Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Social Media

A few months ago I read that publishers and agents are much more likely to work with an author if they have an established web presence, including social media profiles. This makes a lot of sense to me, because I know the publishing industry is changing on a daily basis, and many publishers or agents just don't have the resources which used to be available to them for marketing and publicity. If a publisher sees a writer already has an established presence online (I learned later that this is called a "platform"), it makes working with that author more attractive, because it gives the publisher one less thing to worry about.

Reading that article is what made me get started with this blog. I already had a Facebook fan page, but I hadn't done a lot with it. When I learned that publishers are seeking authors who are willing to take over their own publicity, I added a Twitter feed and started keeping a regular web journal. I want to be able to show a publisher that I've established myself and keep up with posting, and also I want them to see that I already have an established fan base. This is most easily calculated through my Facebook fans. While 122 fans might not be as many as some people out there, I feel it's a good start.

Blogging has now become part of my job as a writer - it's a way to get my words out there, tell people how my work on different projects is going, and record my progress. I also love being able to talk about the different parts of the writing process that really interest me, as well as other topics like music and art. I've learned so much since I started blogging a couple of months ago, and made some great new friends.

I also love my Facebook fan page. I don't update it more than once a week or so, because I don't want to inundate people with my posts and turn them off. I try to post every couple of weeks about the blog, and once a week or so I change my status message. I'm trying to keep a balance of online-and-active but not annoying.

My Twitter feed is fun to play with, but I don't use it as much as I should. I have found a couple of new friends and followers through Twitter by using their search engine and striking up a conversation on related interests. My newest follower, Ryan from Iowa, is a Murder By Death fan, and that's how I found him - by searching for @murderbydeath in the Twitter search field, then tweeting to him about the concert this weekend and my blog post about it, complete with a photo of Sarah, the cellist. There are a lot of wonderful ways to utilize Twitter that I haven't played with yet, but I'm working on it.

The website will be up soon, and I hope I can integrate these blogs with the website. I've been told it shouldn't be that hard to do because it's a WordPress website, but I wonder if my blog followers will still be able to see my updates if I'm posting on the website instead of directly to blogspot? Has anyone else had any experience with this?

I'm having a lot of fun establishing my "writer's platform", and the more I work on it, the more I feel like a (flourish of trumpets, please) REAL WRITER. It helps me get my headspace into where it needs to be - that is, making things up and writing 'em down is my career, and punching in and out at my daily grind-job (a la Clark Kent) is only how I pay the bills. It's gratifying.

What are some other social media sites you would recommend (or NOT recommend)? Any and all suggestions are welcome.


Lola Sharp said...

Man, I don't know what is up, but I had no problems with anyone elses blog, but with yours I STILL can't follow you. Why would this be?? Thoughts? Ideas? Help?

It worked for EVERYONE else, BUT YOU.

I'll keep trying to figure the darn thing out. In the meantime, I have you in my feed reader.

Oh, and I do not, nor will I ever, facebook. Blogging is more than enough of a time suck for me. I don't twitter either. But I don't want to say never on that one. ;o)

Hart Johnson said...

Lola, if you get naked and THEN press follow, it should work fine


Excellent post with all the different strands--make it easy--I fanned, I followed... Oh, I know, how many people are you reaching if you have the SAME 30 people on every site, but I think it still helps, PLUS whatever that Publisher is looking at will have bulked up numbers if the people you can count on are all over.

I don't have a FAN page, as I'm not yet published, but I LOVE your approach of once a week--my writer's profile in box does get totally inundated and it makes me not want to open any of it. I hate the '3 posts a day' fan sites.

My biggest success has probably been my blog, and I owe THAT to finding a mentor of sorts to follow around doing what she did... nothing wrong with emulating the queen...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've only done Blogger and Twitter is still on my to-do list. Good for you for getting a jump on this stuff.

Helen Ginger said...

You're doing a lot. I blog and tweet and am on LinkedIn, but not Facebook. I should look into it, but just worry that I'd have time to keep up with it. I'm already squeezing in writing in-between editing work.

Straight From Hel

B. Miller said...

Thanks for all your great comments. Hart, I started the fan page so publishers would see I already have fans, many of which would buy a book I've written. Maybe you should think about starting one up for yourself - I know I'd be a fan! It is hard keeping up with all this stuff (especially without regular internet service) but I just try to look at it as part of my job - the technical/office part. And Lola! Of course my profile's being contrary... it's MINE, after all, and it seems like lately everything related to me has to be just a little more difficult. I'll keep commenting on your blog though, you won't be able to forget about me! :)

Lola Sharp said...

I hope you are fighting off that cold. Take your vitamins!