Every day, I find myself learning something new about writing or publishing or promoting my work. I have decided to compile a list of things I wish I had known before I self-published for the benefit of those who are considering it and even for those who will choose the traditional route. What started as a list has turned into a four-part series in which I will discuss social media, finances, moral support and resources.
My Experience With Social Media
If you have been following my blog then you know that social media has been, in many ways, my biggest challenge. As I meet other authors, I find that I am not alone in trying to understand how to use it and why to use it. I have learned to embrace it although it took a few months. Unfortunately, its biggest downfall is time consumption. You have to be organized, see what works for you as a person and recognize which type of social media benefits you most as a writer. Personally, I find that I gain the most from my blog and from Twitter. I will explain in a bit.
Benefits of Social Media
- Almost every type of social media is an excellent way to build your brand (presence, name recognition, visibility)
- You have access to a large audience
- It allows you to create relationships, including a following
- It’s free or cheap advertising
What To Do
Note the first benefit: Almost every type of social media is an excellent way to build your brand (presence, name recognition, visibility). Let people know you exist and that you are a writer. Therefor, create your social media accounts and learn how to use them before you publish. Even with a traditional publisher, you will probably have to use these to promote yourself because, from what I have read, chances are your publisher will not be doing much networking for you.
The Social Media
I have a website but I am no longer convinced I need one. I am considering getting rid of it by fall and using this blog as a website. I spend more time here than I do on my site and I find it easier to update. I can pretty much do everything from here that I could do from my site so why keep it? As an unpublished author, I definitely wouldn’t worry about a website. I would focus on a blog.
Write about your writing and yourself. Find out who you are as a blogger. When I first started this blog, it sucked. I self-published a young adult story, but I had never intended to write for teens in the first place. I never imagined myself talking to teenagers or what to talk to them about. So who did I want for an audience, teenagers or readers? I didn’t know who my audience would be. I didn’t know what to write about. I didn’t know what to sound like. I didn’t know who I was as a blogging author. It took me some time to get comfortable, but it happened.
Here are a couple of links on blogging that can help:
There Are No Rules – Get Started With Your Own Website or Blog There are multiple posts linked in this post. Read them all.
Initially, I thought Twitter was for letting people know when I was doing laundry. I wasn’t interested in letting people know that and I didn’t think anybody else would be interested either. I was at a loss on how Twitter could benefit me. I finally found out that there seem to be two sets of tweeters: those who tweet about their personal lives and those who inform.
I started following a couple of industry publications which led to following a few of their writers. There are some amazing industry people on this. I have learned so much from them by reading the links in their tweets. I’m not very active, but the information I have gathered is invaluable.
I have yet to figure this one out! Keep in mind that it’s all about having an online presence. So get yourself a Facebook account. A little help: How Authors Can Use Facebook Pages for Their Book Marketing | The Official BookBuzzr Blog
Create accounts on Shelfari, Goodreads, LinkedIn, MySpace, and anything else you can think of. Link all of this stuff up so you can update one or two sites but appear to be active on all of them. Learn it all before you’re published because you will be able to use it all to launch your book. The best part is you might have readers to buy your book if people already know you exist and write.
My last bit of advice is start ASAP. Building a following takes time, so the sooner you start, the longer you have to reach an audience, the more people you will reach, the more people will be interested in buying your book once you publish it.
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