How did I sell 10 times more ebooks than I have social media followers?

In this age of social media, when everyone seemingly has thousands of followers across various platforms, why isn’t everyone rich and famous? What is the value of amassing vast volumes of likes? How do quality and quantity coexist when cheap and easy trump worthwhile and honest?

Shameless self-promotion runs rampant, with people showcasing no talent or any product to the tune of crazy numbers of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, wherever… By the numbers, considering all of my social media platforms and those related to my best-selling memoir, I’m a complete dud in the bottom 10th percentile. Amazingly, word of mouth has propelled “i just woke up dead: a memoir” to what is basically a successful debut novel according to most measures and was achieved with an anemic following on social media and failed presence in the online community.

And they were all ebook sales!

The average “follower” or even connecting “likes” to a person, “i just woke up dead” has been bought or read on Kindle Unlimited multiple times per person. On Facebook, I have about 250 friends. The first 6 months of publication on Kindle, IJWD sold about 1,000 copies. That’s 4 books per friend. Stats would leave me to believe that 1/4 of my friends would buy a book, a really good advertising return. But 400% return on a friend/buy ratio? Madness!

As or today “i just woke up dead” ranks in the top 25 out of approximately 2,500 memoirs in Substance Abuse on Amazon Kindle and recently ranked #1 in the entire Sex Addiction category, falling overall in the 95th percentile of all Kindle books.

I have less than 1,000 FOLLOWERS on any platform, yet thousands of people have read this book…

So whatever the hell that means, with all 14 people who care enough to read things I write on Medium, thanks. To the hundred or so addicts and junkies and anybody else who gives a damn about recovery and addiction that read what’s been posted, thanks.

Substance still holds a place near and dear to readers and those in the literature community, as well as those dedicated to change in how we treat addicts and alcoholics, those suffering from mental illness.

Just a few more friends and the world over may read and learn and empathize with a marginalized group totally capable of recovery and change. This junkie got sober, earned a Master of Advanced Study degree from the #1 ranked Criminology graduate program in the country from the #3 ranked college under 50 years old in the entire world, makes a decent living as the head chef at an award winning restaurant, regained custody of his son, and is about to settle into his 5th year of sobriety.

Friends, followers, whatever. Readers and learners, word of mouth, and a story that reviewers have declared one of their favorite books, ever, destroys the notion that social media is the end all to independent publishing success. For anyone facing rock bottom like I once did, living another day is success enough. All this stuff is just icing on the cake.

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