The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 124 – Will Social Media Actually Help to Sell Books?
Perhaps you've asked yourself more than once whether or not social media actually sells any books? Is it worth the time and effort you put into to schedule and post new stuff on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.?
In this episode of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper share their personal experiences and provides an answer as to whether you're better off spending your time writing or if social media is actually a good thing.
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. In today's Publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I have Autumn.
This is episode 124 of The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. And in this episode, Autumn, and I will discuss if social media helps selling books on it. And I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this topic, Autumn.
Oh, it will be, it'll be fun. I don't think it will be anything surprising between you and I, but it'll be interesting to share this with the listeners and see what their takeaway is and what we get in comments. Oh, looking forward to it. Yeah, for sure. But you also had a, a good week. You've been traveling for once. I have to look at it since the, you can actually see my background. It's a little different this week. I took us a sudden, well, I'd been wanting to do this since, Oh, I made a promise to my parents. And I think November that I would come see them December and then coronavirus ramped up and it wasn't safe. And even in the house, I mean, we are talking about a third and fourth wave.
Autumn (1m 30s):
He was going on across the world and new lockdowns, but we finally just said, well, we're going to, so we drove a few hundred miles South or down in Pennsylvania and I'm visiting my family and it's too much food, too much sugar, too much beer. And it's wonderful. I'm not getting quite as much work done. I am actually surprisingly doing some work and I swear and putting the way my laptop for the rest of it today, at least I'm going to crack open the wine with my dad and we'll sit in the back deck and, you know, absorbed some sun and watched that a little pull up with some fish and you know, it's so good to be down here. So I I'm thrilled.
Autumn (2m 11s):
That's what we did a little crazy probably, you know, this year or this world. I don't know if there is a good time, but we hopefully will finally be getting that delayed vaccine shot this week. So fingers crossed. It's a nice, yeah. So it was not quite as silly as it seems. No, but that's a pretty good news. And a also getting to see the family after so long. It's a very nice that it is very, it's been really good. I'm having tons of fun. If you could say that we'll be visiting your parents to know how are the things for you?
Jesper (2m 49s):
No. It's good. I went to the hairdresser for the first time today. So, well maybe my headset for those watching on YouTube, you can't really see it any way. But, it feels so much better. It's amazing. I didn't know how vital hairdressers were, but apparently they are.
Autumn (3m 6s):
We'll help you tip. Well, if you don't know, what do you tip and Denmark. So, you know, well there, you know that you guys just have it, right?
Jesper (3m 17s):
Nope. That's not something that we do. And we, and then the consequences, sometimes when we travel, we can't quite work out how. When am I supposed to tip? Do I do it now? How much should I tip? And we can figure that stuff out. It's not in our culture.
Autumn (3m 30s):
Oh yeah. I was going to say, I live in a culture where you tip and I still don't know when you're supposed to tip or not tip. So yeah. And I told you on our drive down to Pennsylvania, we've been listening to that book a year of living Danish lately. I feel like I'm getting some insight to Danish culture. It's probably completely wrong, but it's been thrilling to listen to the differences going I'm in the wrong country. You, I just fled out of it that you haven't been a carrot countries. So there you go. Well,
Jesper (3m 56s):
What was your key? Take-away from that lesson
Autumn (3m 58s):
And I'm not quite done yet, but yeah, it's just a, you take care of each other and that that's really cool.
Jesper (4m 6s):
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. But we'll at least, I mean, we do, when it comes to tipping, we, we don't have a anybody's salary depending on tips. You know, if people are paid enough that they, they can, they can make their living. So you don't have to worry about tipping anybody because they had research, you have enough, enough money to, to, to support yourself. So,
Autumn (4m 27s):
And do you understand that in your life? You're cool with that, even if it requires to paying more, you know, it's a livelihood, it's just like, Oh, well, that's, that's why we need to hear you understand this, that everyone has a right to live. And yeah.
Jesper (4m 41s):
Yeah. That was definitely that. I mean, here, I mean, everything is very expensive, you know, normally are in foreign, just foreign news comes to Denmark. They're like, wow, this is an expensive place. And, and yes it is actually. But on the other hand, you know, there's a lot of social security. There was a lot of things that you don't have to pay for it, as I said this and so on and so on. So in that area, but we also pay a lot of money in Texas. Yes.
Autumn (5m 8s):
We did hear that. It was like a 50%.
Jesper (5m 11s):
Yeah. Yeah. So it depends a bit on how much you earn of course, but a but somewhere in there between 45 and 65 is quite normal. So, but, but, and again, our salaries is also high, so you have to pay more in Texas. Yes. But you also earn more. So I think compared to the U S I think we are quite better off still as an individual citizens. I mean, yeah.
Autumn (5m 42s):
I think as a, as a society, I think your gap, and I think you do have a lot of, one of the lowest gaps between rich and poor in a developed nation. So I think that's really says something, right?
Jesper (5m 55s):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But speaking of visiting family, I'm actually also planning to go visit my brother and his wife and his wife is coming weekend, which is also something that hasn't happened for months. So that's also pretty good. And I also finished writing the first draft of album. Yeah.
Autumn (6m 17s):
And it's been quite the a week. This was so exciting and I haven't finished reading it yet. Of course, obviously I haven't finished editing yet, but Oh my gosh. My first book is I, I have two books, we have the, the novella and now we have the book book, so, and so it was good. Yeah.
Jesper (6m 32s):
Right. And do you have wills the first full novel, or at least the first draft that's done? So that's nice, but, but one thing I did figure out, and of course you and I have been talking about this a Autumn, but I thought maybe some of the audience would be interesting as well in this, because one thing I did start thinking about what's that I needed. I I'll try to see if I can improve my writing speed right now, because I just, I would really like to increase my word count per hour. So I've started a bit of an experiment. We'll see how it goes to once I get into writing a book too, but I'm thinking that if I get it to work and I increased my word count per hour, then we could probably make it into like a future podcast episode at some point in time.
Jesper (7m 20s):
And she, you know, what I've done and, and how it's working in and, and, and whatnot, because I'm thinking a lot of our listeners would probably be interested in that as well.
Autumn (7m 29s):
Oh, I think they'd be interested even while you're doing it. Even if it does it end up working, but you won't get there. Oh, I I'm sure you've already seen a small increase. So it'll be interesting to see how it goes. Yeah.
Narrator (7m 42s):
A week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast.
Jesper (7m 48s):
So we have a world-building post starting two twin, quite significantly in the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group. And the people were asking questions and getting feedback and wish you the details about a fantasy worlds. And so I just thought I would mention that because yeah, I love Well, but like,
Autumn (8m 7s):
Yeah. So that's the one You ConEd in Dunn, but it looks like a lot of writers were really just felt like sharing the world's. We're asking all these posts or I liked it. It was kind of like, and if I haven't developed it yet, you all have to stimulate my, you know, creativity to come up with an answer. I'm like, Oh, well, that's, that's fun. So you get to come up with these questions on there. We don't know the answer. You are going to start developing your world even more from it. So it they've been good pose. They were so big that we actually had to create a master post. It just kinda of like not flat. Everything has to, one has an actual writing question that wasn't getting answered. So,
Jesper (8m 41s):
Oh yeah. Thanks. Thanks to Lou for organizing that a bit. Yeah.
Autumn (8m 46s):
Yes. He stayed on top of it. It was very good.
Jesper (8m 50s):
Yeah. Yeah. But I love how a few people could help each other out. And as long as tomes keep civil and friendly than I think online communities like, like this is really good to have. Yeah. So if, of course, if you haven't checked it out already, you are free to join. You can just search for Am Writing Fantasy in the group section of Facebook and you will find us. But yeah, I think that was all I wanted to mention about what it was going on on the incident this week.
Autumn (9m 21s):
Yeah. Well, I did notice that if we haven't passed it by the time this is Erin, it's definitely past it, but I think we hit 4,000 members of the Facebook group. So, well, you know, it's not too shabby is getting a little, its getting so popular. What are you are popular? Popular? Well, probably not the only ones who can speak know. So we only ran a podcast. This is nothing, but it is getting so popular. You and I we're like, you know, letting in 60, 70 people at a time, we were like, wow, this is, this is wonderful, but all the way it, so it's changed a little bit. Now people, hopefully it gets streamlined in a little bit better, but come to Georgia is good. It's been really fun.
Jesper (10m 3s):
No, no, that's a good point. And that is probably just worth mentioning as well. Just so people are aware of, because you might notice that the, in the Facebook group that a, we always tried to put in like welcome. And then we mentioned every single member who came in to the Facebook group, my name and we really liked doing that. And that was sort of purposely thing. Then we decided to do it because we felt it was a very nice way to be inclusive and welcome people in personally. But yeah, as a lot of them just said passing 4,000 members now and we get a lot of people joining, its like some days there was like 40, 50 people a day and it's just like, it's too much.
Jesper (10m 46s):
So we have, as it turned on automatically at Autumn auto approval, I guess it's what is called an Facebook language. So people will automatically get in. So you will actually stop seeing those are very nice, a personalized welcome messages because I'm sorry, but its just too much now and it's sucking up. It's in writing out all those. I mean it takes me like 15 or 20 minutes just to write out that one message. And then if I have to do that or Luke or Jason or Autumn has to do that, like everyday, almost it it's a bit too much. So hopefully you will understand why we stopped doing that now.
Autumn (11m 23s):
Yes we are still welcome you and we're so happy you're there, but it does the personalized welcome messages. When you start hitting 62, 74 people at a shot and it's taking a half an hour to write out or you just you're welcome message. Just want to say hi and introduce yourself, let us know what you're there and do it. We'll be happy for that two days.
Jesper (11m 48s):
So as we are getting into this one, I actually don't know if, if some of what I'm going to say will be unexpected to some, I don't know, but I think it's worth to talk about social media because if we are not very careful or perhaps even despite the fact that we are being careful, social media tends to take up quite a portion of your time and it can also influence your life for good or bad. But what do you say? That's true.
Autumn (12m 21s):
Oh, I see. I definitely say that's true. I mean, I know my husband has actually completely gotten off of social media because he realized what a bad influence it had been in his life. And so that we have me on the other side as an author where I tell him I don't have a pro at a private profile really anymore in my profile, my, it is my public profile. And you know, as an author I was working with Am Writing Fantasy. So if I'm online, if you Google me, if you Google my husband, he doesn't exist. So if you Google me, you'd get like 10 pages. So it's a good, hard to have that under a very small roof. Yeah.
Jesper (12m 55s):
That's so true. Yeah. And also I'm not going to, well, let me, pre-phase everything that I'm going to say from this point out a I'm not coming at this topic as if I have the right answers. So just know that going in here. I just think that it's an interesting conversation and of course I have some viewpoints, but I think our listeners should make up their own mind about social media and a, you know, with anything we say, hear, if you agree with it fine, if you don't, it's also okay. It, it is just some few points that we have. And I don't think that this episode is designed to come out with like a recommendation as such.
Jesper (13m 36s):
It's just more of just our reflections and then you can do with it. What do you want? I guess that's the best way to say it. Yeah.
Autumn (13m 43s):
I think I'll have my phone and call it a recommendation. They might not have my writer, coach hat on that says if this is what I would tell you as a friend, the author to another author of what are you, you should focus your time. But yeah, if you happen to love social media and you were a total extrovert and you are doing well, or if you are shy, I want to stay away. If you want to be like my husband and don't exist, you're a ghost on the internet. Its all good. It's fine. If you be who you are and what you feel comfortable with it, you shouldn't put yourself out there if you're uncomfortable and you should not put yourself out there unless you're not reading it at all. That's probably a problem. But if you just love being out there, then that's fine too.
Autumn (14m 24s):
Make time for him to schedule it and make sure you also get your writing done too. If you wanted to be an author. Yeah.
Jesper (14m 30s):
And I know you have been playing around a bit with the Instagram and Pinterest on something or something like that, but I want to circle back to that, but I was just thinking maybe a good place to start would be to mention it because we just talked about the Am, Writing Fantasy, your Facebook group, for example, and just unpacking like say the group thing in general. I think that might be a good place to start since we just touched upon it and we can of course use Am Writing Fantasy as an example here, but I'm more looking at it at S group's in general. And I think it's a great group. The thing is just that it's not helping selling anything, you know, of course In with Am Writing Fantasy.
Jesper (15m 15s):
Well that, that is of course non-fiction so, but even though, I mean we have nonfiction books out guide books for us. We have that, but a group like this is not helping to sell anything. It, it doesn't bring any revenue or anything our way we are trying to build a good reader group for our readers at the moment. And maybe at some point that'll start paying off. I don't know. Yeah. But what, what's your thoughts about running groups on social media platforms?
Autumn (15m 45s):
Well, I, my biggest one because there are some really interesting Facebook groups and it is as an author of the best it's we naturally want to hang out with other authors and network, which is awesome. That's why we have Am Writing Fantasy. We can go out and network with other authors, but really if we're trying to get the word out about our books, you want to be in reader groups. And there's a few really cool ones like Epic Fantasy fanatics is the one that if I go into I'm like sucked in because it will be laughing my head off hysterically. And then I have to show it to my husband because of course he's not on social media now, but it's fantastic to be able to go hang out with readers. But one of the biggest things you'll see on almost every single reader group is you can't spam.
Autumn (16m 26s):
You're not supposed to be a lot of them have either no self promotion rules or only a single thread where you're allowed to mention you're an author. They do not want to see you posting about your book at every single breath. And I think that's really important to know that they are literally there to enjoy it. They expect authors to enjoy it as a reader, not to be enjoying it as a way of life sniping off reader is so that you can kinda bring them into your, your full do you desperate to be pissing them off in there. That's great. If you meet some people and you know, they asked for a recommendation and you give to them and they happen to pick up your book, that's enough, your primary purpose. Are you going to get kicked out in? Some of them were really kinda fun.
Autumn (17m 6s):
You don't wanna get kicked out and miss all the members and things.
Jesper (17m 12s):
That's true, but I'm also thinking in terms of running your own group. And I think the, and here of course I, again, I could be wrong and this is just my, my opinion here. But I think those who have got started really early and they have massive groups and it's working for them, but I think it's working because they got started really early. And that early mover advantage, there are just paste a lot of dividends. Yeah. And M and those people who were in that group as like thousands of people, and then I will use to Def it it's part of their habit. It's part of that group is part of what I do.
Jesper (17m 54s):
That's part of what, the ones that I check. But if you come in now with nothing and you're starting to try to build it, I'm really not convinced that it's worth the time and effort. We, we did try a short for a short while too, have a REIT, a group on Facebook. We actually shot it down and moved them to good reach because at least they are readers are hanging out. But also that we are trying to build it in its not easy.
Autumn (18m 19s):
It is not easy. So I don't know. Yeah. I mean, and I do know a few authors who have it, like you said, they were kind of active readers groups. Even if there are small, a few hundred people to do it, maybe a couple of thousand, I mean that's kind of exciting and they work really hard if you author's. I know there are posting, it's not even about their own books and that's usually the biggest thing. It's usually they're out there posting, like there are showing a Fantasy image and saying, Hey caption This, what do you think of this there saying good morning there saying good night. It was like, I don't know if you have to admit, so what I'm talking and I am definitely an introvert. And a lot of authors are introverts when it comes to social media. I've often said if I wasn't an author, I wouldn't have a social media profile.
Autumn (18m 60s):
I'm more like my husband. And it's probably why we we've been together 20 years' go figure. We are very common, but it's, I'd like I do like, this is where I like talking. Especially during a pandemic, it was a wonderful having these networks with readers and people that it's just like, Oh, we were already online. We are already have these conversations. So it was fantastic. But to have that reader group is a lot of work. And the times that I really put into a focusing, I am going to get this going and going to market. I'm going to do this post, this post, this post. And it's a heck of a lot of time. And if you're a busy, if you have a full time job, if you have kids, it really eats into your writing time. And so the other problem I see when you're putting your group on another platform, just like we're doing with good reads.
Autumn (19m 48s):
But if you're doing it on Facebook, Facebook has the problem were, you know, they might not see your post at all. If you're not paying to promote posts to the people who want to see your post, which is really silly for that is literally how Facebook works. People follow your page and then you pay to boost your post so that they actually see what you're sending out. They might not be seeing the stuff you are posting in your groups anymore. It's Facebook started with groups, they went to two pages and then the groups no longer saw what you posted on your page. And now they switched back to the groups. And so if you're posting on your page, most likely, most people are not seeing anything. You are posting groups who are active right now, but there's a lot of rumors that in 2021 group's are going to be marginalized again.
Autumn (20m 32s):
And so you are going to lose connection with your readers. It's just frustrating. There are some places where if you really love social media, good reads. If they're following your groups, they will see and they're getting there. They didn't get daily or weekly announcements of a, a synopsis as I have everything that everyone's posted. So if there are really interested in, they can actually get access that they will get access to everything you've posted on. Good reads. Amazon hasn't changed that yet. Thank you, Amazon, please. Don't you have not yet. The mighty networks, there's a few places that have started groups on mighty networks. You and I have talked about switching to mighty networks there. If you post something, literally everyone sees it.
Autumn (21m 14s):
Everyone gets an email or if they have the notifications turned on, it had like places where if you are going to put in the time and money and effort, you know, they're actually going to see it without you, then having to pay for them to have to go see it. And that is my biggest problem with social media, where at least the platform's where it's a time, its not a general timeline at a specific where you have post something and then the next post below it has something posted after it. When they start mixing it up on favorite post liked, Post's just, they start playing with those algorithms and people. Aren't seeing stuff. Why are you putting in all of this time? Cause you know, if we circle back to it and we talk about how much time I've tried to put into it makes it making some of this work and following all the best tops, topics and tips.
Autumn (22m 2s):
Holy crap. You know, it's like the weak, you don't work it all. You get any writing done in it. Oh, when you're just doing the marketing, I either not very fast or I'm not good at it or it does just take a boatload of time, right?
Jesper (22m 16s):
Yeah. That will show you on Instagram and Pinterest experiment and you ran a bit. They have to see if we could get more Gatesman in there. But again, if it's a time sink and I feel like the evolution of all of these platforms, so it doesn't matter if it is it's Facebook, it's Amazon. It is the same thing as the evolution seems to be that it is more or less, just everything is turning page a plea. So if you don't pay for it, I forget about it. I, I hope good reach is not going to go that way at some point as well, but who knows if it is owned by Amazon so we could easily do. And once they have X, M w you stop all the advertising spots that they can get on to the Amazon store pages, then where to go.
Jesper (23m 2s):
And they will might turn to the eye on Goodreads and say, why don't we start putting some ads over there? I mean, there's readers over there. Why or why can't we just start advertising over there as well? And then you have, well, yeah, I can easily see that happen. But I think just building an audience on these different platforms, it might just be it's, it's probably not the best use of your time. And I would probably even say that it's, it's more important how much time it takes it away from your writing time because writing new words is always, always, always more important than it is to interact with your audience on social media.
Jesper (23m 43s):
I don't know. Do you think that is controversial to
Autumn (23m 46s):
Oh no. I don't think it is. I think it's important to interact with readers, but I think there's multiple ways of doing that from your own e-mails to good reads to a social media, to going out to a book fair. I mean, you should definitely be like, look at your month and find ways of interacting with readers, but you should be writing first. I would say if you had a choice of what to do first and a night, right first, and then have some wine downtime to talk to readers, they are, however, it is a social media, compose emails, do a newsletter or do something and do it in that order. Don't put talking to them first because then you're already online and its like, you just want to check out this one more thing.
Autumn (24m 31s):
You can go down the rabbit hole, you end up talking to someone else in the next thing you know, you didn't read anything that night and that's not helping your journey as an author.
Jesper (24m 40s):
No indeed. But I think that for me though, it was a clear distinction between social media and email. This email list for me is completely different because on the e-mail list, you own the data. You own that list of people. Nobody can change the rules on you. You can download them anytime you want. You can take them to some other supply. If your current suppliers I'm making a fool of themselves or whatever. So you have plenty of options to do something and you can control the message. And yes, of course is true that there will be some, for whatever reason, when you send out an email, some of the emails disappeared and cyberspace and they never arrived in some of the inboxes.
Jesper (25m 21s):
That's the name of the game, but it's not like 1% of the people we'll see you a message unless you pay that. That's not how it worked. So email is different. So, but if I look at it from a social media perspective, but I also feel like maybe it was probably a different maybe five to 10 years ago, but I feel more and more like social media is just white noise. I know it's, there's just a lot of stuff there. It's a time sink. And is it, it is being constructed in a way whereby you are in endorphins are kicking, you know, you're getting rewarded for a posting, something about that, like the best side of yourself that you can think of.
Jesper (26m 6s):
And then somebody will like, you have a wonderful picture of your cat or whatever and, and then you, you, you feel rewarded and then, Oh, that was nice. Great. And then you we'll do some more of that. And I mean, I get it if I understand it, but my point is just that I don't think it helps at all. If we are looking at it from building an author, a brand is so much, I really don't. Yes. Maybe a bit. But if you are putting in a, a a hundred hours, you know, you're not going to get that value out of it as you would have done putting in a a hundred hours writing instead. But it, I don't know, I'm struggling with it because I think like you, if I did not have an author, a business to run, I wouldn't be on Facebook either.
Jesper (26m 51s):
I would not have a profile on Facebook. I actually don't like it in that sense. And I don't like the way Facebook handles privacy and stuff like that. I have a lot of concerns with Facebook in general, but the thing is too, the Facebook ads, they work incredibly well. So it's like, I know it's a completely double standards here, Right? Because on one hand I don't like it. But on the other hand I found it very useful. And so
Autumn (27m 17s):
It is tough and that is, and those are the ethical questions, you know, that you, especially for you and I, and we wrestle with it, okay, this is this incredibly invasive a platform that is mining your information. Cause as they say, if you are not paying anything to be on the platform like Facebook, then you are the product. So they are using it for data. And I'm not being a conspiracy theory theory as a steer, you can go online and look at all the data they're collecting. I love, I have a picture of data, pixel D to a scraper that tells me how many pixels or on websites I visit. And it was like, Holy crap, they are following you everywhere. So thank goodness. So the new Apple, and there's a few places where you can block all that, but then we are paying them for it does that's the worst part.
Autumn (28m 1s):
And then we go and we, we do use that to then try to sell a book or something, but it works so well because they've mined all of the data. It is.
Jesper (28m 11s):
Yeah. And so it's like, it's, it's like giving money to the devil and then complained about it. The devil exists. I mean it, yes we do. You know, it is tough.
Autumn (28m 21s):
It is tough. And I would also say that there is, I agree with you about newsletters versus normal social media that we thought of it. But there's this new hybrid Now like mighty networks or some of these faces that have gone. And if you become a very popular author where people are coming to you, you can put a Mach social media website or on your website, its like forums. But now they look, they can look exactly like Instagram or it looked exactly like face, but maybe not exactly because, but they're following that kind of platform. So you can create your own social media site. So if you want, if readers love coming and working and interacting with you, but you were sick of Facebook, moved them into your own website, but you'd have to be a big enough that they are coming to you.
Autumn (29m 4s):
But yeah, that's what
Jesper (29m 5s):
I meant. Oh, it's not going to work. Right. But
Autumn (29m 7s):
This is not, unless you have to be the way, you know, way bigger already. But there are sites where you control mighty networks being one of them were you can control the access to list all of those things that currently Facebook does it allow you to do it.
Jesper (29m 23s):
But the problem is again, I mean the tools, there's plenty of tools. There's plenty of ways and, and good ways to organize things, yourself, own the data, making sure that they can take your audience away from you. If you put it in at a time to build it in. And, and that's good. That is good. But the end, if there's just a big pot, because the thing is that you have to drive all that traffic and that is just a million times harder and this white noise world than then you might think getting people on. I mean, yeah. As you mentioned earlier, we have been talking about moving maybe something to mighty networks at some point, especially if, if Facebook goes through with what we've sort of heard on the grape wine that they might need some Facebook groups this year and make them well pretty pointless.
Jesper (30m 17s):
I think if they go ahead with their plans for lets see how it ends up. But if they do, we have been talking about moving to mighty networks, but again, they are, my main concern is really that then we have to drive all the traffic. Whereas today that Facebook algorithm drive the traffic that it shows the FA Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group to Facebook users that it knows we'll be interested in it. And then they come on board and they enter a group and we can have conversations with those people are and so on and so on. And that's wonderful. But if I have to go out by myself and say, Hey, you know, if you are interested, if you are a Fantasy author and you are interested in knowing more about a It and interact with your fellow Fantasy authors, come on over to mighty networks. The only thing you need to do now is to download an app.
Jesper (30m 59s):
You don't have already created an account you don't have already. And then, I mean, nobody wants to do that. So it's so hot,
Autumn (31m 8s):
Especially to me, it's like in what you were saying earlier is so true. It's like those endorphins, most people who are on social media because it is feel good and they wanna do that post that goes viral. They wouldn't have that comment that people go in like, and it's nice to network and talk to other people. It's a wonderful, like in the Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group where, you know, authors are actually getting help in their field who are overcoming her reason. And that is fantastic. But I think that is the rarity. And so many people who come to our groups like nothing else is quite like this group. They're not finding that in many other places because we are so strict on self-promotion and because we just have an awesome group and an awesome group of writers at authors.
Autumn (31m 48s):
But usually like I do love Instagram, but the interaction there I've seen that go downhill. Like I started on Twitter, I love Twitter. And it was a writer as our So Starkey and it was so much fun being on Twitter, but something There changed and I moved eventually I'd tried, Facebook did like it. I got on to Instagram and I really enjoy it because I'm a very, you know, I'm a graphic artist who I love the pictures and that was fantastic. But I've seen that even kind of going downhill where now that's not just the post order or that you're just getting shown things that they think you'll like and interact with. But it's like everyone is shouting and waving there. You know, the pretty pictures, but no ones, not many people are across talking unless you happen to know each other and we've known each other for years.
Autumn (32m 33s):
Then we are still communicating, reaching the new people. It's mostly people following to get more followers liking to try to, hopefully you will come in like their stuff. It feels very one sided it. And it wasn't like that before. And I do think it's just feeding that, you know, everyone wants to be an Instagram influencer. They want to have that viral post and it becomes so impressive and huge. It's not about connecting with readers. And I, I do miss that warmth, that actual like, Hey, there's a few people I know on here that they are half the reason I go back because it's one way I get to talk to them.
Jesper (33m 10s):
And especially with talking about Twitter, because that's also a one way or I have changed my way of operating with it quite a lot. I used to use Twitter very actively. I used to spend an hour, hour and a half every week scheduling the next week's manual tweets where I gave people like updates on what's happening in my life, how five I come with, my writing, all those different thing, anything that I just thought that people might be interested in. So, and I spent an hour and now, and a half every week scheduling the next week's posts and I have almost 50,000 followers on Twitter.
Jesper (33m 56s):
And that, that might look nice and, and sound nice. But honestly it doesn't make that part's have a difference because also that has turned white nose and I would always respond. Or if somebody tweets directly at me, I always respond to them. So I still do that, but I have completely stopped doing anything manual. I don't share any, I mean, I load up for example, when we are now released this podcast episode 124, once that's done, I will upload it into my auto poster. So it will go into my like automated cycle of tweets that it will start sending it out once in awhile.
Jesper (34m 37s):
So that's all I do. So everything that goes on out on my Twitter feed is either or to push from my cycle of content, which of course, I think people will find that interest in that there was a lot of content as a, this is a a hundred episode, 124. So we have done a lot of episodes in a, and we have two and a half years of a YouTube videos before that as well. So there is tons and tons and tons of content. And I I'm still of course hoping that if people come across my profile There, they will find some stuff and think, Oh, this is pretty cool. Or at least some of it that they will find some, something that interests him and they can go and check it out. Of course. And it doesn't cost anything to listen to a podcast episode or what's a YouTube video that is something they can easily do, but the whole manual engagement and a time investment, I put it in into it before I just stopped doing.
Jesper (35m 28s):
And honestly, I've not seen any difference whatsoever when it comes to marketing or sales effectiveness at all or nothing. It changes absolutely zero,
Autumn (35m 39s):
Which is so it is sad because I do remember Twitter before the bots. And that's when I, that's where I had gained over 20,000 followers. And I still actually have most of them if they've dropped off a little bit, but I mean, Hey, you rarely go in there. And that's the worst thing it's like, I should say, if I'm not actually going to go to respond to people, I should just shut down the account. But it's hard to say, Oh, it's one of 2000 people, but by don't want them. And that's how we met at you. And I started to talking Actually on Twitter. So, you know, but it is, it's changed so much. There was a lot of white noise. And now that there are bots, there's a lot of people who are just not physically present and Instagram is still interesting.
Autumn (36m 20s):
They're just starting to do the sideloading where you're getting to be able to schedule posts and get them up because I mean, it is, Instagram is still very much. You have to be manually doing it, but there are a couple of platforms that are actually now allowing them to do Instagram post. As far as even today, I got an announcement that the social media schedule or use is not allowed to do the first post, a post and a comment. The first comment on Instagram, because the comment is usually where you put all your hashtags. So this is huge for if your marketing, you can go ahead and preload all this stuff, but that means you're not actually home Instagram talking to anyone else is just a whole bunch of robots on their talking to each other.
Autumn (37m 4s):
That's so we all have like an AI lives that we never go on in and check out. This is not again, not selling any books at that was sort of the point of this conversation. It's just robots talking, you know?
Jesper (37m 16s):
Yeah. It, it just puts Instagram in at the same bucket as everything else afterwards, right now, everything is just the same as just, it's just AI as a posting stuff on behalf of whatever you loaded into it. And then everybody does that. I mean, I not to say that no books are ever sold from, from tweets or posts on Instagram and so on. I'm I'm sure that there are books are sold from it once in awhile. But my point is more, if you like being on the platform, if you enjoy it already then fine, then, then you know, we use it and, and, and post manually due to the things you like to do.
Jesper (37m 57s):
But I think we need to stop seeing social media as if it's some sort of obligation that if you want to build a proper platform, if you want to sell books, you have to be on social media. I don't think that's the case anymore. I really don't. And I would almost challenge people to say, if you don't already enjoy it, a try, just stop checking the platforms. Maybe you run an experiment for a week and do like this, right. Create two time slots a week and say, during these two times, half an hour, I'm allowed to go into this platform. And I'm just going to check the messages in reply things and what not. But the rest of the time throughout the next week, I'm not going to login.
Jesper (38m 40s):
I'm not going to even look at it. I just completely ignored. And then tell me what the difference is because I bet you, there is nothing, absolutely zero difference. No, other than you have made more time for yourself and you have more time to write and you don't get sucked into these rabbit holes. Yeah. So try that or even better. That just occurred to me, try to delete the app from your phone and see what happens. Then it looks
Autumn (39m 5s):
Instagram because that's the only way it exists. But yes, but you know, I, I agree with what we were saying even about endorphins. I mean, I think it really does get inside your head and you want to make that viral post. Do you want to start seeing the really serious marketers? And when you really get serious about marketing on it, you know, they're talking about your tracking, what posts you do that day? What types of posts, how many lights did it get it? I mean, you want an hour just tracking all your insight, you know, your Instagram posts for the month and seeing which ones or getting the most interactions. What days, what type of post or is it? It is insane. And that becomes its own obsession. And again, yeah, a Lake is not a reader.
Autumn (39m 46s):
It, it might not mean anything and it might be just someone going down pretty picture, pretty picture. You paint a picture of a funny, funny, or that, you know, to come back like me, you know, trying to get a Lake for a Lake, it might not be that important. And if you take a social media break for a week or so, the first few days are always tough, but when you can clear your head and then you hear your story and your, hear your characters again, and you're like, this is what's important. Go see your family. Like we've done. It's what's important. But yeah, I mean, you mentioned that Instagram chorus, I try to enact a very serious Instagram course ahead of all of these tips. And it was so hard. It ate up so much time and I'd be a part of it is having like a theme and a brand, especially with the Instagram.
Autumn (40m 30s):
So I had made my own personal filter cause you know, I'm a graphic artist. I do all these crazy things. It became no fun for me to be on Instagram because instead of taking a picture of a pretty picture with the sky or a lead or, you know, flowers, I live in insight. So I'm doing all of these really things instead of I had to go and take that picture and run it through this filter, then go back and repost it and then make sure I had the hashtags in a certain area and do this. I was all serious. It took all the fun out of it. And I actually lost followers. I dropped by like 20. And I was just like, what the heck? And so I found that just so you know, funny, I've put it in like five times as much effort and time and planning and it totally burned.
Autumn (41m 19s):
And it was really funny. Cause all my, I do have a second Instagram profile cause so, you know, I like Instagram and I'm a graphic artist. So then the other profile I've got my graphic artist and there I have always been kind of a very personal, so purposeful. Like I share a very white quote and then I do it very graphic picture, color or heavy like cut, cut, book cover. I did. And then I do a, a white picture. So it shows up as This, you know, you look through it, it's got a pattern to it and that's just the way I do it. That one is totally different. You know, people love it because what I'm sharing is graphic Media. If I don't share on that one, I see the results in my website. So oddly enough for it as an artist and it works fantastic by doing these very serious posts that have always been very serious minded.
Autumn (42m 1s):
The other one, it was other authors quotes by doing like quotes from Stephen King. Oh, those would be like viral. Everyone loved them, sharing them copied on bookmarked my own stuff as well. Oddly enough, with my graphic one and some of the quotes, I had asked questions like a, you know, as an author, how are you finding book marketing? And so many authors came back to me saying, yeah, every time I posted about my book, I lose readers. You know, people complained and they brought their stock following me. And he was like, I'm on here because I'm an author. And every time I post, I lose followers, no seriously. Why bother him as an author?
Jesper (42m 40s):
So the point and but, but again, that's where, that's where the email list is good because there isn't an entrance criteria. And if somebody has to type in their e-mail address, they have to confirm the fact that yes, I want to receive email. So already there are those who don't want anything at all. They are not never going to go through. This is actually quite funny. Just a side note here, because I was preparing a Facebook app earlier today than it is going to go live tomorrow. Well, we are recording ahead of time. So by the time you hear it, this is already in the past, but never say that that was not the point. The point was more to say, I actually on purpose wrote into the add text itself is that yes, this will require you to leave an e-mail address.
Jesper (43m 26s):
And if you don't like it, cool, no problem. They actually put it in on purpose because I have seen it 2 million times. Now that every time you see all of the complaints started in the comment section. So this is again, one, you have to put it in your e-mail, but if you wouldn't have to put it in your e-mail address, if you wouldn't come on to our email list, what would be the point of us even running the ad is completely pointless, right? Because a part of the process is also to solve people off right. Or sort them out. So basically the ones who doesn't want to do any, who doesn't want to engage at all with us, who doesn't want to hear from us again. Well, great that you didn't sign up because then we don't want you there.
Jesper (44m 7s):
Okay. So it, it is. But
Autumn (44m 10s):
I think, yeah,
Jesper (44m 13s):
I've just gotten a bit fed up with social media by now. I must admit, I also don't like how it feels sometimes like posts are being made and written in controversial or provocative ways on purpose just to get engagement. Not necessarily even because the post of beliefs or things, what he, or she posted, but more just because they know that this is going to piss some people off, sorry for the language. And then I'll get a lot of comments and so on and so on. And I don't know. I, I, my, I just feel like my life is too valuable for stuff like that. And I don't wanna spend time on it.
Jesper (44m 53s):
Don't get me wrong. I love personal interaction. Like you said earlier as well, Autumn, I like it. When you have like the one-to-one conversation with somebody who has something great to say, or it doesn't have to be about any thing that I wrote at it, but it just like this sort of personalized ping pong. I like that. Stuff like that. That is cool. But going on social media to try to find that situation or that ping pong, it's just there's to many other things that just drains my energy, to be honest. So I dunno, I'm no longer a fan of social media, I guess. That's my conclusion. Two, all of this conversation.
Autumn (45m 31s):
I know you've heard, especially on Instagram, even on Twitter, on Twitter, I think it was, they sent the first a thousand people. You felt you met, it would be the ones that you would remember the most in. I think on Instagram is like the first hundred or 200 people that you interact with and meet in there. First followers. Those are the ones that you kind of like, I keep going back and connecting with. But after that it just becomes competition. That's true. Yeah. I think, you know, there's a couple people that I've met that way. You being one of them. And I don't think you were my first a thousand though. I had at least every once in a way that you do, we meet up with other people and it's a great way, but I definitely have to play devil's advocate, even though I know we're getting like towards the end. So if you have this freebie, we want to give a way so that people get on your newsletter litter list.
Autumn (46m 16s):
Where do you share it other than social media? How did you get people to hear about the free book you are offering?
Jesper (46m 23s):
No. No, but that's exactly the thing. I mean, we are in a pay to play market. Now, the only effect, if we are talking about freebies, like a PDF, a free book, of course You, if it's uploaded through Amazon, you can advertise it on Amazon using the Amazon app. So if you want, but let's assume it's not, let's just assume that something you are giving away because you want people on your email list and the only really effective way. And this is again, it's double standards. I know, but they only really affect the way it is. Facebook. ASCE is the only thing that really, really works well when you, you can post on social media and all of that, but you can't like you are going to get like less than half a percent of people actually taking any action or a signing up compared to how many impressions you've got.
Jesper (47m 11s):
So it's a whole ton of effort, almost no gain. Where is the paid Facebook ads? So you can get them to perform quite well. It takes some know-how and it takes some testing and some money and so on, but you could get it to work quite well. And that's the name of the game? Unfortunately,
Autumn (47m 31s):
If we were not using Facebook ads to, for example, for what Am Writing Fantasy and so on, then I have no idea where we would find anybody. It just wouldn't happen. No, we would just, it would be like we didn't exist. I mean, marketing is important. And unfortunately marketing right now is social media and it is a pay to play market. The freebie use, the author is helping authors to boost posts. That was, it was a part of what I used to love about social media. And its just, even when they are helping each other now it's, you're just not making as big of an impact. I swear the algorithm pushes you down if you're not paying. And I've mentioned my, my theory that way to you before that, I just think if they see that you don't pay anything, if you just have a little negative somewhere in your little algorithm, it just kinda keeps you under a certain cap.
Autumn (48m 19s):
And until someone proves me wrong, which I don't think there's any way. Cause none of us know what these algorithms are doing. I just firmly believe that it is true. And so I don't know, I'm a stubborn, so now I refused to pay for anything. But you do all of the work and because I'd be like, no, they can't have that, but you have sort of a, you have sort of outsource it to me nowadays anyway, but, but still, I mean they're is a difference between talking about engaging on social media versus running paid ads on social media. And those two things are actually two different thing. I mean its the same platform, but it was two different activities. Yes. Running the paid ads. I don't like giving Facebook money, but I understand that it's the name of the game and it's something that we have to live with.
Autumn (49m 2s):
So hence I do it, but meaning engaging on Facebook, like posting things on my author page every week and stuff, I don't do any of that. Nothing at all. So that's just way, I mean that there is a difference between the two ways of using the social media platform that create. And that is I think the difference do you can set up the ad and tweak it and get it running. And maybe you just need some monthly tweaking at that point. Even AMS ads, its sort of the same thing. Once you get them running, if they're working or you're usually doing okay, you are getting the word out of your marketing somehow butt going on to Instagram or good reads or Facebook or Twitter and spending 15 minutes or an hour or two hours.
Autumn (49m 45s):
And just talking to people, that's not gonna sell you the books that are running an ad. Well actually do know. So I think that's, as far as we go today and next Monday we are going to discuss deep point of view. What is it? And how can deep point of view help you out?
Narrator (50m 9s):
If you like, what you just heard. There was a few things you can do to support The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 143 – Tips on Book Marketing to Different Generations
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 142 – What to do Every Day to Become a Better Writer
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 141 –Top 10 WORST Powers to Have
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 140 – How to Get a Literary Agent for Your Book (with Jane Friedman)
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 139 – Does Race & Gender REALLY Matter in Fantasy?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 138 – Book Pre sales vs Pre orders
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 137 – How to Maintain Your Story's Flow
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 136 – Top 10 Worst Characters EVER!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 135 – How Beta Readers Improve Your Writing—with Pam Burleson & Paul Kilpatrick
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 134 – A Bit About Our Writing—Listener Q&A!
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 133 – Tips on How to Write Fiction Well
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 132 – Top 10 WORST People to Ever Teach Magic
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 131 – Jeff Wheeler on Amazon as a Publisher and Writing Fantasy
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 130 – What is the Emotional Plot?
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 129 – Our Favorite Book Sales Tracker and Why You Need One
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 128 – Top 10 Reasons Why Your Character Will HATE You
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 127 – What Fantasy Readers are Looking For—with Damon Courtney
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 126 – Magic Systems Explained
The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 125 – What is Deep POV and How Can it Help Your Story?
Write The Book: Conversations on Craft
Myths and Legends
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