Since I began working at Xulon almost three years ago, I’ve noticed trends come and go from the hundreds–wait, probably thousands by now–of manuscripts I’ve read, reviewed, critiqued, and edited. Recently, one of the trends I’ve noticed is authors turning their social media posts into books.
Allow me to explain.
There are so many social media platforms now, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat, they’re all here to serve a different purpose: post pictures, post videos, post a status, or send a message. While their deliveries may vary (pictures, videos, 140-character limit status), they all serve one person: ourselves.
We post on these social media platforms to share ourselves with our friends or our connections. We feel gratification when someone “likes” or “loves” or even responds to our status, picture, video, or article we’ve shared. It’s all about us on social media. So turning our Facebook statuses for “Things I’m Thankful for in November” into a book should be a no-brainer, right? I mean, these are such good things to be thankful for, and people love what I’m thankful for each day! So I should publish that in a book to reach even more people, right?
And here’s why: while social media is all about us, and receiving the “likes” or the love, writing a book is not about us. Writing a book is about other people. It’s about our readers. Why would a reader spend a week, a month, however long it takes them to read a book, to read something that has absolutely nothing in it for them? Because they wouldn’t do that.
The point of us reading a book typically falls into one of two reasons: to educate ourselves, or to entertain ourselves. If we aren’t feeling educated or entertained by reading a book, then we aren’t going to want to continue to read it. Simple as that.
Books are about your readers, not about you. It’s about helping your readers–whether you’re educating them or you’re entertaining them. It’s about making sure readers get something out of your book, whatever that “something” may be.
Copying and pasting Facebook statuses or tweets is not enough for a book, or better yet, does not a book make. Not only does it serve virtually no purpose to your readers, but it shows to your readers. It shows the little effort you as the author put into this book, and you know what they say–what you put into something is what you get out of it. Put in a lot of effort and energy, and get a lot of readership and energy back. Put in little effort and energy and, well, you aren’t going to get a lot of readership or energy in return.
Now, don’t get me wrong entirely.
You’re welcome to use a Facebook post, or a tweet, or even a Snapchat as inspiration for writing a book. In fact, we encourage it! That’s a great thing about social media: it’s easy to share your creative side and in turn, be inspired. However, creativity requires time, thought, and execution from you, the creator.