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Monday, June 21, 2010

Social Networking for Authors ~ Kathy Carlton Willis



Today we’re going to talk about social networking. Some are afraid to start because they fear it will be addicting, stealing time from other more important tasks. I’d like to suggest that if I can social network for me AND my clients in just 3 hours a week, you can fit in half an hour every so often, if you plan well and discipline your time.



Acquisition editors are now asking writers what sort of social networking they have set up. This is part of our platform, and also shows we will team up with the publishing houses in marketing any books they contract with us.



SOCIAL NETWORKING



Writers can network with their readers, fans, audiences, and niche-markets, while building platform, creating test markets, and more, through social networking. You can even pick up assignments by being at the right place at the right time. Editors and clients will feel like they know you through your posts—like they know your work ethic, your style, your ability to meet deadline. I’ve received several new projects through social networking. At this time, the two most popular are facebook and twitter.



FACEBOOK



Wendy Gardner, of Gardner Publicity notes that facebook serves writers well because "Facebook allows you to create a fan/group or book page, where you can post a photo of your book cover, a synopsis of your book, and news, as well as send email messages to your fans or members without necessarily having to be 'friends' with them."



You can set your blog entries to also post on facebook, a great way to multi-task!



Get creative and use facebook in unique ways to interact with your readers while at the same time promoting your work. The main caveat is to remember NOT to sound like an infomercial—post updates in the same way ladies would visit across the fence while hanging laundry. If you wouldn’t say it in person to someone, don’t say it on facebook or twitter.



Ideas:

  • Use the “info” tab to post reviews of your books.

  • Use the “video” tab to post book trailers and vlog-casts.

  • Create book clubs for readers, and lead them through discussion questions as the group reads the book together.

  • Offer special deals.

  • Announce book signings and speaker events.

  • Post links to all the blog URLS for an upcoming blog tour.



Find the balance between personal and professional. It’s not the place for you to act like a frat-boy or housewife of “X” county, ESPECIALLY with photos. Stay consistent to your branding.



TWITTER



Twitter is like micro-blogging. In just 140 characters (not words) you update your followers on your current status. Add shortened links to URLS for any book reviews, blog posts, blog tours, etc as a great way to help drive traffic to other websites mentioning you and your projects. It’s fine to follow other writers, but also be sure to follow those who are in your niche-market. They might follow you back and learn of your work. Also consider following media—they are always looking for new guests.



Whenever you are going to be speaking, signing books, or doing an event of some kind, be sure to post about it in advance to encourage your followers to be there, and also post as it happens, to build excitement for those who cannot attend, and then later after the event, to praise those who made it possible.



Take an hour or two once a month to write as many twitter updates as you can brainstorm. Make sure they are quippy, have a great hook, provide a value-added service, or have some other reason to be of interest to the reader.



Schedule these tweets (twitter updates) on a scheduler program. I use:

Tweet-U-Later



Another highly recommended one—that I might try next month, is http://hootsuite.com. I’ve heard that:

  • It shows how many characters remaining.

  • It shrinks the links (URLs).

  • It pre-schedule tweets if you post them on hootsuite in advance with an assigned date and time.

  • It allows you to set it to limit updates at 122 characters (including the link), so others can retweet it without losing the link due to too many characters.



LINKED-IN



Originally a job networking site, LinkedIn has a more professional slant than facebook, though the process for setting up an account is very similar. It has sort of a resume feel to it.



Take some time to join groups related to writing, publishing, and promotion/publicity. This will allow you to network with others having the same interests, and also to learn new tricks of the trade from them. It’s a great place to ask questions and gather advice. Some even pick up writing assignments through this.



SUMMARY



You can join the world of social networking with a little planning, creativity, and discipline. And doesn’t that sound a lot like writing?



Today’s article is by Kathy Carlton Willis, wife to Russ, mom to Jazzy the Boston Terrier, author, editor, publicist and a certified CLASSeminars speaker. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Learn more about how she reflects Christ as she shines the spotlight on others at: http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com/ or http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.




3 comments:

Nike Chillemi said...

Great article.

I don't spend much time on Twitter or Facebook, but I do spend some each day.

I eaven use Twitter to share Bible passages and send prayer to people.

15 min on Twitter and Facebook each on a daily basis does it. I might spend more on a Saturday.

Audra Krell said...

I really like your suggestion for info tab on FB, as well as the idea to start book clubs. Thanks for this informative post.

Bonnie Doran said...

Thanks for the info. I didn't know I could link my blog to Facebook, so I'll have to check that out.