I do very little (some would say no) social networking. I’m just not the sort that wants to bear my soul to people I don’t know well in a sort of one-way conversation. I do use some less intense social networking and you can find my preferred sites on my Links page. Right now I don’t foresee enough return on the time and energy I’d have to invest in this arm of marketing to motivate me to jump in with both feet.
That said, anecdotal evidence does tell me that if you’re an active social networker, you have a large potential and real target market for your books. But where I believe this works best (and is quite effective) is in the non-fiction realm. If you are a subject matter expert in an area and you’re a member of online forums discussing it, or if you blog about it, you’ve developed some street cred and when people hear you’ve published a book, they just might buy it. Less likely, but still better than zero chance to produce results, is if you are writing genre books. There are quite a few groups set up for science-fiction, fantasy, romance and mystery writers where readers browse looking for new authors and books. But if you write mainstream fiction, I’m not convinced that networking helps much. Which I suppose is why I do it a little, but not wholeheartedly.
However, I am working on a non-fiction book about my travels around Australia which might be a different kettle of fish. When I’m ready to publish this book, I might start a blog about travel – I’ve done a lot of it and there’s probably quite a bit I can share. If someone reads my blog and likes my writing style and is interested in travel, there’s at least the possibility that they’ll buy my book. But I don’t see this translating across to my novel. If someone read a blog about my travels, why would they be interested in some fiction I’ve written about two migrant women?
So I’m not totally dismissing the world of social networking, it’s just not something that sits comfortably with me nor is it something I think offers me a big pay back, so for now, I’m keeping it small.