Today I have debut Superromance author Emmie Dark for Theory on Thursday and she’s talking something very relevant to both aspiring and published authors – social media! I’m hanging out to read Emmie’s debut (see blurb below) which sounds like a lot of fun. Over to you Emmie…
Social media secrets for new authors
Hello Rachael and everyone! Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog. I thought, given that Rachael and I know and interact with each other mostly through social media (Twitter and Facebook primarily) that talking a bit about social media might be a useful topic for this Theory on Thursday post!
As a debut author (my first book, a SuperRomance titled Cassie’s Grand Plan came out in March) I’ve taken a very sudden and deep dive into the publicity machine these past few weeks – which has involved a lot of social media stuff. I’ve (almost) come out the other side and I’m now a bit wiser, a bit more battered around the edges, and could quite easily sleep for a week.
But it all would have been a very different picture if I hadn’t already been reasonably social media savvy and had already put significant time and effort into my online presence before I got “the call”. I think probably I’d need to sleep for a month, instead. J
Here are the top three things I’ve learned that might be helpful to you.
1. Be prepared – long before you get “the call”
I was once given the advice as an unpublished author not to get too enthusiastic about being online because, “you don’t open a shop if you have nothing to sell”. I think there is some wisdom in that advice, especially if you are spending a disproportionate amount of time online. Making your “shop” all fancy and fabulous without any “product” in it is a waste of time. Writing should always be your first priority!
But having made the transition from unpublished writer to published author, there were quite a few things I was glad I had already put in place. I had a Twitter account, a Facebook account and I’d already bought my domain names (although I didn’t have a website or blog actually up and running).
The main reason that it was good to have all these things in place was that I was already familiar with how to use them, not just in a technical sense, but in terms of the norms and style of interactions. As a new author there is so much to learn and do, this is one additional burden you just don’t need.
So get yourself set up, especially if being online is new to you or outside your comfort zone. You want to get as much practice in as you can because – as you know from writing – practicing is the only way to get good!
Not only that, but your editor will Google you before they offer you a contract. Seriously. Google yourself and see what comes up – is the search page filled with items you’d like your potential editor to see?
2. Be the talk show, not the ad break
Sure, once you’re published, you need to use your online presence to advertise you have a book out – let’s face it, that’s what it’s all about!
But if all you do is bang on about your book and your writing, people are going to stop listening very quickly. It’s no secret that the key to successful social media presence is interaction. You have to listen to others, reply to them, participate in conversations.
I like to think of it as “social media karma” – the more interesting and interactive you are, the more people will follow you and (as a result) help build your profile. You also have to help others on their journey – re-tweet links to blog posts, share happy news of new contracts, etc, etc, because then others will do it for you when it’s your turn.
When you’re online, you don’t have to limit your conversations only to writing and your genre – but do remember that you are online as YOU an author, not just everyday-friends-and-family YOU. If you want to analyze the plots of your favorite TV shows, that’s fine, but if you want to analyze the campaign approach of your favorite politician maybe think twice. Don’t say stuff that could be damaging or offensive.
Think of yourself as the CEO of YOU. You don’t have to play it absolutely safe – being controversial can be a useful tactic, but remember you are (or want to be) in the business of selling books. Don’t offend your customers!
3. Do what works for you
As I’ve said, practice is vital because by the time you’ve got a book on the shelves, you don’t want to be fumbling about, posting accidentally, or getting important announcements wrong. But the other vital thing that emerges from practice is that you find what works for you.
Not everyone wants to dive head-first into every kind of social media and I totally understand that.
Do you need a website and blog? Yes, probably. These are pretty much inescapable these days, and you need to commit to keeping them up-to-date and looking spiffy. If design is beyond you, get some help. It’s worth the investment in
Do you need to be on Twitter and Facebook? Well, that depends. You need to know if they’re going to work for you – if you’re going to have the time and, most importantly, the interest to keep them fresh and up-to-date. The only way to find this out is to have a go.
Personally, I find I’m much more drawn to Facebook than Twitter. I really like Twitter and it can be great fun to jump into conversations with other writers about all sorts of things (and it is seriously the fastest way to find out the news about pretty much anything in the world) but it’s just not quite my cup of tea in the way Facebook is. Perhaps it’s because I’m a visual person and I like the photos and visual aspects of Facebook compared to the interface I use for Twitter (Tweetdeck).
I’ve also recently joined Pinterest, but personally, I can see that as an exceptional way to waste time instead of getting on with things – but then we all need an occasional time-waster!
I wish you the very best of luck with your writing journeys and with finding your niche on whatever online media gets you going. Hope to see you on Twitter and/or Facebook soon!
Thanks Emmie – that was both fascinating and useful! I’d love to hear from readers and writers about their social media experiences! Do you have a favourite platform? What do you like to see on authors’ Facebook pages, etc…?
Blurb: Cassie’s Grand Plan
Four steps to a brand-new life
Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.
Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….