My friend, J.S. Chancellor, once asked me if I have ever purchased a book from another author I met on FaceBook. I thought it was a good question and one I should open up to everyone.
For my answer, I have to say, rarely. I have so many books waiting to be read and so much writing that I still need to do, I don't have a chance to check out everyone's work. On occasion, I'll buy a book from someone I have made a personal connection with during FB chats, but I never buy a book just because someone friended me and then posted a link to their book on my wall. Maybe some of you have, which is why I'm asking the question. Hey, I'm not knocking trying such a tactic, as we have to do everything we can to sell books, I'm just wondering if it ever works.
After all, I post links to my book and book-related stuff all of the time. But does it actually sell books?
Even with my earlier answer of rarely, as to the question of buying books from new FB friends, I have to say that overall, it doesn't work. Wait a minute, you say. I said rarely, so that must mean it works sometimes, right? Well, not exactly. I have 900+ friends on FaceBook. Out of those 900 friends, I'm guessing 50-100 of them are friends of mine from the "real" world. Then, another 30-40 have become people I enjoy talking with on FaceBook because we've taken the time to engage in conversation for whatever reason. That leaves a lot of authors that have friended me or I have friended who are simply promoting their work, which is the same thing I have done. But out of all of those numbers, I'd say I've purchased 3 books. Yeah. Three.
Does that make me a jerk? Or selfish? I sure hope not. When I started acquiring friends here on FB, I had every intention of checking out their stuff while hoping to find avenues of promoting my own work. I do share other author's stuff on occasion, but only if I was particularly interested in what they had said or if they had made some kind of personal connection with me.
So, that brings me to my next set of questions. In saying all of this, does it mean that FaceBook is worthless for authors? That answer for me is still a resounding "no way." First and foremost, I have made friends on FaceBook and I enjoy chatting with them quite a bit. Second, and more to the point, I do think things I have written have spread by this medium. Blogs, for example. This blog, even. If you are here participating in this debate, I am willing to bet you found it from Facebook, Twitter, or through some other social media. Does that mean you are going to rush out and buy my book now? No, of course not. I've learned that everything doesn't have to be about selling books. I am happy you are here regardless of whether you read fantasy or have any interest in ever paying for what I've written.
The fact that you're reading this and (hopefully) commenting, hint, hint, is enough for me to continue being active on FaceBook and Twitter and such.
Really, I wish I could buy all of your books and you could all buy mine, but that just isn't reality.
Which brings me to my final series of questions today. What is your purpose for using FaceBook as a way to market your work? Is it simply to throw your latest book at the FaceBook wall and hope something catches on? Is it to make friends and build relationships with other authors? How about name recognition? For example, if you've seen my book title a few times and then you are searching WalMart or Barnes and Noble or wherever for something to read and you come across my book again, will you give it a try? Does that ever work?
I'd love to hear your opinion. Have you found something different in your FB marketing? Have you found a place where actual readers go looking for your stuff to read? Like Goodreads, for instance? Maybe you have a different goal or maybe you ARE one of the ones who uses FaceBook to find your next read. I'd like to hear your take.
Oh yeah, and if you are using FB to find your next read, do I have a suggestion for you ;)