Monday, July 13, 2009

Does Networking on Social Media bring in Book Sales?

Every Sunday I go to each of my website, social sites, and blogs to gather hits counts, to tell me how effective I’m doing in attracting readers to my sites. Yesterday I was going down my list of sites, collecting what looked like a normal week’s numbers, certainly not great numbers but well above the traffic I was attracting four months ago.

Last on my list was the dreaded Amazon ranking number for my book Island Song. This is a number Amazon updates daily to tell people where their books ranks in regards to all the other books Amazon sells. A ranking below 100,000 means your book is selling very well, while a number above, say, 800,00 means a mediocre performance. Island Song had been rising well above 1,000,000 for the past several weeks and had reached a pinnacle of 1,550,000 last week, so I was dreading this number.

But to my surprise, Island Song’s ranking number had dropped to 87,000 in one week, and in addition, it made it on the top selling 100 gay books in both Gay Romance at #33, and Gay Fiction at #88. After several minutes of tap dancing around the house, I sat down to see if I could discover why my book got a sudden sales spurt.

What I found was nothing too much out of the ordinary. As I said earlier, all my site numbers were in line with other recent weeks, no spikes there. There were two things that did occur:

1. On my column where I showcase GLBTQ authors and their work, I had posted a book review of Island Song alongside an interview that Carey Parrish had did with me several months ago.
2. My publisher, Zumaya Publications, posted the first chapter of Island Song so that readers could get a taste of my writing for free.

In addition to those to events, I posted twice daily on Twitter and Facebook, giving people the links to my review, interview, and chapter one.

What we found was that the combination of the three, combined with lots of advertising on social media, made the difference. My column received slightly over 300 hits, and the first chapter site received almost 400. Apparently, those people were serious shoppers and were impressed enough to buy the book.

Does social media advertising work? I’m now a believer that if you put the work into it, and have a plan, then the results will come.


Karen Walker said...

Congratulations, Alan. A question--when you say social media advertising, do you mean you actually pay for ads on those sites?

Alexis Grant said...

Thanks for sharing, Alan! I hope you keep us posted -- If you continue what you did this week for the next few weeks, will the ranking continue to rise?

Patricia Stoltey said...

Congratulations on good results from your efforts, Alan. I've noticed an upward trend in blog visitors from just two social media activities: Twitter and visiting/commenting on other blogs. I can't believe I resisted these great tools for so long.

The Practical Preserver said...

Tap dancing reminded me of Ann Corio. You're probably too young to remember here. Anyway, I digress. Congrats on the stats (hmmm. got some rhyme going there).

The Practical Preserver said...

Oop. That's her, not here.