I'll wait, whilst the over serious writer types shake their heads.
They think, it's the story. It's the editing. It's the--whatever their considerable skill gives them an edge over.
On a personal level, I think it's the cover and Twitter.*
This weekend my bank royally pissed me off. I won't go into the boring details, (it was their fault and it wasn't just me) but I will admit to sauntering myself over to their Facebook page to give them a piece of my mind. Which was their lucky day, I usually charge for that particular service.
Except for how it wasn't, as their Facebook page was already a PR NIGHTMARE--because their social media peeps apparently get weekends off. Must be nice! If I stop tweeting for ONE DAY my Klout score likely drops a point. A whole weekend can damage me as much as 3 points.
Now I know some of you don't LIKE Klout, don't understand Klout, or are living under rocks. That's why Thursday I am devoting a whole day to discussing what it is, and why it's important.
For right now, the basics are this: it measures how much of a difference you make in your social media bubble.
Now, why do I KNOW social media is EVERYTHING?
Ever heard of the term, slush pile? It's usually used when discussing an agents pile of unrequested queries or submissions. What a lot of people fail to realize, is self publishing, or publishing with a small micro publisher just puts you into the same slush somewhere else.
Some of the tactics of getting out of the slush pile are the same no matter how you slice it. Some are very different. Glitz doesn't work with agents. **
The number one thing writers must contend with today, is getting people to find your book. It doesn't matter how good it is, how awful wonderful your cover might be, if no one can find it, you aren't selling books. There are so many things on Amazon and BN.com that you have better odds of being plucked out of your dream agents slush pile than tons of people just buying your book because they happened into. You have to be able to work for it, and that is where social media comes in.
Have you seen how books appear on Amazon? Notice anything?
That is what people have to judge you by. A rating--which you won't have if people don't read your books, and a COVER! Nothing else. You don't get a blurb, or query, or hell an elevator or Twitter Pitch while you sit on the page with the rest of the slush.
So this is why I believe the most important things are the cover and Twitter.*
As a writer, you NEED certain things--or if not EXACTLY these things then you need things that garnish the same results.
Tagging, You want to tag your book in such a way that people who are looking at similar books will find you (book classification is very important too).
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc have a right way and a wrong way to be used to promote your book. The best way I can describe it quickly, is to say you want to have people invested IN YOU not one book. Posting of links to buy your books should make up a very small percentage of your social media content. It should not be all day every single hour nonstop. People will ignore you, block you, unfollow you. Do not go looking for instant gratification.
Book reviewers. Want the best ones with the most audience and traffic? Not with out some sort of online presence or at least a decent connection. You ask them to review your book with a terrible do it yourself cover, while you have 28 Twitter Followers (7 of which are bots), and 9 blog followers (one of which is your mother) and the best ones will politely decline--or just ignore you.
I cheated, my publisher got some awesome bloggers for my first tour, but recently I have had them start contacting me. They send me emails with their credentials and traffic flow reports--like I'm special. You know what special treatment gets you? Less time doing this sort of work and more time for writing.
*Angela Kulig is aware a good story is important--but only if you can get to second base with the reader (more on this soon)
**Agents aren't impressed by glitz, but you have to have something to get a stangers attention/.
JUST FYI I have some pretty HUGE announcements coming out next week. Including things like, the remaster of Skeleton Lake AND an audio book for another project, and other great things coming out of my publisher that has recently decided they want to be a whole new level of awesome.