Social Media for Authors

BUT HOW DO I TWEETS?

I can't tell you how many older authors I've met who have no clue how to use social media. Many of them simply forgo the entire process and never create accounts. 

I MADE THE TWITTERS, WHERE ARE MY SALES?

Tweeting about your book constantly is about as good as placing pup-up ads with flashing lights in comic sans on your website. In other words, it actually makes people hate you.

SO WHAT DO I DO?

Firstly, you should use social media. Get on Facebook (make an author page), make a Goodreads account as an author, and get a Twitter. Obviously, more platforms can't really hurt if you use them correctly, so make accounts pretty much everywhere. 

Once you have your platforms under control, there are programs out there to help you streamline them and link them together so one post goes everywhere, increasing visibility. HootSuite is a decent one I know a lot of people use. Check it out.

Now that you have the basics under control, what do you post? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't spam your book every chance you get. What authors want to gain from social media is this: visibility, recognition, and impressions. How often have you taken a picture of a billboard outside and posted it to your Facebook? I really hope the answer is never. So when you tweet / post things that are just billboards for your books, no one interacts with them. No one shares those. You don't make impressions or gain visibility. In fact, you alienate people. No one likes ads. Ever notice any sidebar or header ads on this website? Nope. I hate ads too.

CONTENT!

Firstly, and you'll see this advice everywhere, be yourself. Post things you are interested in. See a cool article on your favorite sports team? Share it. Have a music video you love? Share it too. Have a wealth of funny jokes rotting in your brain? Tweet them out. Are you good at cosplay? Post your pictures all around. No one wants to feel like you are trying to get them to buy something, even if you are. What authors should focus on is developing a following related to their book ventures, but not directly tied to it. 

How do you do that? It actually isn't that hard. Make posts relative to your content area. Do you write horror? Tweet your favorite horror movies. Tweet articles about horror. Tweet horror art. Build up a following of people interested in your genre and then when those people find out you've written a book, they will be interested because they already respect you as an online entity.

Do you write fantasy? The same thing applies. Make posts about fantasy you enjoy. Share awesome fantasy art from all over the web. Grow your followers through your passion.

BUT WHEN DO I SIPHON THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS?

Once you have an established base of people who enjoy certain content from you, tweet about your book only when it is relevant. Don't just post a static link to your Amazon page. That harkens back to a bad billboard. What is relevant? Post when you have a sale. Post when you have a contest running on your website. Tweet new concept art for an upcoming book cover. That kind of thing. Don't just spam people with your links when nothing special is going on or you'll erode the base you worked hard to build. 

An author on a social media marketing panel I took part in once said only 25% of your tweets should be related to your books. I would argue to make it somewhere around 10%. People simply don't want to see that kind of thing. Think about it this way: if you were a reader in your genre, what kind of stuff would you like to see from an author? 

SHOULD I REVIEW OTHER BOOKS ON GOODREADS?

This one gets a lot of debate. Posting reviews is something every reader should do, author or not. But what if you hated a book? Check out my reviews section - I've hated a few. Do I post those reviews? I do. And I do it under my own name. A lot of people say to not post negative reviews as an author, but for me, my honest reviews are part of my image. People come to this website looking for honest reviews. People enjoy reading them. 

What's the downside? Starting a troll / flame war online is never a good thing. If you post a bad review calling someone out for typos, make damn sure you don't have any typos in your own work, and be ready to back up your claim with a picture or two if you must. To me, posting only good reviews is disingenuous. It feels fake and flaky. I have opinions and I have no problems backing them up. But again, that's my style. That image might not work for everyone. 

This post isn't meant to be an end-all guide to social media, just what I've learned over the years. Have your own advice? Post it in the comments. I'd love to see more / other perspectives.


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