Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Publishers care about your social media presence. They care a lot. Actually, they probably care too much. Here’s why: The majority of them don’t know how to judge if your presence will actually result in book sales.
Let’s say, for example, you have 50,000 likes on Facebook. A publisher might consider that number decent. If you have 100,000 likes, that might move the dial into the respectable zone, and the publisher would be more prone to want to offer you a contract.
During a recent meeting with an editor, she mentioned that she had to see a strong number of social media connections before she could take a writer’s project to the publishing committee.
“A million,” the editor said nonchalantly. As if that number were common, ordinary.
What drove me crazy was this: The editor wasn’t looking for a meaningful number, just for a magic one. One that would result in her being able to offer a contract.
Let’s be blunt. Numbers can be bought.
I located a site recently where, for $5, a person with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers will do a tweet about you. Presumably you could hire the person to tweet a link to your blog. Or he could tweet suggesting his followers follow you. You can imagine how responsive those followers would be; the person’s tweets are nothing but mini ads for people he doesn’t know and who might have no connection to his followers’ interests.
People offer themselves on eBay as a follower or a friend for hire.
Will traffic increase to your blog by buying clicks? Will you gain hundreds of thousands of new followers? Would those numbers have any meaning?
Facebook likes don’t translate into book sales. Kissmetrics pooled data from a variety of sources to show that business and fan page likes are relatively meaningless when it comes to generating revenue.
A smart publisher looks beneath the surface and wants numbers that have meaning.
How can you generate meaningful numbers?
- Work to create actual engagement on social media. This could be the number of shares from a Facebook post, or number of comments to a Facebook post, or clicks on links offered on a variety of social media. Showing that conversations and real connections are occurring can make a smaller number more meaningful than a large number that doesn’t indicate engagement.
- Pay attention to the percentage of books sold at author events. If, when you speak in person, your ratio of number of books sold to number of attendees is high, that’s a meaningful number.
- Build the size of your newsletter list. When a reader signs up for your newsletter, that’s a commitment considerably larger than liking you on Facebook. The newsletter will pop up in that person’s email. Who among us is longing to increase the amount of email we receive? We ask for newsletters only from those we really want to hear from. Not to mention that you also can report the open rate for your newsletters.
- Show actual increase in book sales from a marketing effort. If you appear on a radio program and your book’s Amazon ranking shifts from #198,348 to #5,309 in the ensuing hours, the likelihood that the interview had an effect is pretty high.
- Report on webinar attendees. If you offer a webinar, especially one for which attendees need to pay, the number who sign up is an indication of whether you are viewed as a spokesperson–on the topic of your book, of course, or the webinar number isn’t nearly as meaningful.
- Communicate that your numbers are trending upward. If you’re building blog readers steadily over a year, that suggests you’re gaining traction and creating connections with potential buyers of your book.
Whenever possible, I talk to acquisitions editors and publishing executives about how not all numbers are created equal. The easy decision is to look at readily attainable numbers such as likes and followers. But who said easy is smart?
What are other ways you can build meaningful numbers?
How important is a writer’s social media presence to a publisher? Click to tweet.
Ways to show a publisher you can help to sell books. Click to tweet.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net