Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do I need Social Networking?

by Bonnie Calhoun
The $64,000 question is…do I have to spend time on social media to market my books effectively?
The exact and emphatic answer to that is an unfortunate YES. For those of you who just aren’t technologically savvy, I’d say it’s time to learn. There are a million children out there who would love to show you that they know something that you do not. So grab a neighborhood kid to get you started, if you need to!

Seriously though, no one form of marketing is the end-all be all. There are multiple parts to the whole, and the further we move into cyberspace, the more the parts multiply exponentially. If you are looking for a negative response so that you don't have to do any one part of the marketing book signings, speaking, interviews, teaching at conferences, social media, blogging...etc...then just don't do it. It sort of sucks all the fun out of writing if you don’t enjoy what you are doing.

It's your choice. But in this day and information age NOT doing social media is really not an option. We have to do it to stay connected and relevant. Now the question of HOW MUCH to do it depends on you and the balance you are trying to maintain so that you actually have time to create new books.

EVERY marketing survey or study has proven that your name...or product name needs to be seen or heard numerous times to be an effective marketing tool. There are studies that say 3 times are enough for your product to have been seen to be effective; others say 12 to 15 times is necessary for maximum effectiveness.

The magic number depends on the size of your market share, how much other noise there is from competing products, your brand influence, how much money or time you are willing to spend on marketing, and the time frame you are working in.

So in essence…your success depends on how much you want to put into it, to get the maximum out of it. You choose.

Bonnie S. Calhoun is an author with Abingdon Press, with her debut novel Cooking The Books to be released in April 2012. She is also the owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine. Visit her website at, Facebook at or Twitter at


jenny milchman said...

Very interesting, Bonnie. I have the feeling that marketing books is something of a wilderness in which we are all stumbling around. But one thing that comes through no matter what is the joy of connecting through story. 3 times, 15 times, or a million...Thank you for offering this angle.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Exactly Jenny! The joy is in writing the story...LOL...but you can get an even bigger joy when a lot of people hear about it and get the opportunity to read it.

There are all kinds of hits and misses in marketing, but as my grandma used to say...nothing ventured, nothing gained :-)

Miranda Parker said...

When I chat with my clients about their social network marketing efforts it is very limited. I wish publishing houses would create a white paper or small guide to help their authors get started.

Bonnie, which one social networking service would you recommend authors hold accounts with?

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I'd say TWO...Facebook and Twitter. Those are the largest audiences, so therefore you get the most bang for the buck(LOL...or lack thereof)! And they can be hooked together thru different service structures so that posting on one, sends it to the other!

Jodie Renner Editing said...

Great advice, Bonnie! I'll be sending my writer clients to read this.

Dennis (DW) Bergendorf said...

Marshal McLuhan wrote "the medium is the message," meaning that what's on (TV) isn't as important as the fact that (TV) is on. Still, don't you need content on your social media sites? What do you recommend I post on Facebook, and my personal blog?

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Dennis, I would suggest that you draw an audience to your Facebook and blog based on what you write about...if you are an author, or what you are passionate about if you are just a person that wants to gather their own tribe. For writing is suspense with a good dab of snarky attitude, so on my Facebook, I try to be funny and entertaining.