The Benefits of Community

Guest Expert: Sherrod Story

I have to tell you – in all honesty – I have no frickin’ idea how to market a book. None! I have a Twitter account, a blog, a Facebook account for me, and one for my book LOL, and I’m on all of them every single day. That’s all I know to do.

Oh, that and beg for Twitter followers and blog subscribers, and thank everyone profusely when they bite, which works, believe it or not. I’ve asked around, read articles, and the general consensus for all my online research efforts can be condensed into one clever little word: engage.

Talk. Shock of all shocks, write! Tell people what you’re doing, why, how you’re being driven witless in your efforts to find time to write, and then be generally interested and supportive of what they’re doing.

I freely admit, I completely disdained using Facebook before I self-published my book (is it ok to say the name Fiona Love? You said no self promotion…but that’s more like a detail?) on Amazon Kindle. But I know the deal, and so do you – Facebook is what’s up.

Anybody with any kinda story to tell is on Facebook, making friends and commenting and liking and every other thing I haven’t figured out how to do yet.

I’ve sold some books too. More importantly, I now feel like part of a community. Which is weird. I’m a stereotypical lone wolf writer. I don’t know these people. I probably couldn’t recite any of their names if someone paid me – although I do recall cover art; romance novel cover art is fabulous! – but I certainly recall their kindness, their willingness to reach out to me to say thanks for wanting to be their friends.

It means something that a virtual stranger would take the time to share a word of encouragement. It means someone else is going through what you are, whether you’re books are selling like discounted money-stuffed wallets or like a slow, erratic faucet leak.

As engaged as we all are thanks to social networking and technology, it can be lonely in this realm of publishing if you’re not Nora Roberts or Jaid Black, and you don’t have many readers. Hell, a writer without readers is like a book with no words. I’m not being dramatic, either. Writers will brood about writing stuff that no one reads. I do. It doesn’t stop me, but there it is.

Online, engaging with a coterie of strangers who share your desire to be read and followed, you can share in the success of your peers. Sure it’s not as good as accepting your own accolades, who are we kidding? But interaction is important. Which brings me back to my only word of wisdom for those marketing a book: engage.

That, and this phrase: online marketing after self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Some clever person I can’t recall the name of said that, and I believe him. So engage, consistently, with any and everyone who shares your interests and few who only might. You’ll make a few hits. I promise.


Sherrod Story is the pen name for Kellye Whitney. She was born in Chicago Illinois, and is an award-winning magazine editor. “Fiona Love” is her first offering on Kindle. A lifelong romance fan, she has been writing about the same family of characters – the Cambridges – since she was 13 years old. Some of them are featured in Fiona Love. Watch for future tales from the family!
Follow Sherrod on Twitter: @sherrodstory

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  1. JudithBrilesAuthorU@gmail.com'Judith Briles

    I couldn’t agree more. People these days are following anything that sparks their interest and sometimes their emotion. It is like being a friend to someone and eventually both of you will have time share interests, thoughts and even you sharing your “book”. Consequently, as a friend, that friend will recommend you to some of his or her friends and you get to have a network. If it works in some other personal things like videos, pictures and even snippets of some thoughts, why not your book?