Why Only Doing Social Networking Can Be a HUGE Mistake for Authors

One of my clients (thanks, Chip Wagar!) sent me a link a few days ago. He thought this article might be a good tool for me to use to stress the importance of author websites in today’s world of Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.

The article is called “Are You Digital Sharecropping Your Book Business.” I highly recommend it. If you want to read it in full, click here.

Here are some of the highlights….

  • “Digital Sharecropping” is a term that was coined in 2004. It refers to the spreading of information on the web … and not necessarily in a good way.
  • It basically means that Landlords, like Facebook and Twitter, get the majority of the profits from content that is created by the rest of us. Landlords own the site and we, as authors, populate their sites with content.  We sow, they reap.
  • The more we post on Facebook and Twitter, the more money those companies make. But are authors making money off of those sites? How does an author even know if they’re selling copies of their books as a result of all their social networking efforts?
  • Landlords like Facebook and Twitter come and go. MySpace was once the hottest site on the web, and we know what happened to that. If we put all of our eggs in a Facebook or Twitter basket, what’s going to happen when those sites become soooo yesterday.
  • The only way to avoid the sharecropping (and ensure that your content lives forever — even after Facebook and Twitter are long gone) is to be your own Landlord. How do you do that? You focus on your own author site.
  • Social media is still a great marketing tool, but your goal for using them should be to send people to YOUR property: your website. On your own site, you dictate what’s there and how it appears. You also have far more information on who is visiting it, how they got there, and how you can contact them going forward.

Here are the last two paragraphs of the article:

If some self-proclaimed expert suggests you abandon your website or blog and only use social media RUN the other way. He or she isn’t an expert. You’ve put in a lot of time and effort into writing your book, why would you risk only using digital sharecropping with a Landlord that can delete you on a whim or change the landscape that no longer supports you?  If you do some research you’ll find the Landlord Facebook and Landlord Tumblr are notorious for deleting accounts.

Bottom line:  Use social media for what it is intended for; a tool to drive traffic to your site.  But…the most effective is to build your audience on what you create on your own real-estate:  your website and your blog. Social media is only one tool in a very huge tool box. It’s not only one thing you do in marketing, it’s everything that you do that brings intended results so use ALL of your tools.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.