Yes, I will be that guy.
When I go on Twitter to promote my books, I use the #WritingCommunity hashtag to do so. As of late, I’ve been able to see quite a bit of tweets from fellow writers. That’s definitely a good thing. It’s great to see you all on there.
However, most of the time, at least from what I’ve noticed, it isn’t about your books or your writing.
It is about gaining followers.
Now, I’m not including when you’re talking about what’s going on in your lives. I’m referring to when you’re either using this hashtag or talking about writing or even helping others to gain followers.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing bad about gaining your followers lists. But that should not be all there is to it.
Personally, I would like to hear more about your books. Your screenplays. Your poetry. Whatever other projects you have in the works. But I see more this and that about building followers with little else.
Of course, the classic “I’ll follow you if you follow me!” deal. Then there’s, “Comment here and follow everyone who are writers.” Also, there is, “If you have less than 1000 followers, comment below!”
This is going to sound like nothing but purely “hating.” Not at all. I’m simply trying to encourage you to do a little more than just worry about your followers. I would hate to believe that there is more asking for followers than writing going on.
I know that in this day and age, social media and followers are a necessary evil. But it should never be the only way. And I would hate for fellow writers to get so caught up in practically begging for followers and thinking that should take priority over writing.
I don’t use this hashtag too much, simply because I do more posting to promote my books. I’m not really the biggest fan of self-promotion, but as a self-publisher with five books, this is something I absolutely have to do. The funny thing is, I don’t even think this hashtag works too well for me. I’ve actually used this hashtag before to try and help promote other writers within the writing community, and I often get very little feedback. There was even one time I planned to buy a few books, but in that case as well, little response. I don’t know if it’s because there’s something going on with my own Twitter, or if there is such a habit of worrying about followers that a post in which I am trying promote writers’ works is overlooked. Call me crazy, but I always thought selling your work was the main goal. I don’t know how much one can make simply by gaining followers.
Again…nothing wrong building a network. We do have to do that. But it cannot stop there. That cannot be what we primarily do.
On top of that, after doing just a little research, it doesn’t seem like much takes place even after the following happens. That’s another thing. Even if writers are fortunate enough to be able to build a good bit of followers in a short period of time, it doesn’t seem to go much further than that. As I said above, our goal(s) should involve selling our work. As much as I would love to connect with other writers, I need to sell my books just as many of you need to. And if the door is slammed shut after following, then to be quite frank, all the following in the world doesn’t serve much purpose.
Even looking at some Facebook writing groups, I see a lot of the “Like for Like” posts as well. But when authors post about their books, it gets very little attention. I see words like “support” being thrown around, but that is just one part of it.
I am certainly not advocating going broke buying everyone’s books. That would be silly. But we have to understanding that following isn’t necessarily supporting. All that is good for numbers, but what does that do for book sales if those same people just bypass your promotions?
As great as a virtual “high five” is, it doesn’t pay bills. Respectfully, and as much as I appreciate the follows and the “likes,” most authors don’t write books just to get high fives.
I know I don’t.