Are you "Social" or just "Networking"?

“Now, if I'm Bobby —can't even act like I forgot your name 'cause I didn't know it in the first place—I'm tryin' to nut and get up.” ~ Deuce

The above quote is from a character in a book I wrote called Devil’s Flame, (not out yet, but definitely coming soon).  And while the context this was written in had to do with an argument over edits, I think it’s fitting for my topic today: Social Networking. 

The last thing people want is for someone to tell them what to do, unless you’re a submissive, in which case it’s an entirely opposite bowl of cranberries. But I have to say, if you’re in any way, shape, or form utilizing social networking as a means to push a product or service then for the love of all things yellow remember the SOCIAL part!

What do I mean? Take FaceBook, for instance. You send out your friend requests, get a thousand or so people to “like” you or your page, and then you post once every blue moon about what you’re selling. To which I say an emphatic “Pfffftttt!” It bugs me no end to get unsolicited posts directly on my page or direct messages that read BUY MY WHODAWHATSIT!  Seriously? That’s just networking (and not even good networking), casting a line and hoping to get a few chance nibbles on the bait.

I know what you’re thinking: “But Sable, I’d never do that.” Well then this isn’t directed toward you, but keep reading anyway 'cause Licking My Ink is yummy! 

Like everybody hocking a book nowadays, I have my FB page, my website, my blog, and my twitter feed among other presences on the net.  And, yeah, I post about my book, but I spend more time on FB interacting with my “friends” than ramming home that I’ve got goods for sale. What my marketing people do is out of my control (grin). But as it turns out, when people get to know you and like you, they’re more willing to look at what you’ve done.  I know...who'da thunk it?

Not long ago I spent an hour talking to a new author friend about random things; sharing tips about writing, other hobbies, how gas was cheaper when we were younger… we messaged each other back and forth. Not once did I say, “go buy my book.”  The last message I got from her that night was, “I just downloaded your book. Can’t wait to read it!”  Well color me surprised! 

I know, we all have lives and don’t always have the time to talk to each person one-on-one, and this might have been a one-time occurrence, but I think it solidifies my point that taking the time to cultivate relationships that last long after your first release is as important as selling a ton of copies of your first book on the first day.  Further, those people are then willing to post about your goods on their wall, or retweet your updates, which exposes you to a set of friends you might not have immediate access to.

Which brings me back to my buddy Deuce’s comment.  Take the time to learn about your readers, just as they are taking the time to learn about you.  There are a million and eight writers now, don’t be the one who swings by a page to “nut and get up”, most especially if it’s unsolicited. (In general, unsolicited nutting is frowned upon in polite society).  I plan to do this writing thing for a long time because it’s buckets of fun!  And yes I want to make money at it, but to do that I understand I need a following.  People who are fans not just because someone asked them to LIKE my page, but because they actually read the ink and decided what I make up is whet enough to come back to and keep licking. People who want to be notified when I’ve got a new release out and who ask their friends “have you read any Sable Jordan?”

So, again, whether you’re a twitterhead, facebook fiend, myspace maven, or whatever, remember to take the time to be social. 

That’s my two cents, refunds accepted.

Tell me, what are your thoughts about social networking?