7. This is an interesting concept. You’ll have to post a follow-up of the poll results. I find lots of indie books this way and checked many boxes in the poll. But I don’t buy books authors tweet directly to me. That’s a bit too pushy. 🙂

  8. It’s definitely both. I joined social media to build a platform, meet awesome people, and help connect writers to readers. So, even without sales, I’d still do it. Community rocks!

    As a reader, I’ve made countless purchases from Twitter and WordPress because I saw a cover that appealed to me. If the description sounded good, I followed it to Amazon and made a purchase. That’s how I discovered Charles E. Yallowitz before I even followed his blog.

    I mean, how else are people going to know you published a book? Right now, most of my sales are a direct result of Facebook posts in which I shared the lengths to Amazon.

    Yeah, spam won’t sell books, but I don’t have to know or even like the author to purchase a book. Granted, knowing an author persuades me to;) But, when it all comes down to it, I’m just looking for a good book to read.

    Just my thoughts.

  9. I think it’s all about connecting with people on a deeper level.

    As a writer, I have sold books from interacting with people on Twitter, but not necessarily tweeting about my book. They’ve usually told me they purchased my book after we had been having non-book related conversations for a while. Others have told me that they purchased my book after discovering my writing on my blog.

    As a reader, I buy books from bloggers whose writing impresses me or whose books are written on subjects and themes that resonate with me. I also buy books recommended by friends of mine who share the same passions. All of this is discovered and shared on social media.

    So I believe the answer is yes, social media does sell, just not in the way most people think it would. It’s a big picture situation. You have to develop a community around your writing.

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