I think it's in an author's genes to despise social media.
We don't like to market ourselves. Many of us don't even like social situations. Seriously, if I could just stay home all the time. . .
Anyway, back on point.
But we live in the Social Media Era (so to speak). Doesn't seem like it's legit unless the company/brand/business has Social Media Accounts.
So as you are already running around like a crazy person trying to get your book formatted, edited, and listed on the sites of your choice, you suddenly find yourself asking "What is a TWEET and how do I do it??"
Let us help.
But first, a word from Ann, and all of the SIA Mods.
When it comes to social media, you need to remember that the world is watching -- unless of course you so highly restrict your privacy settings that your fans cannot find you, in which case I have to ask: what's the point?
So let's just get this out of the way: there are some people who are not going to like you. They won't like your work. They may even hate your work. They may attempt to drag your name through the mud. BUT RETALIATING AGAINST THESE PEOPLE WILL ONLY HURT YOU.
Yes, that's right. You are the only person who will get hurt from attempting to take on these negative reviewers and social media naysayers.
So the next time you get a bad review or a backhanded compliment, or are outright insulted by someone who's read (or maybe hasn't read) your book, just keep this in mind:
And yes, this is an actual fortune cookie that I got via my favorite Chinese restaurant. It's sitting on my desk as a constant reminder that "haters gonna hate." And as that famous comedian said (I'm paraphrasing here): "Got someone who hates you? Good. Try to make it 2 by next year." (Paraphrased quote via Katt Williams)
"Remember that art is subjective, even yours. People have a right to their opinion. You, as the artist, have done your job. You have created art. They, as the consumer and critic, are doing their job by expressing their opinion. Trying to control their opinion is the first step on the path to being an Authorhole. Don't be an Authorhole." (VM Sawh)
For more on your public personae, Click Here!
Now, to tackle Social Media. . .
Start with Facebook because it's simple and chances are you already have a personal account. Now you have to consider whether or not you want an author page (you do), a book page, a character page, or all of the above. This is regardless of whether you write under your real name or your pen name.
Step by step instructions will follow soon.
Once you have an Author Page or a Book Page, you have a couple of marketing options. The first is to drive organic traffic to it - that is free word-o-mouth traffic. Link to your page from your website, your other social media accounts, in your ebooks, etc.
If you'd like to go a step further, Facebook offers pay per click advertising. Which means that you can use their system (which is extremely detailed) to narrow down your search terms to people who use Facebook and list Fantasy books as a "like" and then pay a small amount (based on how many people are targeting those keywords) for each time one of those individuals clicks on your ad.
Sound confusing? It's really not.
To be honest, I never wanted a Twitter account. I fought it for months before someone (a marketer) finally convinced me to sign up.
Then I got my first 500 followers and it didn't seem so bad.
I met my first fellow Indie Authors via Twitter: Shawn Wickersheim and V.M. Sawh. It is a great place to have short, fun conversations with people who have similar interests as yours.
Let's look at the Twitter basics. First of all, let me say: DO NOT PAY FOR TWITTER FOLLOWERS. Got it? Good.
It is fairly simple to grow your own Twitter following. In fact, it moves quite rapidly until you hit your 2,000 mark. Twitter will not allow you to follow more than 2,000 people until your own following is over 2,000 people. Remember that cap. It doesn't seem like a problem until you're going through it and then it's quite frustrating.
The sole problem with Twitter is that it is easier to connect with other authors as opposed to readers.
But again, Twitter has an advertising solution for that.
Most of you know of Support for Indie Authors through Goodreads. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of you know us through Goodreads.
Goodreads is an excellent resource for authors. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that as soon as your book launches on Amazon, Smashwords, etc, you should immediately hop over to Goodreads and upload your Cover, Blurb, and set up your Author Profile.
Next? Well, if you're launching a paperback, I highly recommend hosting a giveaway for your book through Goodreads. Not only will this draw readers (because who doesn't love getting a free copy of a book?) but it will give you a little bit of publicity and it only costs you the price of a book, plus shipping (and you get flat rates via USPS for shipping books/aka media - but you probably already know that).
From there, join some forums -- preferably ones that fit your writing genre. And refrain from bookwhacking (Definition: Art of throwing your book in someone's face during casual conversation - VM Sawh)
Participate in legitimate and beneficial conversation. Meet some people. Make some connections. Don't use any excuse to throw your book into the discussion. Keep it "spam" clean. Believe me, this is important. Consider it building up author karma. Not only will readers and fellow authors take you more seriously, but people will be more likely to actually read your book.
Instagram? Isn't that for photographers?
Nope! In fact, everyone is on Instagram these days. Seriously, wouldn't be surprised to find my Grandpa on Instagram.
So instead of 146 character posts, you post a picture, a short description, and apparently as many hashtags as you want. Again, gaining followers is quite easy as people are just as addicted to it as they are of Twitter.
This is great for pushing out your cover image, any ads you may have created, pictures of you writing, your view while writing, your morning cup of coffee/tea/vodka (we don't judge here).
The point is that this is one of those Social Media accounts that you can have some fun with while connecting with readers and fellow authors.
A.K.A Your Social Media Salvation.
Seriously. This is a free resource where you can link 3 social media accounts and pre-schedule as many posts as you want.
The great thing about Hootsuite is that they will grow as you grow (for a fee of course) but to start out, it's free. There are tutorials to walk you through every stage of it, and so far, my experience with their Customer Service has been exceptional.
Why I like Hootsuite as opposed to other Tweet generation programs is that your posts are still your own. But both Twitter and Facebook have made it well known that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in their book. The more you post, the more likely you are to show up in your follower's feeds. So you need to be posting on both Twitter and Facebook multiple times a day - and really, who has time for that?
Hootsuite allows you to set these up in advance post throughout the day OR you can post to all your social media all at once with one simple blast.
If you have a gmail account, I'm sure you've seen the little "Google +" icon hovering around here and there in your inbox. If you're anything like I am, you probably figured if you've never heard of it, you don't need it.
From the time I've spent in it, it seems to be a combination of Pinterest (in appearance), Facebook/Twitter (in functionality), and a little like gmail in that it is owned by Google. It considers itself a "micro blogging" platform.
Is it going to increase your online visibility? Depends on how many people you know who are also on there. But it sure doesn't hurt to have an additional place pointing back to your author profiles, websites, books, etc. Google loves its own searches leading back to itself. ;)
But seriously, if you don't have a gmail account, you should consider it. You get some storage space on the cloud, access to Google Docs, Sheets, etc. And Google Hangouts is how I communicate with all of my moderators.
Another great time waster!
I log on to look up a specific video, like how to set up a DIY canister filter for my 55 gallon aquarium and then all of the sudden I'm learning about queen bed sized hamster cages that are set up with moss, real plants, sand, etc. And don't get me started on the baby goat and micro pig videos. . .
More and more authors are creating their own YouTube channels to promote their book trailers or even to read snippets of their own books.
You could also create your own Playlists for music videos that inspire you.
There's a lot of fun to be had, especially if you enjoy putting together trailers, or even recording yourself. (I know my husband can't be the only one who enjoys the sound of his own voice! ha!)
At first glance, Pinterest just seems like a big time waster. I mean, it is on our list of "Favorite Procrastinating Methods." But it also has some great exposure and marketing opportunities for us authors. Here is what I use Pinterest for:
- Listing my favorite books
- Listing the books I've written
- Inspirational Posts (images, book covers, character inspiration)
There are also some great writing prompts (getting words on paper is the first step) as well as some awesome organizational tips.
Pinterest is basically just a big bulletin board.
So how can you use this to your advantage as an author?
Make graphics with quotes from your books and post them. Post the covers to your books and link to your website. Make sure you check the Pinterest terms and conditions before doing so, but pushing your content on Pinterest, especially when they're graphics you designed yourself.
And of course, there are paid options. But there's so much you can do for free for starters!
By VM Sawh
Wattpad is the web’s top platform for hosting and posting your own stories to the largest audience of readers and writers online, boasting over 65 million users. Headquartered in Toronto, Wattpad’s user base is global, with writers posting stories and updates from around the world in multiple languages, covering multiple genres and story types. With 90% of the activity coming from mobile devices, Wattpad caters to the millennial audience by offering opportunities for incremental story updates, reader comments and interactivity, YouTube video updates and building your online following via online notifications. Wattpad now has two tiers of service, Free and Premium. The latter paid service is now completely ad-free and includes a new Wattpad theme for your user experience. The new Premium plans range from $5.99/month to $59.99/year (with 2 months free).
By VM Sawh
- Serialize your fiction on a schedule. Post a chapter a week, at the same bat-time on the same bat-story. This will get people excited to see what happens next, like on Game of Thrones. Remember no murder-orgies please. Think of the children.
- Keep the chapters about 1500-2000 words. Short enough to read on a mobile device, on a free period before next class, or on the bus.
- Share your story with the community! Wattpadders are very active both on the Wattpad Clubs and on Twitter. Hashtag your story with #Wattpad or any of its derivatives to get it noticed. Take some time to find the right club that’s interested in your work and say hello! Most clubs will have a designated board for you promote your work.
- Cast your story! Wattpad wants you and your audience to dream, so cast your characters with whomever you like. You will have this option when you upload your story for the first time.
- As you upload each chapter of your work, feel free to link a book trailer or some music via Youtube to that chapter. That way your readers have the opportunity to add to enjoy some media while they read! Welcome to the future. Please enjoy your stay.
- Get your social media connections up! Wattpad is fully integrated, with cross-promotional links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, so if you don’t have those setup, consider Wattpad one more reason to do so. While you the Wattpadders might not necessarily follow your work to an Amazon Author page, they’re most likely already on the other social networks. More followers means more exposure on more channels.
- Use your Wattpad story link as a free giveaway to any potential readers. Wattpad allows anyone with the link to read the first bit of your profile and story without signing in. This serves the same purpose of the amazon link, without the added ‘Buy Now’ pressure.
- Make sure you tag your work! Tags help Wattpad sort your story into its appropriate category. Wattpad’s front page always has the trending tags, so see if your story matches up and go for it!
- Take part in a writing contest! Wattpad always has tons of them going on. They are all free to enter.
- Put a call to action hook at the end of each chapter. Each chapter counts as a read, and offers them the opportunity to say something, so make them count. Sometimes your readers will be so engrossed in your story they’ll forget to vote, comment and share, so give them a gentle reminder.