Social Media is a necessary part of a writer’s platform in this digital age, whether we like it or not. Personally, I do like it. It helps us connect with fans, gives us opportunities to converse with people we might otherwise not have gotten to know, and of course, allows us to get our books out there.
That being said, there are sites that help and sites that REALLY help. These are my Top 4, and I suggest them to anyone looking to grow their platform.
The little tweety bird I know you’ve heard of. Some people hate it, some people are addicted (*cough*), but everyone must agree that, at least from a marketing and especially from a networking perspective, this site does wonders in an author’s arsenal. Using it is actually what helped me realize I loved social media. Why? Because twitter followers translate into real life friends if you do it right. And what do friends do? Support you.
Of course, this means you have to support them back, and I’ll admit it helps if you’re funny, but the strength of this site is its ability to link you to people who are talking about what you’re talking about. Want to talk about self-publishing tips? BAM–insert #selfpubtips and you get to talk to everyone who’s interesting in the same thing, etc., etc.
It’s good. Use it. And if you feel forgettable, go ahead and friend me on it, send me a DM. Don’t be afraid! That’s the most important thing to keep in mind about social media. If the great author you’re following didn’t want to talk, they wouldn’t have a twitter. Just remember: the bigger your circle, the stronger you are, and I will follow you back so your circle is one account bigger!
Admittedly, Tumblr itself can either be your best friend or a place to get ridiculed. Like any social interaction, it comes with its risks, but mainly its value is in 1) creating a blog 2) being able to easily post things to that blog and 3) being able to tag that blog so millions of readers on that site can find, connect, and bond with you. Plus Tumblr is most popular with teenagers, so if you’re a YA writer, you better line up in front of that sign-up sheet and say “Yes, please!”
So, it doesn’t have to be Tumblr, but any established blog site is definitely a strong tool in your utility belt.
This one seems obvious, but not for the reasons you think. Remember when you launch a book, this writer-author-thing becomes a job. So, what do other jobs have? A company page, right. So what do you need? An author page, yes!
Some of this is for professional reputation building, some for search-ability on the web (see creativeindie.com for more on that), and some for reader’s convenience. If they like your novels and can easily find updates about them, well–that’s exactly what you want! Give readers what they want, and make it easy for them, or they won’t hunt it down. Facebook is good for that, since they’re on there pretty frequently anyway.
As a side note, statistics say Facebook users see more content on the weekends, so maybe save your important updates for then, when more people are looking.
This new library of free, written content has been called the “youtube for stories” because of the interactive nature and brilliant amount of content. Some writes have millions of fans, comparable to those Lets Players or comedy acts on youtube. While the usefulness of this site is still being debated in relation to traditional publishing, self-published author can make use of this great opportunity without much fear.
Remember that as self-published authors, you are not trying to make money initially. You’re trying to get discovered. Discovery takes talent, effort, handwork, and sacrifice. Like writing of free. Now, I suggest not taking that lovechild novel, the one you’ve slaved over for years, and pasting it across the site for everyone. No, instead, use this medium as a way of sharing your indulgent stories, the stories that dance in your head sometimes but you know won’t make you money. These babies may find the perfect home in Wattpad, and letting them roam free across this site will help connect your with readers who like your work. Then, you can direct them to greater novels that will help you sell books and keep toaster strudel on the table.
With all these in mind, it’s important not to abuse the sites and what they were built for: social interaction.
Yes, they can help you sell books.
Yes, they can build your platform.
Yes, they might be a way to make money eventually.
But remember WHY they can help with all these things. Because they lead you to meeting new people, bonding with them, and joining into a circle of like-minded individuals who love what you love: stories. Don’t rape the intentions of these sites for money. Use them for their best possibilities, and remember to respect others on them.
That’s the real way to succeed–being nice.
Plus, you get the bonus of making valuable friends along the way. Who doesn’t want that?
Were-vampires, that’s who.
Don’t be a were-vampire. Be a human being, and act like it, no matter the site.