“Now that I’m Published…” Coping with Authorship Part 3: Social Media as Promotion

My first caveat for this post is Don’t do as I do, do as I say!

Because I do not have either a Facebook account or a Twitter account.  I don’t have an author page at either Amazon or Goodreads.  Am I the best person to write this blog? 

Perhaps I am.  Because I will tell you that I have resisted using social media for promotional purposes for my two short stories and therefore may very well have not tapped into an easy and affordable (can you say FREE) way to promote my work.

I have nothing against any of these forms of social media.  My reluctance has rested in the fear that these promotional tools would take even more valuable time away from my writing.  As fears go, it is not groundless.  I’ve seen how much time other people spend on Facebook; I know how often my students tweet.  Do I have that kind of time to log in on these sites?  No.  Neither do I want to create sites and not use them.  What is the purpose in that?  However, a happy medium needs to be explored, not just by me but by any author who wants to keep up with the quickly changing times.  If authors are going to be responsible for a substantial amount of their own publicity and promotions, we need to use all tools available to us.  Which includes the social media referred to above.

The first hurdle for me is to simply find the time to create author pages for Amazon and Goodreads and to figure out how to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Everyone has told me these are easy to do–they obviously do not understand the depths of my technological ineptness!  But I will take them at their word and report back to the blog citing how easy or difficult the experience was once all these tasks are complete.

The Goodreads Author Program is one of the most wonderful tools for authors. “The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers. This is the perfect place for new and established authors to promote their books.”  The site, which is linked above, offers the opportunity for authors to create a profile and promote their books–all free of charge.

Amazon’s Author Central is a similar venue for authors, but includes additional services, such as tracking your sales on Amazon and a help desk for questions the newly published might have.  Again, all it costs you is the time it takes to sign up.  Definitely worth it, in my opinion.  (Yes, as soon as I publish this post I will sign up.)

Facebook, THE social networking service, has been in existence since 2004 and has a current membership of roughly 750 million users.  All potential readers for your work!  You just need to “friend” them, and let nature take its course.  Apparently, you have the option of setting up a regular FB page or an author page.  Chris Robley explains how to do this and the advantages of it in his article Facebook for Authors.  He makes this process sound easy and very advantageous.  Be sure to check out Part II as well.  (And yes, I will be clicking his link and setting up my page.)

And finally, Twitter, the social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called “tweets”, to your friends, or “followers.” Because my students are constantly tweeting on their cell phones, I thought it could only be used on phones.  Live and learn.  E-How has an excellent article that tells you “How to Get Started With a Twitter Account.”  And The Savvy Book Marketer article explains just how to use Twitter as a book promotion tool.

So I am going to take the plunge–get into the social networking arena and see if my sales rise accordingly.  Even if they don’t for these particular books, I’ll at least have all this apparatus in place for the next one that comes out!

Please let me know your experiences with using social media for promoting your books.  Are there dos and don’ts you’ve found?  Great tips you’ve run across?  Please share!

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18 Responses to “Now that I’m Published…” Coping with Authorship Part 3: Social Media as Promotion

  1. Thanks for sharing BookBaby’s Facebook for Authors article! Let us know how all your book promotion goes. Hopefully you’ll still find plenty of time to read and write.

  2. Brenda says:

    Jenna, thank you so much for this post. I’m in the beginning stages too of making promotional sites. I just last week finally made a website. I’ve had face book for awhile and twitter–I keep forgetting to tweet. Guess it is best to have some of these up and running before the big day–if it happens, hehehehe.

    • jennajaxon says:

      Not if, but when it happens! Then you won’t be scrambling like me! I went to your website but couldn’t figure out how to subscribe. I’ll try again. Or else I’m already subscribed to it. Well, look out for me somewhere! LOL And thanks for commenting! Comments are my perks.

  3. D'Ann says:

    I’m not published, but I write as much as those who are. And I love Facebook. Don’t tweet, can’t ever see myself doing it. But it’s like anything, you can put a lot of time into it, or not much at all. Depends what you want out of it.

    Good post!

    • jennajaxon says:

      Thanks, D’Ann. I’m already putting a lot of time into FB, but I suppose setting stuff up always takes time. Especially when you’re rather inept at technological stuff like me. I’ll get the hang of it. :)

  4. Wonderful post, Jenna! Sorry I’m so late to the prom here, but I was Facebooking, twittering, and dealing with my author pages and website. Just kidding, of course, but only barely. Social media can suck down all your time quite easily. I strongly urge fledgling writers to eschew them until the book gets published. Spend your time writing and working toward that goal, and don’t waste it on media that won’t get you published sooner. You have to produce a product before you have anything to sell.

    • jennajaxon says:

      Well said, Patricia. There’s no need to promote a work that’s not published. Focus on getting published first, then deal with the rest of the merry-go-round. Thanks, for commenting!

  5. Lisa Kumar says:

    Ah, social media, something I love to hate. I know it’s important, but it feels hit or miss some days. One of the best ways to sell yourself is through word of mouth. For authors online, lining up reviews and interviews are a large part of that. Great post, Jenna.

    • jennajaxon says:

      I know how you feel, Lisa. That’s why I’ve been reluctant to engage in it. But I’m taking the plunge this week. I can always pull back if it gets overwhelming. And you’re right, reviews and interviews are great promotional tools as well. Do people do interviews on Facebook?

  6. I personally can see the benefits from a readers side of it. I am not yet published. But I have found books through facebook author’s pages and groups as well as networking with authors that I find on facebook and from goodreads. I am a librarian on good reads and add books all the time that I have read so that others can add them to their TBR (To Be Read Lists). I for one think that the internet is a lovely place to gain fans and improve sales…but that is just my humble opinion.

  7. Jennifer Lowery~Writer says:

    Hi Jenna! Great post. Especially for me right now as I just started a new blog. I, too, resist social media for fear it will take too much time away from my writing. I’m not yet published so I don’t have to worry about author pages or websites yet. I don’t have a clue how to twitter, but I do have facebook mainly for family and friends, but it also keeps me updated on blogs, events and things I would normally miss. I’m going to keep this blog as a fav because if I ever do get published I might need the links-even if the digital age is overwhelming :)

    • jennajaxon says:

      Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for commenting! Even if you’re not published yet, you should become a member of Goodreads and start networking against the day you ARE published. If people know your name, they’re more likely to take a look at your work. Good luck with your blog! You’re off to a great start!

  8. Lindsay says:

    And I forgot to say that if I spent as much time in the social network, when will I have the time to write, eat or sleep. Not to mention read a good book.

    • jennajaxon says:

      My fear exactly. I’ve alredy got 2 email accounts and this blog taking time. Four more sites to check (although Amazon and Goodreads probably once a day) is going to cut into my writing time. But we’ll see. I guess I can restrain myself somehow. LOL

  9. Lindsay says:

    Interesting post. By some miracle I’ve got a Facebook page. I tweet and am on LinkedIn and Goodreads. And my blog of course. I try to tweet once or twice a day but I’m not a fanatic as some and forget about posting on Facebook. My life just isn’t that interesting. Not even to me at times. Sure, I’ll post comments on one or two of the groups I’m on on Facebook but, only when I have something to say. And that ain’t offen. Having all these social sights is good as it does keep my name out there and in the long run that’s what matters.
    Good luck setting them up and let me know when you have your Facebook page and I’ll ‘friend’ you and follow you on Twitter

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