Social Media for Authors: Week 1 of 4

One week down, three to go in the monthlong Social Media Bootcamp*. After weeding out some corporate-speak and translating the course into author-speak, three themes are emerging.

I’m getting interested in GoodReads as a forum to connect with readers, even though it will take some time to build up that presence, if I choose to do so. It’s kind of like Ravelry for readers, with some very nice-seeming options for authors to promote online.

Social media is important, but you have to have a strategy for when and how to use it. Social media does not equal promotion. It’s mainly a way to keep your ear to the ground for opportunities, and mingle. Self-promo is a no-no. Besides using social media networks to look for ideas and opportunities, use it respond to criticism, chime in on topics that interest you, and/or be helpful to others. Once you have your strategy, schedule 40 minutes every 1-2 days to check your channels, but otherwise, don’t exhaust yourself.

For writers, I think blogging is where it’s at. Rather than dump too much time into Twitter, spend the time on 1-2 quality blog posts per week. It’s normal for a good post to take anywhere from three to seven hours of work. Read and comment on other’s blogs. Obsess over not being boring.

I’m still looking for ways to tie these threads into the e-book explosion. Today’s stat that adult paperback sales are down 64% is a good reminder that e-books must be part of any promotion strategy for your books.

* = Overstatement. The class is run by nice women and requires attending a few online sessions a week from the comfort of your favorite pajamas. However, if you find yourself running six miles on the beach in Cape May, NJ, you may have signed up for the wrong bootcamp.

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