In my recently closed website poll, respondents were asked to choose the methods by which they prefer to connect with an author. Most were some version of social media.
I decided to run this poll as a result of my own ruminations on the subject, specifically after asking myself the questions: How important is my website? Which social media vehicles are the most important and useful to and used by my readers? Should I blog more? Less? Are there communication methods I’m currently not using that I should? Or, alternatively, methods I’m currently using that are a waste of time?
Part of my thought process was driven by discussions I’d had with other writers about how the almighty website, which at the beginning of my career was seen as the ultimate ‘must-have’, seems to have waned in its importance. And blogging – according to some – which enjoyed a meteoric rise, now seems to be crashing with equal speed.
So what did our respondents say?
By far, at 25% of all votes, the number one method respondents prefer to connect/learn about/communicate with an author is via:
#1 Answer: WEBSITE!
Yup, that big dollar price tag authors pay to create, maintain, reinvigorate their website is still worth it. I still hold that if this poll ran 5-7 years ago this % would have been waaaaaay higher. I think today a website signals professionalism, credibility, longevity, stability…but only if it’s well done. Nothing worse than a poorly executed and/or designed website to drive people away. If an author doesn’t have a website, it may give perspective readers pause. They may actually prefer to interact with you via other more personal and real-time methods, but for serious, content-driven, fact-based information and background that fleshes out the experience and understanding of who you are as a writer, I can believe readers still turn to a website. For instance, if a reader wants to know the titles of all your books and the order they were written, they’ll check your website. But if they want to know what you did last weekend or see a candid photo from your last event, they’ll likely check out your Facebook page or Pinterest.
So what sits in the mighty shadow of the website? There were four (4) methods that collected votes in the 10-14% range:
Yup, no surprises here – blogging, email, Facebook & Twitter. So it would seem blogging is maintaining its hold on its position with other heavy hitters(ish)…or, are they all beginning to falter in the environment of proliferating social media options? I was ‘informed’ the other day, that most people under 25 have completely abandoned Facebook. Too many parents trying to be their friend, maybe?
Next on the list, with just over 6%, was Instagram. Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app, but it is also a social network. It’s like Twitter with followers, only instead of real-time text updates, you provide photo updates. This is one of the options that appear on this list which I’ve simply said ‘no’ to. Not necessarily because I have anything against it, but I’ve always held firm that when it comes to social media, you have to pick a few and do them well and consistently, rather than do them all poorly and without focus. Seeing its ranking at 6%, I think I’ll continue to give it a pass (for now, anyway – I never say never).
At the bottom of the barrel, each only garnering between 1% and 2.5% of votes were:
– Linked In
Some of these (YouTube, Pinterest) I’m more surprised at the low ranking than others (MySpace anybody?). But they each had their day, some longer than others, and to be fair, some are perhaps better suited to subject matter other than writers.
There was one more response option that got some traction…albeit only 4% of votes, but still!:
So with this next website poll, lets move away from the author and focus on his/her creation: the main character. The poll asks you to select the top 3 (three) things you want to know about a main character’s personal life. Check it out and make your selections at: