Sunday, April 22, 2012


Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how
everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unpublished authors need to be actively engaged with social media long before their first books are self- or commercially published. Three years before publication is a good goal to have in mind as you write the manuscript, but never less than six months.

If you are pitching your book to a reputable publisher, the acquisition editor nowadays looks for hard evidence of your activity and success on social media for their editorial board. This means the number of followers you have on Twitter; the number of "Likes" on your FB biz page; and the number of unique visitors per month to your blog. Yes, blogs are part of your social media profile.

If you plan to self-publish, you'll be fully responsible for your own promotion and you need the same amount and quality of social media engagement to sell your books as mentioned above.

Aspiring authors need to gain name and brand recognition first, which flows from joining in the conversations on blogs, on Twitter, on reader/writer forums, on Facebook biz pages, etc. Potential publishers, editors, agents, broadcasters, print journalists in your genre or NF field are all active in social media and you can learn much about them before you start interacting.

Your major aim is mentions on hi-traffic, influential blogs. It is here where the buzz about books and new authors begins.

So here's the plan:
  • Follow everyone you can find on Twitter who might be useful: published authors, publishers, editors, etc. (see above).
  • Collect the blogs you want to read in Google Reader and visit once a day to read those that post.
  • Identify the big blogs that fit your writing.
  • Search for authors' biz pages on FB and "Like" them. Study them and determine what works and what doesn't.
  • Target, target, target! Weed out those sites and individuals that are not suitable.
  • Then engage.
  • Comment regularly and helpfully on the most popular blogs.(This is a high priority as you want them to mention you and your book when it's published.)
  • On Twitter, start re-tweeting and responding to some of the tweeters you've followed. Then ask for help and post tips for others in your book's area of interest. Use hashtags to attract followers to you. E.g. #writing #publication #bookpromotion.
  • Set up your own FB biz page - either use your name or your book's title. Invite some of the people you've met on social media.
Social media recognition builds slowly and don't expect much to happen for the first six months. When I started travel writing, it took over a year for my name to be recognized and my work sought after in this field. Focus on these three platforms to start and later add a few more if you wish. Be patient and work steadily.
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