Today I decided to steal from my fellow authors and combine their words to create my blog post 🙂 Over the past year (well, nearly a full year!) I’ve interviewed different romance authors each week, and each week I hold back their answers to four questions. I use them to compile a list of writing tips. Today’s topic is Best Social Media Practices. This is the second time I’ve posted a “20 Tips from 20 Authors: Topic: Best Social Media Practices“. If you’d like to view the first one please click on the title within the quotations. Likewise, if you’d like to read the interview of any particular author that has contributed to this list, click on their name and you’ll see their interview in a new tab.
Readers love games – Give them something to respond to that’s fun. Don’t make it all marketing, all the time. Interact and have a good time. These people want to know you almost as much as your words.
I use LastPass, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite with clients at my job. LastPass is free and remembers all your passwords. Tweetdeck lets you schedule tweets, and Hootsuite can schedule tweets but also schedules Instagram. I feels that if you are spending more than 15 minutes a day scheduling posts or promoting books, then you are spending too long.
None of it matters if you’re not writing and don’t or won’t have a book to feature on said social media. Write first, platform second.
There are a hundred different social media platforms and if you’re actually going to have time to write a book, you can’t conquer all of them. The advice that has always been given to me is:
- pick 2 or 3 social media sites to work within
- have a well-organized website that showcases your work
- maintain a newsletter subscribers list to let readers know when you have something new
Obviously, there is no right or wrong way to build your author platform – figure out what works for you and what is manageable.
Start early—even before you’re published—and make friends. The best way to do this is by being real. Before my books came out, I created accounts using my pen name and talked about myself, my kids, what I was reading, what new releases to snap up, etc. It’s a great way to find your people. Once your books are out, chances are your friends will read them, review them, and talk about them. The biggest plus is that you now have real friends—people to hang out with at conferences and commiserate with when things are tough.
Update all of your social media often, the more you are active with your readers, the more interest you can get for your work. It’s so gratifying to talk to your readers and sometimes get suggestions to make your books even better.
You have to have an online platform as a writer. My best tip would be to start early! Don’t wait for your book to be accepted and about to be published. Build your author website and social media profiles early on, and your newsletter as well. Social media is a great way to connect with readers and your peers, but your website (or at least an Amazon author page) and your newsletter will be your top selling tools.
I’m no social media expert but here is what I can pass along creating a blog always a good idea. Having a Facebook/Twitter presence is also nice. Following writer and author groups can show growing trends in the markets. Attending launch parties or other book events, and guest blogging are also good ways to get your name on the board.
Never out grow your own britches. Stay real and available. Just because you write a book, doesn’t mean you changed. Readers will message at times, and guess what? They took the time to read your book, just like you take the time to write it. Believe in what they say to you. There are always going to be those who don’t get a certain part, or even like your book at all, and that is okay. It’s why authors write different ways, to make it unique to their style.
Get to know other authors and support them. That, far beyond anything else, is what will make the journey doable, because publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Choose only 2-4 places and concentrate on those. Don’t overextend yourself and most of all keep your website up to date!
Be social. It sounds obvious, but I’m STUNNED by the number of people who use social media as a fax blast service. Be friendly, chat with people (about things other than just the book you want them to buy), become friends. Oh, and NEVER slide into someone’s DMs as soon as they follow/friend you. It’s rude. There’s nothing worse than following someone and before they even @ you in a public thread, they’re popping into your private messages with a buy link for their latest book.
Be yourself. You might write fictional worlds, but don’t make yourself into a fictional person. Eventually, the real you will come out. So, be yourself from the beginning and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
No one likes being hustled. Promote your work on social media, by all means, but don’t let that be the ONLY thing you do. Post amusing pictures of your pets. Kvetch about the cleaning you have to do. Tell jokes, chat about the movie you just watched, faunch over the hot actor who inspired one of your books (ahem). Connect with your readers as a human being, give them a reason to be interested in you, and they’ll be far more willing to buy your books and promote you via word of mouth.
Social media can be a time suck. Set aside specific times to interact on social media. Facebook is proving more effective than twitter. And learn everything you can about newsletters. You need to reach readers. The more they see or hear your name, the more apt they are to buying your books.
Less is more.
Ideally, all of that and Instagram and Google + communities for authors and readers too, but everyone has time constraints. Do what you can and experiment.
Be yourself. Share more than just info about your books. Readers love to see you as more than just an author. Engage them in conversation. I enjoying sharing things about my horses, dog, and cat, as well as what I’m doing around my property.
Facebook, Twitter, as many social media platforms as you can find. Interact a lot, not telling people to buy your book but just hang out with them, be social. Readers find it really annoying if authors become pushy to buy their books.
Don’t just yell into the void. Interact. And don’t make everything about your book. A bad ratio of promo to everything else is a major turn-off for most people.