Thursday, January 26, 2012
It is now accepted as gospel that no popular author can sell books without having at least a Facebook page, and better, a Twitter account as well. Several months ago,TG set out to find how many popular bestselling authors were actually on Facebook. He was surprised to find that the answer was, pretty much all of them. And not only were they on Facebook, they actually managed their own page and dealt with their “friends” personally. A few had reps who fielded the questions and answers, but most were on-site, hard at work in the evenings and weekends interacting with their fans. Here's a list of some of the authors TG contacted and who got back to him quickly: Jeffery Deaver, Brad Thor, Richard North Patterson, Eric Van Lustbader, Jeff Abbott, Keith Thomson, Alex Kava, Dale Brown, Charles Cummings, Daniel Silva and many others. TG is sure you will recognize these names as some of the biggest in the business, writers who you would think were far too lofty and busy to be putting in the hours on social media chatting with fans. But there they were.
Example: Jeffery Deaver. Deaver turns out at least one book a year and in June his version of the latest James Bond hit the shelves. His Facebook page is an Author page which is run by his website administrator, but he stays in very close contact with anyone who writes to him. TG sent him a message on this page and sure enough, a couple of hours later TG was corresponding by email with him. When asked about social media he responded: “I have this mental image of someone in the Middle Ages sitting in a pub and saying, 'Blimey, you hear about this chap Gutenberg? He's making books that don't have to be written by a monk, by hand.' And I picture his mate saying, “Forgedaboutit. That's high-tech garbage... it'll never catch on.” (one wonders if Deaver has seen the very funny YouTube bit about the two monks discussing just this scenario.) Deaver goes on, “Technology and story telling have always gone hand in hand. Yes, I have a Facebook page, I Twitter and I have a number of videos on YouTube. I write at least a book a year, usually 550 manuscript pages, and that keeps me busy about 8 to 10 hours a day. But I absolutely believe in connecting to readers via the social networking sites; it's the wave of the future.”
One thing no one seemed to really know was if Facebooking, etc. resulted in increased sales. Publishers insist on it, and if an author is big enough to resist on a personal level (i.e. Tom Clancy) they, the publishers, or even the writer's fans, will put up a page on their own. Most authors responded to TG's questions by saying that it gives them increased ability to connect with readers and advertise upcoming books, but beyond that no one had any facts or real figures.
And what does Thriller Guy think? Actually, no one really cares about what TG thinks, but if he was in the position of these writers he would probably be right in there flacking his product. Come to think of it, TG has already done so, berating one and all to buy Allen Appel's Kindle book, Abraham Lincoln: Detective on Appel's Facebook page. (Heads up: Appel's first time travel book, Time After Time will soon be available as a Kindle book at a cut-rate price) So, yeah, Deaver has 69,803 people on his Facebook page, and Appel has 142 friends, so the comparison is not really apt, but the point is, even the lowliest writer probably has to join in and start Friending if he/she is going to get anywhere at all.
So here's the question: if everyone reading here goes to Appel's Facebook page and Friends him and if he sells enough of those Lincoln Kindle books, will he be asked to write the next James Bond book?
Hey, it's the Internet; anything is possible.