This past Saturday I attended an excellent workshop by Dennis J. Smith on social media. There are new ways to self promote on the Internet every day, it seems. And since I've jumped into the eBook world with my entire cyber body and soul, with quite a bit of success, I've been following other writers' journeys and thinking about the whole "How to sell? What should I be doing to become a best seller? Do I HAVE to do every social network? Do I need to go to every conference? Do I--" You know the drill.Then there's the whole "this person did nothing and sold millions" and "this person did everything and sold tons" and then "I'm driving myself crazy trying to do everything and selling nothing."
The problem is that there is no magic formula for selling. There are far too many variables to say with certainty "if you do so and so you'll sell X amount." Now granted, my mom was right and "If you don't tell people, they won't know." And Dennis is correct that the other writers are doing social media, you bet. So no promotion is a mistake. Social media is a wonderful tool. But there's no way to tell if being on Google+ will sell more books or less than being on Facebook. Or if being on both will sell more of your title.
So how to have a best seller? Here's the secret, here's the magic formula: The writing always comes first. Let me repeat that. The writing is first, always. ALWAYS. The more you write, the better writer you become. The more you write, the more and better product you have to sell. The more you sell, the more you can cross promote. Etc. This doesn't guarantee a best seller. But the wonderful magic is: you'll be writing. You'll be doing what you love first. And wouldn't that be best?
How do you, dear reader, balance the need to promote with the need to write? Are you sometimes completely unbalanced like me? Any suggestions for what might be most effective for promotion? Or do you run screaming at any hint of that word?