Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction), Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/RonieK).
Twenty years ago, writers didn’t have to worry about Facebooking, Tweeting, messaging, texting, or anyone of the other seemingly hundreds of other social media colloquial. They wrote stories and communicated with readers (mostly) through their publishers. Our culture today is quite different, and so is the publishing world. If you’ve blinked lately, you might have missed some things—like internet etiquette in this rapidly changing world.
In the last almost three years since my first title released, I’ve been watching the leaders, the movers and shakers among writers. Admittedly, this whole writing and participating in social media gig overwhelmed me at first, and some days, it still does. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Balance – It’s important to find a balance. We’re writers, so we need to WRITE! However, the industry is such that we also have to engage readers, who “demand” that interaction and are less understanding of those who don’t take the time to get to know them. Personally, I find Facebook much more integrated (despite its annoyances and ever-changing privacy issues) and easier to engage with readers. Some prefer Twitter. Find what works for you and then. . .WORK IT! Establish yourself there.
- Dirty Laundry – One of my books contained a scene that I knew some readers would take issue with. And they did. A few raked me over the coals, gave me bad reviews, called my faith/integrity into question. It hurt—bad. And I made the mistake of commenting about it on Facebook. Big mistake. Big. Huge! Your readers are watching and if you end up whining a lot or complaining, they’ll find other authors to spend time with. Keep your focus on your faithful readers, not on the small percentage of negative people. In essence, show your fans you appreciate them. Think about it—we all prefer to be around people who can see the sunshine on a cloudy day. As they say, iron sharpens iron. *That* is the influence I want to have—to challenge others to be better. We do this through our fiction, but now we have the opportunity in social media to apply it to our everyday lives.
- Be Authentic - Readers definitely want to know about your books. After all, that’s how they probably discovered you in the first place. But it gets old if all you do is talk about how great your books are. Show readers glimpses of the real YOU. Be authentic. (Be cautious at the same time—see point #4), while remembering to keep things positive and upbeat. I’m not saying be fake—but it’s easy to be grumpy and complain. Did you get ripped by a reviewer? Well, get on Facebook and thank a reviewer who encouraged you. Turn that negativity on its ear!
- Guard Your Privacy – if you’re going out of town, don’t announce that publicly. Also, if you have small children, experts generally advise that you not use their real names. Our family endured some drama when a woman ingratiated herself through my page on a social media outlet, then friended my then-14 year old daughter. Next thing we knew, this supposed woman had my daughter’s full name, phone number, address, and had put my daughter in contact with two older men. She then offered to “come and get” my daughter. It happens, so just be alert and smart with information provided publicly.
- It’s Not About You – When readers claim a favorite author or favorite book, it’s generally because there is something in the story that resonated with them, something they could relate to. That’s what this entire gig is about—relating. If authors monopolize time with discussions about THEM, readers will lose interest. I know I sure do. Engage your readers with questions like “what do you. . .?” or “what is your favorite. . .” The amazing marketing guru, the Great Rudini (aka: James L. Rubart) once told me that the reason people will buy books is because they like you.” Relationships have to be built, and building requires engaging. So, talk to your readers. Find out what’s happening in their lives. Go to their pages and see what they’re up to. I realize many of us are insanely busy outside of writing. I homeschool all day, then have to write at night, but I take a moment here/there to pop in on Facebook and see what’s happening.
- Have fun!! Don’t we all want to be where there’s laughter and smiles? Then create some of your own. Have fun with those who are willing toe engage and the “party” will become contagious and draw others. I was told at one of my first signings to have people (family) gather around my table because it would draw others to find out what’s going on “over there.” Draw your crowd to your social media preferred site by creating a stir! Some like controversial stirs, some like comedic stirs, others like relational stirs. Find what works, and WORK IT!
Please comment below!!
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