Social media is here to stay and the social climate on the web is constantly evolving depending on the needs of the users. One group of users that is benefitting tremendously from this trend is authors. Social media is entirely changing the way that they market themselves, connect with their potential readers, and even sell their books.
Benefits of social networks:
Depending on the outcomes you’re after, there are a range of social platforms to help you reach them. Wherever you set up shop, the benefits of maintaining an active social presence far outweigh the time expense.
- Publicity & Marketing – What better place to find potential readers of your work than where they already are? Tap into interest groups or search by hashtags to find the people that you think will appreciate your work. Social media is a powerful way to build a following; develop relationships with these people and they’re even more likely to buy your next book.
- Support & feedback – A supportive community is one of the most important factors in an author’s success. Writing is quite a solitary process, and it’s often hard to receive feedback or honest criticism of your work. Many social platforms offer a great social community and forum full of like-minded people who will make the writing and editing process that much smoother.
- Resources – Most authors have endless questions when it comes to publishing. Publishing house or self-publish? Ebook or print-on-demand? Best editors? The people who have already been through this experience are there on the social platforms and they always want to tell you what they know – and what to watch out for. They’ll give recommendations and provide suggestions so that you can avoid the same pitfalls that they ran into.
Don’t make these social faux pas!
Social media may feel detached from real life, but the people on the other end of those Twitter and Facebook accounts are just as real as you and I. Treat them with the same respect and follow the same rules of etiquette as you would if you were sitting in their living room.
- Ask for reviews – This is ok if you know the person well and they’ve committed to giving you the help you need to make your book go wild. If they seem hesitant, don’t push it. You want honest reviews from people who are compelled to give them.
- Ask people more than once to follow you – Building up your fan base at the beginning is important. It’s ok to send a message to your friends and family at the start to ask them to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. If they don’t do it, don’t be offended and, please, don’t press the issue. You don’t want to alienate your lifelong friends for the sake of a book they may not have any interest in. Try not to take it personally; different strokes for different folks.
- Get too personal – Depending on the nature of your work, this may or may not apply. Keep in mind that people are following you because of your work so keep in professional. Unless you’re working on a cookbook, they probably don’t care to see what you’re eating for lunch every day. Treat it like you would a workplace. Gauge what’s appropriate and try to stay within those lines. Keep conversations appropriate for your audience.
- Undersell your work – Many first-time authors are over-eager to get their work out to the world. If you really feel that you’ll be compromising the quality of your work by lowering the price past a certain point, or even giving it away for free, then don’t do it. Keep your integrity throughout the process.
- Be controversial just for the publicity – Controversy is often the best way to get mentioned in the media these days. If you have good reason or you can stand behind your convictions, then by all means do it. Otherwise, it won’t be worth it; keep in mind the saying, “15 minutes of fame” – nowadays it’s more like 15 seconds of fame. Consider what it’s really worth to have your name on the line.
The great thing about social media is that it offers a range of different services. From community to publicity, the answer you’re seeking as an author is probably already out there. You just have to find it!
BIO: Jeremy is an aspiring author. He enjoys watching the social world evolve to embrace the needs of writers and other users. You can connect with him on Foboko.com where he’s currently working on his first novel.
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