Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also the social media columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and social media coach for My Book Therapy.
You seem to have a very different approach to social media than most marketing experts I read. Can you explain your thoughts?
I approach social media from the writer’s point of view. I don’t have a degree in advertising or marketing. Because of that, I’m very protective of the time a writer has to actually write. To me, social media is the means to an end—the way to develop relationships with readers, other writers, and industry professionals. It’s not the way I earn my living.
How did you get started in social networking?
It came about because I got my dream job. I was hired as the managing editor of a Christian men’s magazine with a target audience of college age males. When I tool the job, it didn’t take me long to realize ninety percent of their interaction happened online, through social media. I had to either come up to speed on social networking to the point where I could lead a team or quit. I got busy and learned the ins and outs of social media.
When did you decide to start sharing your information with others?
I first began sharing what I’d learned with our local writers group, then online on my blog. I got an immediate, positive response so I just kept going. I hadn’t realized it consciously, but being someone who didn’t grow up in the digital era gave others hope that they could also conquer this new medium.
How did this particular book come about?
Back in 2011, the publisher of my devotional for military families, Eddie Jones, asked me to do a small eBook on social media for writers. I was busy with a lot of other projects, but agreed to send him my notes that I taught from to see if there was anything useful. Almost before I could catch my breath he had an eBook up on Amazon.
Social Media Marketing for Writers was super short, only about 28 pages, and sold for 99 cents. It took it less than a month to hit number one in its category on Amazon. And it stayed in the top five until we pulled it in August of 2012.
Why did you decide to take it down? As you may have noticed, anything digital changes drastically over the course of a year. Most of the how-to information in the book was no longer applicable. The principals I taught about social media and blogging still worked, but a lot of that little book was strictly how-to. For example, how to set up a Facebook account, or a build a blog on Blogger. All the interfaces of those platforms had changed, so the information needed to be rewritten.
Tell us about your new book.
Connections is a much more comprehensive book. It’s published by Susan May Warren at My Book Therapy. The largest portion of it teaches the principals of social networking. I include information about how to grow a blog, how to organize your social media, and which social networking platforms are important for writers. I also include tips on how to organize your social media life so you spend the majority of your time writing.
It sounds like this one won’t be obsolete in a year.
Absolutely not. I’ve worked closely with Susie to develop this into a book that will be helpful for years to come, and as well as immediately practical. For example, after each short article there is a list of Connect! Activities. These are designed to give the reader an opportunity to practice what they’ve just learned.
So how can we get the book?
Connections is available right now in the print version through the My Book Therapy website. (http://www.mybooktherapy.com/magento/connections.html) And for a short time, we’re running an introductory special for a 10% discount. When you go to checkout, just enter the code: Edie13 to get the discount. Later this month it will be available on Amazon in print and e-book version.