20 Tips from 20 Authors: Topic: Best Social Media Practices
Over the past several months I’ve hosted a weekly blog segment called #AuthorSpotlight, where different romance authors are asked several questions and provide us with a snippet of their work. Well, each time I interview an author I ask a few other questions, and their answers have been compiled here. This is the second “20 Tips from 20 Authors” blog post. If you missed the first one you can catch it here “20 Tips from 20 Authors: Topic: Best Advice for Aspiring Authors”.
You’ll start to see a lot more of these, focusing on various topics and giving use a few pieces of advice from each author. Today’s topic is Best Social Media Practices. So here’s what our authors have to say:
I get bored with seeing canned promo posts on social media. I know, I know, we all have to do them. But social media posts that reveal a bit about you as a writer and a person are so much more engaging.
Stay in touch! We’re writers so we need to get away and write so it’s difficult to stay in touch with people. Unfortunately, we’re also Authorpreneurs. It isn’t enough for an author to just complete their novel. They have to stay engaged with their audience, however big or small, so you don’t get lost in the tidal wave of other authors trying to get noticed.
You are a brand. Be very careful to avoid being too hotheaded, negatively personal, or gripey in public channels — people will remember you for it. Wouldn’t you rather they remember your work and how classy you are, rather than your drama? While on the one hand, public “messiness” is sensational and fun to read and the direction our society is going in, things can and do come back to bite you. And even if they don’t, they affect your reputation, and once posted on the internet, content is out there forever.
This is so not my area of strength, so do take this with a large grain of salt: Have fun with it, find what works for you and doesn’t feel like a chore and post there consistently. And be patient. It takes a long time to build a following on social media.
Get a PA, spend the money, get a PA or someone that can help you market and understands marketing. The best book in the world won’t sell if no one knows about it.
I’m not a big fan of working social media as a marketing tool. I say, join Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. Put yourself out there, but then, just be yourself and have fun. Talk to people, engage with your readers. They don’t just want to hear, “Buy my book!” They want to get to know you.
Do what works for you. You will find a lot of advice, online and in person classes will teach people how much of each to do and when, but ultimately, you have to find a strategy that works with your life. Remember that you have to market and “sell” your book even more than a publisher some times. I know authors who do a lot, and some who do very little. Some make a ton of sales and make bestseller lists, while others do not. I don’t think there is any right or wrong thing to do. You have to be willing to work at it and find balance.
Find a social media outlet you enjoy doing. If it’s photos, use Pinterest. If you can be pithy in 140 characters, make it Twitter. Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding Facebook.
I’m no social media celebrity. I can only tell you what doesn’t work. Don’t over share. Don’t put anything and everything. I kept putting random videos on my Youtube channel and taking them down because so many of the videos were dumb and obviously me trying to get attention. It’s better to put a well thought out post once in a while, than unintelligible posts every other day. I’m not going to say something cheesy like be yourself, because social media is too far gone for that to work. And, hey, we’re fiction writers. Our jobs are to live in other people’s heads. I would say, if you’re working on a serious post, like a video or long blog post, only do it if you know what you’re talking about inside and out, even if it’s a comedic parody. That way, even if you don’t get a lot of followers, you still have a chance and building strong internet relations.
Tweet every day, and make engaging posts on FB every day. Get involved. Do not push your books down people’s throats constantly, talk to people, get to know people, make friends. Of all the things I have learnt, making friends is the most important one I have done.
If you’ve got a book being released or a sale (I have one coming up for my birthday), mention it on all the media you belong to. For me, this means I’ll post something on FB, Twitter, Goodreads, LJ, and my own group on Yahoo. One thing, though: under no circumstances read your own reviews on Goodreads. Ask someone you trust to read them for you and pass on the ones that won’t tear your heart out.
Don’t talk about politics. I don’t follow this rule, even though I should.
Remember who you are. If you are an author who wants to talk to their readers, that is what you should be expressing. Keep politics, religion, and other opinions for your personal pages. That said, interact with those who have already read your books (via Author’s Notes in the books, or on twitter), answer their questions and remind them that you are an actual person. Too many authors get lost in the shuffle and when you are not an actual person, it is a lot easier to explain away finding and utilizing free books that you didn’t authorize. Your readers are your best network of eyes and ears for finding your work in places it shouldn’t be.
Do your daily word count before you log on!!! You can’t do every platform so pick and work it the best you can. I do mainly facebook and pinterest.
Do NOT hard-sell your books. It’s “social media” because people want to be social. Yes, you want to let people know you have a book for sale, but people nowadays want to connect with you on a personal level. The photo of my engagement ring has been, to date, my highest commented/liked post and it has nothing to do with my books. But I’ve seen an uptick in sales that coincides with that. I said nothing about buying my books (because, honestly, it was the furthest thing from my mind at that moment!), but it’s because people love love and when a romance author finds love in real life, I think that affirms our writing.
Give away a couple of free short stories, especially erotic shorts. Doesn’t have to be long – 20 pages or so. A few freebie stories that are really good and really hot will attract readers and encourage people to friend you.
Being active. To make sure that you visit your website, Facebook, Twitter accounts daily. This allows you to stay connected to your readers and make them feel connected to the creative process. This will also keep you motivated with daily goals, upcoming releases, and the ideas.
Until you’re making money from your writing, focus on the free avenues—Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I highly recommend, Twitter and Facebook as social media for authors. It’s not only a mecca for other authors but here you can get personal with your readers.
Be true to yourself. But… never post when you’re pissed about something (the ex, the news, the guy who cut you off in traffic). It will come across to your audience.