I believe we need to have a strong on-line presence in the form of, not a general blog, but a site dedicated to a product. But here are comments from some who disagree with me:
This question was posed on Scribophile:
At what point does engaging in yet another platform actually sell any books?
Scribophile > “Depends what you use the platform for. DeviantArt has a lot of webcomic artists on there, and they gain a huge number of fans by posting serious artwork and drawings and funny mini-comics and the like for a few years first. They build up interest to the work before the work ever gets posted, so there’s already an audience waiting to suck up the actual story.”
(This is what I had in mind for my Wix site. But my conception got way too complicated, it got away from me. I am going to use a template-based WordPress site as my intro site, and continue to work on the Wix one.)
Scribophile > “I don’t think that your social media presence is really going to result in selling more books. I think it improves your chances for getting represented or published. I use Instagram to promote my art and writing. I participate in month-long writing and drawing challenges.
“Engaging on Facebook and Twitter drives some blog traffic for me. I have a books page on my blog, so people who have come to look at my article/interview or whatever link they clicked on can then see what I write. But it’s more a case of raising my profile out of obscurity than selling loads of books.
“Imagine selling your book is like having a storefront. You can wait for people to walk by, walk in and buy something. It happens. But what if you also participated in community events, fairs, and neighborhood parties? That’s what social media is. A means to get even a little bit more attention in an overcrowded marketplace.
“The key is to find the outlet where your readers/buyers are most likely to be hanging out and then give them a good reason to go to your store.”
Scribophile > Someone here somewhere agrees with me. He/she is strongly opposed to a marketing site being primarily a personal blog, but I can’t find that comment at the moment.
Yes, you can talk about a range of topics, but let them relate to your story. (Anyone who reads my footnotes in Sly will see that I am able to relate almost anything to my story.)
So, there are two schools of thought here.
One > Display your general style and sensibility, seduce readers into trying your book.
Two > Subtlety be damned, the focus should be on the book, not your rambling thoughts.
There’s a third approach. One guy wants you to be his writing coach: “Based on my experience as a long time reader, never. It’s like some myth. I go to author’s blogs for writing tips, not to buy their books.”
Here’s my opinion:
> Engage on a variety of social sites, if you have the energy, to (try to) get attention.
> Have a website that features your product(s). Chat also, but don’t have that be the focus of your message. Soft sell by the grace of prose pulled from your novel(s). Be spontaneous in introductions/ sidebars/wrap-up comments.
> Here’s the advantage to this: Updates are easy. Change a paragraph, add a graphic. No pressure to freshen your page top to bottom. Your book is your book is your book.
The bad thing about that is, if a reader looks at your presentation and dismisses it, he will not return to find a second book, or a third. So be entertaining as hell in your supplemental material. Be surprising, be insightful, be outrageous. Give a browser reason to think you might eventually have something for him.