|Does this book actually exist? |
Sure seems everyone here had a copy at one time!
But that's not all I blame. I also blame the house-flipping fad. I saw it coming--I swear to you, I did. I predicted it to so many people and no one listened to me. I supposed that's because I'm essentially a nobody, but it seems like common sense. House prices start rising, people en masse start thinking they can make money off their homes. Then they think, "With the way those prices are going up, I can sell my house, buy another house, then turn around and sell that house and make even more money." And so on, and so forth. That's called house-flipping: buying a house and either fixing it up or leaving it as is and just raising the price to turn around and sell it for profit.
Here's the problem: If everyone is out to flip their houses, who are they going to sell to?
The Floridians not interested in flipping stayed where they were and weren't interested in buying new homes, or they sold their house to a potential house-flipper and got the bleep out of Dodge, moving to places like North Carolina where the house prices hadn't started rising. (Granted, they did eventually start rising in NC--we saw that first-hand a couple of years after the FL market crashed because we were considering moving there, and the market was well on its way to falling up there, too. Fortunately, we didn't move. Although, I still want out of FL. And for the record, since we stayed in the house we were in before the market upheaval here, we're almost paid off rather than upside-down in our mortgage like everyone else.)
So what does this have to do with writing, and social media specifically?
Social media is a place writers go to promote their work. They want word spread so readers will read it. Just like house-flippers, they need potential buyers.
And just like the housing market here, which became overloaded with house-flippers, the social media arena has become overloaded with writers.
I have read so many blog articles about how easy it is to use Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest to attract potential readers. The articles include so many dos and don'ts. They seem so well thought-out, so informative. They make so much sense.
Until I try to implement them. And what I get, instead of readers interested in reading my book are a slurry of authors trying to sell me theirs. Or, like real estate agents who were flourishing during the housing market rise, I get groups who want to "help market" my books. For money, of course.
But readers, just like honest-to-goodness potential homebuyers back during the peak of the crash, are hard to reach. They're hunkered down with their familiar ways of finding books, like Amazon and Goodreads newsletters or suggestions from friends, the way we were hunkered down and refused to go house-hunting when the housing prices were rising. Or, they've already cashed in and gotten involved in places like NetGalley, where they're getting a nice little supply of free review copies direct from publishers who can afford to pay the steep fees to list their books there. But social media?
The fact is, in my own personal experience, social media is the meeting place of writers with other writers, not writers with readers. Some of the tips I've followed include searching keywords for specific genres....and I get tons of writers. Or following everyone who follows you...and I get tons of writers. Or searching out specific authors or books and follow their followers (that's my latest)....and guess who's finding me and following because of that? More writers.
I don't really understand. Yes, I love the fellowship of other writers--I do! I really, really do. But I know that most of these writers aren't hoping for my Twitter follow so we can fellowship. They are wanting to sell books. And so am I. We are at an impasse. And the readers are off in their overpriced houses reading the books they love and completely oblivious to the struggling writers out there trying to reach them.
The difference is, I don't think social media is going to crash. Just like there actually were some people who made money during the Florida housing fiasco a few years ago, and some people actually did buy new homes and didn't end up in foreclosure, writers do, now and then, hit the mark while using social media. And that little bit of traction seems to be all we need to keep going.
Anyway, I'm not really writing this to resolve anything or offer any answers. I don't have any answers. Just the observance that social media for writers shares some commonality with the house-flipping fad. Pointless maybe for me to say so, but then again so was me telling everyone I thought the housing market would crash and it didn't stop me from saying that back then :P.