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!