Many authors sign up to social media because they’ve been told they have to by their agent or publisher or on a blog on how to promote their writing. But once there, they’re not sure what to do! How much can you talk about your book? What should you write about? What happens if someone sends you a horrible message on Facebook? If you’re not sure how to strike the right tone as an author hopefully these tips from Digital Marketing Manager Katie will help…
1. Social media is not a sales tool
Having a presence on social media CAN sell books. But your presence should not just be about promoting yourself and your writing. Talk about things that are interesting to you. Have an opinion. Let people see an insight into your life beyond your book jacket. There is definitely a place on social media for talking about your books and reviews you are getting, and definitely a place for telling people to go and buy the book, but that can’t be all you talk about or people will switch off.
2. It’s not a one-way street
By this I mean: If someone tweets you or leaves a comment on your Facebook wall, respond! Interact with people who you find interesting, and respond to people who find you interesting. Use Facebook as your author page and ‘like’ pages (other author pages, brands or magazines that you feel are relevant to your books, publishers, whatever) that you’re interested in. Then make sure you regularly use Facebook as your author page and see what those pages are up to! When you see something interesting, like it or leave them a comment.
3. Be your (best) self
You should be yourself on social media, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that all sorts of other people read what you write. So if you have a bad week, try not to moan about it all day every day on Twitter. If you get a negative review on Amazon, don’t lambast that person on your Facebook author page. Imagine the editor of a magazine putting together a feature on you and then reading your tweets – how do you come across? Not every post needs to be witty and artfully constructed but you should try to be friendly and approachable.
4. Be prepared for negativity
Just as readers can leave you a one star review on Amazon, you do occasionally get people sending you negative messages. It hopefully won’t happen often (if ever!), but it’s best to be prepared. If someone is being rude or personally attacking you, I would advise not to engage with it. If someone has sent you something that upsets you, it can be hard not to immediately respond, but these things can easily get out of hand. Trolls feed off attention, so the best response is not to give them any.
5. Enjoy it!
I have made ‘internet friends’ on Twitter that have now translated into real life friendships (via group events and networking meetings, not ‘let’s meet at my flat for a coffee’ situations – be safe, kids!), and I know some authors have told me that it acts like a virtual water cooler for them – somewhere to take a break, chat to other authors, and find out what’s going on in the world. As long as you don’t let it become too much of a time suck, then it can be so much fun.