Social Media and Publishing

As a writer just beginning in the world of publication there is a lot to learn. What avenues of publication do I want to take? Should I try to reach my audience through Publishing companies or should I Self-Publish? What are the avenues of reaching a high profit potential with each option?

These are not easy questions. It takes a lot of time (no matter which option that is chosen) to get a piece of writing to a wide audience. And either way it takes a lot of determination and patience to get the word out. So which option is best? I have to admit that I do not know at this point. What I do know is what I’ve learned from some great people on both sides of this fence.

Let’s talk about The King. Yep, I am talking about Stephen King. Probably the best marketer of writing that I have seen for someone who started out by writing articles for sports. He made some good money doing this but he wanted to become a writer. He had an idea and he wanted the idea to be published. In my readings he showed that writing for an audience is very important. He talks about revisions of his work and the hundreds of submissions of his story that were rejected or never even answered. Until it was. In 1974 Stephen King had his novel Carrie published and he hasn’t stopped much from there.

Yes…I do realize that in 1974, publishing looked vastly different than it does now. In our current age it is easier to reach people and Self-Publish. What need is there for a big publishing company?

Marketing. The key to any successful venture is marketing. This is where I begin to think that finding a publishing company may be a good thing. Marketing companies work endlessly on researching how to reach an audience and how to connect with that audience. This is key to being successful. The business hours put in to make sure a book is published and then reaching out to people on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and various other social media can be a daunting task. In talking to some of my self-publishing friends one of the things I have found is that they are reaching out and connecting, but the hours it takes to do this on a daily basis (and it has to be daily to build an audience) can take over what is important…the writing.

This social media aspect of publishing is key. You need to be able to reach the audience you want and to keep that audience. You need to put in the work to keep up the communication with your audience and make sure they know that you are invested in them as your audience. Then you need to make sure that what you have created (your storyline, your characters, your world) stays in the conscious mind of your audience so they will keep coming back.

Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson have both done a great job building and keeping social media alive and connected with their books. Numerous websites supporting the world of The Wheel Of Time books are out there and Jordan and Sanderson have both done a lot of work to keep in contact with these groups of people to support their audience. They are invested

I suppose what there is to keep in mind, when making this decision is what you get to keep in the publishing of your work. This is the difference between the self-publisher and the corporate publishing.

In self-publishing, all rights to your material is yours to do with as you will. Want to have a movie made from your book, you make that call. Want to print a second edition, You make that call. There are many creative and business decisions that you get to keep with self-publishing. Basically you are paying for marketing by giving away your rights to your work.

So, what is the best way? I know this sounds like a cop-out but it is really what you are willing to put into your work. Do you want to spend hours on social media and researching how best to reach your audience and then continue to be on social media to keep in touch with your audience? Do you want this work handled by someone else and lose some of your rights to what you created? The choice is yours. What suits you the best?

Once you figure this out Move forward with all the energy you can put into it and then share on your social media…there are others out there who want to know what worked and why, so share! 🙂

Keep writing!

Nevin

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5 thoughts on “Social Media and Publishing

  1. Hey Nevin,

    As a self-published writer, myself, I appreciate your discussion on this topic. You’re right about the hours that it takes to build a following online. You’re also right about the fact that this can eclipse what is critical to every writer: their time to write, especially if they have work and a family to also give their time to. However, I see this a necessary and inevitable aspect of our media-saturated culture. From what I have read recently, unless you are one of the big boys (King, Patterson, Martin), you probably are not going to have a team to do your social media for you, even if you are working with a large publisher. They may pay for advertising and get you booked on some shows, but, most often, you’ve got to manage the Twitter, Facebook, and blog accounts. You’ve got to generate new content and keep the conversations going. Now that we have the ability to build a following, as authors, we need to make use of the tools at our disposal to do so and acknowledge that it’s just another part of the job.

  2. Hi Nevin,

    Good point about marketing, and Stephen King was persistent that is for sure, and it paid off. I do like him though.
    I really like the personal tone of your post. It’s approachable and well written.
    And I can only imagine how long it takes to build a following, and then I wonder if I’d want one! There seems like more of a safety net with a publisher but good luck getting one I know! Maybe I should utilize social media more as self-promotion. Oh yea and I have to write some more things to promote.
    Thanks so much, I really like your fresh approach on our course material.

    -Ann

  3. Nevin,

    I really appreciate your mention of Stephen King, and his publishing/marketing prowess! Perhaps he is so successful in part because remains grounded,diplomatic and approachable despite his fame and success. I say this because my mom once sat next to him on a plane ride from Bangor, Maine to Boston, and, not realizing who he was, talked his ear off for two full hours about ME, and MY silly little writing/literature degree.

    “That’s excellent!” he told my mom. “I do some writing myself.”

    Someone informed her of who he was when everyone was deplaning, and she felt silly–but excited, and happy that he had been so gracious.

    Haha, anyway. I bet Stephen King also gained additional publishing and marketing perspective by working closely with the individuals and companies who helped translate his material to the big screen.

    Thanks for an interesting post!

    Danielle

  4. Nevin-
    This is an interesting way to look at the topic of Social Media. I find more and more people are taking the Self-Publishing route, even using interfaces like Amazon and Barnes and Noble to have their electronic books published with the Kindle and Nook. I also have several blog stories that I follow where the author adds new chapters every few weeks.
    I had not thought much about the differences though in what the writer takes away. I like that you don’t pick sides but just provide information on both fronts and allow the writer (your audience) to select which avenue is best for them.
    I also like your use of Stephen King as an example since he is one of the few fiction writers that is able to support himself fully on his writing 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

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