One aspect of therapy on my wrist that I didn’t anticipate was talking about my writing life. The therapist admitted she crafted a story and wanted to have it published, but didn’t want “everything else that comes with it.”
That everything else was social media. She admitted she was on Twitter but had no plans to ever send a Tweet. Facebook? No. Pinterest? Instagram? She didn’t even know what they were. Her hope was that a publisher would see her story, publish it, market it, and everyone lived happily ever after.
I think that is every writer’s dream, but reality is a different story.
The economy hit publishing outlets as hard as anyone else. When budgets are strapped, marketing departments get the squeeze. It is now more of the author’s burden to market their work than ever before. Social media is an easy and cost-effective way to get the job done.
What’s out there these days?
Facebook–Yes, it keeps changing, and it can be a time consumer. For me, it’s been a great way to promote my writing and gain an audience before my publishing goal comes to pass. I have a writing page where once a day I tend to ask a question with some aspect of surrender to it that will engage conversation. When someone new becomes my personal Facebook friend, I thank them and invite them to like my writing page. I have my blog auto-feed to both pages. If that was all I did, and yes, I tend to spend too much time on FB, I could be done in 10 minutes or less.
Twitter–This is similar to FB’s status updates, except you are limited to 140 characters per update, AKA a tweet. It’s important to be personal on Twitter, not always sharing links to your Amazon page, etc…It takes discernment, but it is possible to build a following that truly cares about your work and will interact with you. I use Tweetdeck, a grid of sorts with different categories I created to keep track of my followers. Forwarding or Re-Tweeting (RT) is a great way to be friendly and not spend a lot of time. Those few seconds it takes will pay itself back when you do have news that needs to be spread.
Google+—I think this is another fast, easy way to share your work. Each day I share a link to my blog. I scan and give a + to other posts by friends I like. It isn’t a time waster. It isn’t very social in my opinion, but for marketing, a breeze.
Pinterest–Think of a virtual bulletin board where you decide what goes on your boards. That’s Pinterest. This should be an author’s dream because you can have a board where you pin your book covers, website, Amazon page, etc…Pinterest gives the flexibility to create as many boards as you want with as many “pins.” A pin is anything on the Internet (except FB) that you canput on your board after adding a bookmarklet. Anyone visiting your board can click on the pin and it will take them directly to the website where the pin originated. My boards are close to my brand–things that are good, bad, chocolate, or about surrender.
Instagram–This is fairly new to me and if I understand correctly, a product of smartphone apps. Again, created out of FB’s creativity, you take pictures and add them with a caption instead of writing a status update. This doesn’t seem to be straight marketing, at least not what I’ve seen. I added pictures from books where my work is featured, but most pictures I’ve seen are of nature, random moments, and loved ones. It’s a great way for potential readers to get a glimpse of you without constantly telling them where to find your writing. It’s another audience to find, and again, the time commitment is minimal. Like Pinterest, I suggest using FB as a means to find followers, etc…Saves time, and you know who potential followers are if they are current FB friends. Find me as JulieArduini.
LinkedIn–It’s a resume, as far as basic definitions go. I think in other fields LinkedIn is a must, and I’m on it, but I don’t use it for marketing beyond making sure my blog and Twitter accounts auto-feed.
And that’s the best advice I can give: Make sure you auto-feed your blog to your social media accounts. It’s an easy way to gain an audience and be that marketing department your book needs.