The Writer’s Bag of Tricks

More on Business, Oh My!

Social Media Primer

I know that you don’t want to hear this, this whole writing is a business topic. Really. I do. It is important, though, and so I am going to continue on before I return to my regularly scheduled topics.

As I mentioned last week, publishing is a business, and you, the writer, are also a business. It makes sense to think of yourself this way, to make a budget, and all that boring stuff, because it will help to set you up for success in the future.

One thing that you should definitely be doing now BEFORE you publish is set up an author platform. Social media might not be your thing and you don’t want to feel like a car salesman on twitter. But, here’s the thing. I have seen some really great books get rejected because the authors didn’t have a social media platform. The rejections were a business decision that the publisher made because the publisher is able to reach their own followers and readers about new books, but the publisher can not reach the AUTHOR’S followers and readers about the author’s new book. Only the author can do that. And if the author doesn’t have any readers, they don’t look like a very good risk to the publisher who expect them to do some marketing along the way.

Developing a following on social media takes time, but if you start now, before you publish, even before you have finished chapter one, you will have a leg up. You can start building your social media following with just five minutes a day. If you are wondering what the heck you are going to say in your tweets, and Facebook posts, you aren’t alone. It’s a common issue. But what you should not do is post 500 times a day telling people to buy your book. For me personally, it’s the fastest way to get me to unfollow you on Twitter.

Let me ask you a few questions. What are you passionate about besides writing? Do you like seahorses and do you have a salt water tank full of them? If you took a picture of those cute darlings and said a few words about what is happening with your seahorses, you will build a following. If you talk about your seahorses 80% of the time, and about your writing 20% of the time, your prospective readers will eventually catch on that you are writing a novel, and because you have spent time every day developing a persona online there is a much better chance that they might buy your book when it comes out. Your topic can be anything, but it has to be genuinely something that you love, and that makes you, well, you. Maybe you really love thrift store bargain hunting. Maybe you really love picking up garbage. Whatever it is, use it to grow your following.

You can use something like Hootesuite (or similar apps) and connect all of your social media accounts together so that when you want to post something, it will go wherever you want it to go. Hootsuite is like social media headquarters. You can even use Hootsuite to schedule your posts in the future. Spend a few minutes on a regular basis and schedule your posts for several days. Keep in mind, too, that there are many social media options besides Facebook and Twitter. If you write YA you might like Tumblr, for example. There is Ello too. The point is discoverability, and the more you are out there, the better chance you have of being discovered by readers.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do because… Be professional and kind on social media. ALWAYS. If someone makes a negative comment, either ignore it, or delete the comment, or write a KIND response. Don’t shoot back that they are a dickhead, or whatever. You can’t win that argument in public, and you will just end up looking like a dickhead. Read this on Goodreads as an example of what NOT to do.

Make setting up your social media platform and keeping it active as part of your business practice even if you haven’t written a word yet. Social Media is now a standard part of being in business.

Next week: More dread business commentary

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