Social Media or Old-Fashioned Networking: Which is Right for Writers? Twitter Part 1

I decided not to do any promotional work until my book Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories appeared on As I’ve said in previous posts, I chose to independently publish my book after I’d received about two dozen ‘no thank you’ letters from agents and publishers. I thought: “How can I go wrong selling my book on America’s largest online behemoth, a retailer with nearly three times the Internet sales revenue of its nearest competitor?”

Since my book was cataloged among Amazon’s thousands upon thousands of other offerings, it seemed obvious that I needed to focus my marketing energies online. So began my social media (SM) education.

The first step was to build a SM platform. SM coaches tout the importance of starting with a foundation based upon Twitter, Facebook, and a blog. So that is what I did. Twitter was easy. Facebook required more time to set up, because  more information was requested. My blog, even though WordPress makes set up pretty simple, was even more time consuming. I admit I had plenty of frustration. For example, I had to evaluate nearly 100 layouts to choose the best layout for my Living in the Heartland blog. Then I had to figure out how to customize the banner and learn how to install and operate the widgets.

Initially, I hated Twitter. The few people who I started following seemed to have established their own clique. They tweeted predominantly among themselves. Much of what they said wasn’t interesting to me. I began to realize I was stuck in an infinitesimally small Twitter puddle. It was a small droplet in a Twitterscape where oceans of Twitter folk were chattering away. I had no idea how to swim into the deeper water. As I became more confident and competent, I was able to find new people. To my dismay many of the Tweets I received were either “words to live by”, quotes attributable to famous or anonymous people, or outright marketing.

Numerous people told me to persevere. They also told me that the number one rule on the Internet is to be genuine and build trust before trying to market anything on the Internet. My cynicism grew as I wondered about the disconnect between what I was being told were “and what people were doing. The response to my questioning the rules was always the same: give it time. In time I would see the benefits.

Being trained as a scientist I wanted evidence on which to base my hopes that Twitter was going to help me make people aware of my book. What I heard on Webinars and through Twitter were merely testimonials. Needless to say this was not a good introduction to the Internet for me. I was overwhelmed by all the SM tasks I needed to do, and wanted concrete evidence that all my hours of work building a Twitter following was going to pay off . In otherwords, show me some book sales.

The sales figures I saw that first month were UNBELIEVABLE. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There HAD to be a mistake! I could have sold more books door to door on my block!

Doubt began to flood in: Had I made the wrong decision? Should I have waited longer for a publisher; after all, I had received some handwritten letters. Maybe I shouldn’t have chosen to publish independently. Should I have sent out more manuscripts?

As you can see I’m still working with SM. I am more positive than I’ve ever been. Come back soon for the next installment. As I discuss my experience you will understand how I arrived at my answer to the question: Social Media or Old-Fashioned Networking: Which is Right for Writers?

Find out about my new book which is the reason I write this blog at

Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories.

My other blog is Living in the Heartland.

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Filed under agents, book, distribution, dreams, editors, frustration, guarantee, hopeful, indie writer, media, Pamela Ferris-Olson, perseverance, publishing, self-publishing, social media, success, technology

7 responses to “Social Media or Old-Fashioned Networking: Which is Right for Writers? Twitter Part 1

  1. Glad you are seeing positive results. I do agree, it takes time to find your place in the world of Twitter. Things in life don’t usually just happen, I truly believe it is up to me if I want something to happen! I know we all want “it” to magically happen, but life just doesn’t work that way! Congrats on these awesome sales figures. Keep doing what you are doing and keep those positive thoughts going!

    • Pam

      I appreciate your kind words and support. To use the words of my favorite nephew, “It’s a process.” I’ve still got a lot to learn about Twitter. My husband and I were talking about it at dinner last night. In his line of work as a professor/researcher he has very little use for Twitter; email consumes much of his time. It took me 15 minutes to explain the steps to starting and building a Twitter bases. Twitter may not be high energy physics but it does require high energy to keep going, and, of course, Twitter is only one part of a SM spectrum that a writer needs to have before she begins to see even a dribble of awareness of her work. Keep coming back and reading and leaving me comments.

  2. Garry

    Hey Pam, so is it going well. I can’t tell by this post and I haven’t kept up with all the posts. Although I know nothing about marketing a book online I do know how frustrating it can be to work online. So I do feel your pain, and concern about whether you are wasting your time our not. But marketing, at It’s best is all about building a relationship and that can be a long road. I have no doubt you will persevere, good luck my friend.

    Live For Today, Build For Tomorrow

    • Pam

      It is going better. I’d like to focus my attention on writing rather than marketing, but that’s not the reality. Not having been trained as a marketer I’m not sure if there are some basic rules of decorum to follow. I am doing my best to get the word out, and I appreciate all you do to help my plastic mortal friend. Thanks for checking in on me, and keep up those tweets. One of the real pluses of this journey has been the real people I have met. You’re one of them 🙂

  3. Pamela, I absolutely loved this blog. I posted it on my FB page Kathleen O’keefe-Kanavos and Twitter- PsychicHealing. It is true, the numbers game on Twitter is difficult to win. That is possibly because you can only learn the rules by trial and error. There is a learning curve, but it doesn’t come with a manuel. But the bottom line is: if you want to connect with people, treat them like humans, not numbers.

    • Pam

      Thank you Kathleen for sharing this with others. I wrote this post, and all the rest, to share my experiences and help other writers make decisions related to their own work. I hope everyone who reads this will pass it on. I also appreciate comments. I want to hear from others how they’ve handled issues related to writing and publishing.

    • Pam

      Sorry it took me so long to reply to your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. In the three months since I started my adventure into Twitterland I have learned a great deal. I hope by sharing my experiences that newbies will gain a better understanding of the process and seasoned folk will gain some insight into how those new to Twitter view this often frustrating world. Twitter will continue to change as their users change, so we all need to stay flexible. Eventually, I’ll get to a comparison of social media online vs old-fashioned networking. I just have to lay out the landscape of one before I explore the other.

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