Authors Online: Social Networking Tips (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

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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.

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14 thoughts on “Authors Online: Social Networking Tips (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

    Katie McGarry said:
    November 15, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Hi Rosalie,

    Great blog. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social media so this hit me at the right time.

    Thanks!

    Katie

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 15, 2010 at 8:15 am

      Thanks Katie. I actually think social networking is pretty important even when you are just starting out. This can be such a solitary career. It’s so nice to have the interaction with others in the same boat. 🙂

    terryspear said:
    November 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Excellent post and all the tips posted are truly key to good networking. I’ve been swamped with friends requests from authors recently. Some are truly fans, but many are just networking. And that’s all right if we love the same kind of books or something, but many don’t write what I read, and it’s a blanket spamming to me. Worse is the ones who send constant ads to all their “friends.”

    I do tweet if I have an important announcement which goes to my facebook page–need votes, announce new book cover, contest for free books, etc. But basically I love to blog about life in general, share some of what a writer’s life is about, good news, and bad. No religion, politics, or that kind of thing.

    Recently, I went to Scotland to research castles, and shared the pictures. The same with going to a wolf reserve. Sometimes I get into a funny discussion about my characters with fans. And my lurkers will get such a kick out of it, they will drop by and comment too. And my editor requested a mss once that I was giving away as a free read when I’d blogged about it. So you never know who might be reading your blogs!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 15, 2010 at 8:21 am

      Terry, I’ve seen your Scotland pics on your blog and I love them! To me that’s the best, to get a snippet of someone’s life or pictures of where they’ve traveled to (as an armchair traveler I like to live vicariously through others).

      You do illustrate a good point. With social networking come hassles like spammers and hackers. It’s not all fun and games. 🙂

    kathy otten said:
    November 15, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I use Facebook, and I’m still trying to work out the time it takes to leave comments and post a mix of info about my writing and my non-writing life.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

      You know, Kathy, I’ve got a Facebook account but I must admit it’s my least-used at the moment. I would like to change that, however. It’s a great tool.

    Rachel Firasek said:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I have to admit, I’m a twitterholic. I use it as my favorite diversion to writing. I’ve met some great friends and writing buds through the network, and can’t wait till my book releases and I can add fans as my friends on twitter. Great post! Stay positive…that’s my social framework.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Yes, I love Twitter too much. But it’s so great. The funny thing is when I first started using Twitter, I didn’t get it at all. Why would people want to leave 140 character posts? But now I see how useful it can be at imparting information, or just plain fun.

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Good advice. I love the contacts I’ve made via social media, however it does take a lot of time I’d rather spend writing. Ce la vie!
    I would add, watch the info dump in the blogs. I’m not interested in what an author ate for breakfast unless she went to this fabulous brunch at some amazing restaurant – in which case…spill!
    I also get frustrated with bloggers/authors who complain, whine and come across as morose all the time – it’s totally okay to let the readers know about your frustration or talk about a bad day, but day after day of depressing and/or complaining topics scares me off. Happy isn’t necessary, interesting and unique are.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Good point, Julia. While it’s great to hear about an author’s life, I’m not talking about the mundane stuff, LOL. And you are 100% correct, depression is a huge turn-off when it comes to blogging. We all have bad days and it’s okay to talk about them every now and again, but if I’m constantly depressed after reading your blog, I’m going to stop tuning in at some point.

    Suzanne said:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Great post! I struggle with what my audience is on my blog–right now it’s a mix of readers and other writers, so I kind of feel schizophrenic. So I need that lesson on consistency!

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 16, 2010 at 7:33 am

      I imagine it’s tough when you have that mix, Suzanne! I wonder if there’s a point where one should start catering exclusively to fans

    anita clenney said:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Great blog. Lots of good info. I don’t have a blog other than a group blog, and I don’t think I’ll get one for now. I find that it takes so much of my time to blog. I do have Facebook and Twitter but I go too long between posts. I need to work at it a little harder.

      Rosalie Lario responded:
      November 16, 2010 at 7:35 am

      Blogs can definitely be time consuming. I’d say that time is better spent on writing if one doesn’t enjoy blogging. Twitter is great because it’s fast but then you have to think of something worthwhile to say that will fit within Twitter’s parameters.

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