Social Media: A Necessary Evil
I think it's in an author's genes to despise social media.
We don't like to market ourselves. Many of us don't even like social situations. Seriously, if I could just stay home all the time. . .
Anyway, back on point.
But we live in the Social Media Era (so to speak). Doesn't seem like it's legit unless the company/brand/business has Social Media Accounts.
So as you are already running around like a crazy person trying to get your book formatted, edited, and listed on the sites of your choice, you suddenly find yourself asking "What is a TWEET and how do I do it??"
Let us help.
But first, a word from Ann, and all of the SIA Mods.
When it comes to social media, you need to remember that the world is watching -- unless of course you so highly restrict your privacy settings that your fans cannot find you, in which case I have to ask: what's the point?
So let's just get this out of the way: there are some people who are not going to like you. They won't like your work. They may even hate your work. They may attempt to drag your name through the mud. BUT RETALIATING AGAINST THESE PEOPLE WILL ONLY HURT YOU.
Yes, that's right. You are the only person who will get hurt from attempting to take on these negative reviewers and social media naysayers.
So the next time you get a bad review or a backhanded compliment, or are outright insulted by someone who's read (or maybe hasn't read) your book, just keep this in mind:
And yes, this is an actual fortune cookie that I got via my favorite Chinese restaurant. It's sitting on my desk as a constant reminder that "haters gonna hate." And as that famous comedian said (I'm paraphrasing here): "Got someone who hates you? Good. Try to make it 2 by next year." (Paraphrased quote via Katt Williams)
"Remember that art is subjective, even yours. People have a right to their opinion. You, as the artist, have done your job. You have created art. They, as the consumer and critic, are doing their job by expressing their opinion. Trying to control their opinion is the first step on the path to being an Authorhole. Don't be an Authorhole." (VM Sawh)
Now, to tackle Social Media. . .
Start with Facebook because it's simple and chances are you already have a personal account. Now you have to consider whether or not you want an author page (you do), a book page, a character page, or all of the above. This is regardless of whether you write under your real name or your pen name.
Step by step instructions will follow soon.
Once you have an Author Page or a Book Page, you have a couple of marketing options. The first is to drive organic traffic to it - that is free word-o-mouth traffic. Link to your page from your website, your other social media accounts, in your ebooks, etc.
If you'd like to go a step further, Facebook offers pay per click advertising. Which means that you can use their system (which is extremely detailed) to narrow down your search terms to people who use Facebook and list Fantasy books as a "like" and then pay a small amount (based on how many people are targeting those keywords) for each time one of those individuals clicks on your ad.
Sound confusing? It's really not. Screen shots coming soon.
To be honest, I never wanted a Twitter account. I fought it for months before someone (a marketer) finally convinced me to sign up.
Then I got my first 500 followers and it didn't seem so bad.
I met my first fellow Indie Authors via Twitter: Shawn Wickersheim and V.M. Sawh. It is a great place to have short, fun conversations with people who have similar interests as yours.
Let's look at the Twitter basics. First of all, let me say: DO NOT PAY FOR TWITTER FOLLOWERS. Got it? Good.
It is fairly simple to grow your own Twitter following. In fact, it moves quite rapidly until you hit your 2,000 mark. Twitter will not allow you to follow more than 2,000 people until your own following is over 2,000 people. Remember that cap. It doesn't seem like a problem until you're going through it and then it's quite frustrating.
The sole problem with Twitter is that it is easier to connect with other authors as opposed to readers.
But again, Twitter has an advertising solution for that. Screen shots coming soon.
Most of you know of Support for Indie Authors through Goodreads. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of you know us through Goodreads.
Goodreads is an excellent resource for authors. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that as soon as your book launches on Amazon, Smashwords, etc, you should immediately hop over to Goodreads and upload your Cover, Blurb, and set up your Author Profile.
Next? Well, if you're launching a paperback, I highly recommend hosting a giveaway for your book through Goodreads. Not only will this draw readers (because who doesn't love getting a free copy of a book?) but it will give you a little bit of publicity and it only costs you the price of a book, plus shipping (and you get flat rates via USPS for shipping books/aka media - but you probably already know that).
From there, join some forums -- preferably ones that fit your writing genre. And refrain from bookwhacking (Definition: Art of throwing your book in someone's face during casual conversation - VM Sawh)
Participate in legitimate and beneficial conversation. Meet some people. Make some connections. Don't use any excuse to throw your book into the discussion. Keep it "spam" clean. Believe me, this is important. Consider it building up author karma. Not only will readers and fellow authors take you more seriously, but people will be more likely to actually read your book.
More to come. . .
Instagram? Isn't that for photographers?
Nope! In fact, everyone is on Instagram these days. Seriously, wouldn't be surprised to find my Grandma on Instagram.
So instead of 146 character posts, you post a picture, a short description, and apparently as many hashtags as you want. Again, gaining followers is quite easy as people are just as addicted to it as they are of Twitter.
This is great for pushing out your cover image, any ads you may have created, pictures of you writing, your view while writing, your morning cup of coffee/tea/vodka (we don't judge here).
The point is that this is one of those Social Media accounts that you can have some fun with while connecting with readers and fellow authors.
A.K.A Your Social Media Salvation.
Seriously. This is a free resource where you can link 3 social media accounts and pre-schedule as many posts as you want.
The great thing about Hootsuite is that they will grow as you grow (for a fee of course) but to start out, it's free. There are tutorials to walk you through every stage of it, and so far, my experience with their Customer Service has been exceptional.
Why I like Hootsuite as opposed to other Tweet generation programs is that your posts are still your own. But both Twitter and Facebook have made it well known that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in their book. The more you post, the more likely you are to show up in your follower's feeds. So you need to be posting on both Twitter and Facebook multiple times a day - and really, who has time for that?
Hootsuite allows you to set these up in advance post throughout the day OR you can post to all your social media all at once with one simple blast.
Coming Soon: Google +, Pinterest, YouTube, and maybe a few more