“Going viral is not an outcome; it’s a happening. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember, fans are vanity and sales are sanity.” ~ Lori Taylor
A couple years back, a friend and fledgling author was shopping her book around. She was told The following which she then proceeded to share with me, cause well sharing is caring and when you are starving writers you bond:
First and foremost she was told she had to have a strong social media presence.
The second was she needed a blog. And her blog needed to have hundreds of followers for her to be considered “Serious.”
As she was telling me all of this I started to laugh. Even the publishing industry is checking to see how many likes and comments we as wannabe authors get on pictures and posts. And if we have the right amount of “Friends.”
I get it to a certain extent. It is a risk, especially in todays economic climate, to publish a debut author. It is why most authors get thousands of rejections, before they get that one yes. And even then projects can be shelved in the eleventh hour.
Authors are required to do a fair amount of their own marketing, and social media is the key in doing that. Look at Donald Trump, he all but won the GOP nomination that way. His weapon wasn’t spending millions on television, but the use of FREE social media. You could even argue President Obama began the trend to utilize social media before there were all these networking sites. He used it not just to spread his message, but to recruit voters and it worked.
In an era where E-Books are popular, and traditional publishing houses only make up for 16 percent. (according to Publishers Weekly in an article posted two years ago) Once again authors and publishers are going to social media to advertise.
While being an introverted anti-social writer is great, it does not help one become published. Of course I don’t expect you to start stalking people’s Facebooks and adding every Joe out there (though it might be fun if you are bored) their are ways to expand your social media foot print without harming trees and annoying people.
I know what you are thinking. Pinterest? Seriously? I admit, I got on the Pinterest band wagon a bit late. It was a marketing and research professor at NYU who first touted the virtues of Pinterest as a writer. Pinterest can actually be an excellent research tool. Two years later, talking to my sister-in-law who is also a blogger, exclaimed the benefits of advertising. Again I was doubtful. Wasn’t Pinterest just for the crafts and brides-to-be? Once again I was pleasantly surprised. Linking to pictures, writings, and even other social media platforms. Pinterest is indeed a great app to advertise your creative genius. And it is free!
Again this might seem like a harebrained idea. Instagram is for pictures right? But many writers and bloggers are on there not just to post pretty flowers and bunnies – oh the bunnies – but many put up pictures of blog posts, writing snippets, and yes the occasional sunset. Instagram is also fast becoming the go to social media site for not just millenials but also the “I” Generation. Not only is it another tool to get your name out there, but it also happens to be my favorite form of social media. Give it a try you might even discover your a photographer as well as a writer!
Oh Twitter. I have a love hate relationship with the Tweet. Especially since I just deleted my old account and realized if I had done it on my desk top (because apparently Twitter graduated years ago to desktop, who knew? Not this millennial) I could have just changed my username. Even before Twitter tested my lack of computer knowledge, I wove in and out of Twitter like it was the Indy 500. I admit, I only ever used Twitter to showcase my sarcasm, (who me?) humor, (Yes, it was much funnier in my head) and run an endless, but probably annoying commentary on sports, mostly about skating and the Rangers. While Twitter rants are pretty funny, especially when involving celebrities and their break-ups (yes you, Calvin Harris and T-Swift, and Kim K and T-Swift and pretty much any celebrity and T-Swift) that is not all that a tweet can be used for. In fact it is probably one of the better advertising social media platforms out there. Posting links to your website, blog posts, writings, as well as showing that, yes, you are a witty author.
Oh Facebook! I really could write a book about you, but I won’t. Whether it is a personal page, a public page, or something in between, it really is the best way to network, connect with fans and fellow writers, reach a large number of the world’s population and advertise your work. Just be careful not to get sucked into the drama and politics and you will have free promotion that the Queen B would be proud of.
I debated writing about this social media vortex, probably because I am still bitter that I can not change my username on here either. As a platform that is having its hey day now. Yes RIGHT now. Mostly with teens and younger millennials it really is a way to connect that is fun, personal, and yes that picture WILL disappear in fifteen seconds. Thank the Cyber Gods! With celebrities obsessed with it. Why shouldn’t authors be as well?
Now I know you are thinking, what about LinkedIn or Google+ Or even Reddit while I admit I do have those and they do fall under the social media platform, they tend to not reach the mass majority nor be as soul sucking time wasters, that the above sites do. Which might be a good thing.
My one piece of personal advice when mapping out your social media platform is to make sure you use all the same names. Jumping on the bandwagon when different social media sites first came out, I am now left scrambling to change or in cases of certain sites ~ahem Snapchat~ delete and create new accounts. Do not be like me!
What social media do you use to advertise yourself? Feel free to share your sites in the comments. Nothing is better then spreading the love and helping other fledgling blogs and authors!
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