Today I’m blogging about the “Authors Online: More Than Writing About Writing” Workshop, given by Teresa Medeiros, Jill Shalvis, and Sarah Wendell. The workshop instructors discussed…you guessed it: social media!
What sort of social networking should an author or aspiring author do?
Well, the number one thing the instructors discussed is that you need to do what feels right or natural for you. There are so many social networking tools (blogging, Twitter, Facebook), there should be something you can find that you like doing.
What are some tips for effective social networking?
- It should ultimately be about connecting with others. Yes, it’s about promotion too, but don’t constantly push your materials on others, or they will get bored (or *gasp* pissed off) rather quickly. Never forget that your goal (not only as a blogger, but also as an author) is ultimately to find a connection with others.
- Get to know peoples’ names. We are all egocentric at our core; we want to know that others actually connect with us, and don’t just see us as a potential payday. This is important to remember as an author.
- Ask questions at the end of your blog or Facebook post in order to engage your readers.
- If you do Facebook, plan for the future. Get a fan page rather than a friend page (which limits you to 5,000 followers).
- If you use Twitter, try a host client which can provide an array of options (I can recommend Tweetdeck (which I started with) or Hootsuite (which I use now and love)
- Be consistent in your use of social media. Whatever media you use, try to do it at least once a week.
- Go onto other people’s blogs, or read their tweets or Facebook posts, and respond to them.
- If you hate doing it, this will be obvious to others. So if you really hate social networking, maybe your time is better spent focusing on writing the best book you can. Some of the most famous authors (JK Rowling comes to mind) do little to no social networking.
- If you are looking to grow your followers, run a contest. Who doesn’t love to win books? But if you want to attract quality followers (i.e. readers who are potential purchasers of your book) make sure your prize is book-related (books or bookstore giftcards).
What are some don’ts?
- Don’t talk only about writing. Not a big deal at first, when you are basically interacting only with other writers. But once you start to get fans, they won’t get blogs about writing. They want to know about you, especially anything that effects your writing or inspires you to write the stories they love.
- Don’t talk trash about others in the industry or complain about your publisher or cover.
- Stay away from polarizing subjects: religion, politics, negative talk on other authors or books.
- Don’t get frustrated. Whether your are blogging, on Facebook or Twitter, or using any other form of social media, it takes time to build up a following. So don’t give up if you don’t have the sort of following you want right away.
So what sort of social media is your favorite? Any addictions? I don’t tweet a lot, but I must admit I’m totally addicted to reading others’ tweets! It’s such a great way to get up to the minute information on what’s going on in the industry.