I guess you could consider this a post script to my post about spamming on social networks. A new facebook friend recently asked me how I promote. She mentioned she had noticed that I have a lot of friends, and a lot of reviews on my books. She wondered if I was doing anything special. I intended to pop a quick answer back at her, but realized, she was really interested in my answer and I owed her to treat it with courtesy. As I wrote, I thought others might benefit from my response.
When I first started writing, I wasn't even ON facebook. I had a blog, but I didn't feel I had that much to say. And as for facebook, truth be told, I had an irrational fear of it. I thought people would be unkind, laugh at what I had to say, and anyway who would care? Who was I anyway? I finished writing my first book and the publisher who welcomed me told me I was just a bit nuts not to be on facebook. I was told it was a great marketing tool, so in July I think, of last year, I joined up.
I was amazed. I found people who were going through the same things as I. I found fellow writers, published authors and friends. Another discovery was blogs. I loved them! I learned more about the publishing business than any class would ever teach me. And then, I took an even bigger step. I joined Twitter! Even now, admittedly, I haven't much idea what I'm doing. But in my blogging, my facebooking and my tweeting, I have learned one valuable thing: people want to know about you as much as your work.
I have blogged before about being annoyed by the constant marketing some people do, so I shy away from doing it myself. I will market when my book comes out, but I don't constantly pound my books in posts. Rather, I let myself be human. I may not name or allow photos of my family, but that doesn't mean they don't figure prominently in my facebook or blog posts. I give my readers a chance to get to know me as a person and an author. I give a glimpse, and sometimes way more than a glimpse, into my writing process. I think social networking gives writers today far more of an edge than previously published authors had in this respect.
I feel confident that my readers and, dare I say, even some I could call fans, follow me and join my blog because I don't just talk about my own books. I showcase other writers and their books, I offer advice that has worked for me, and I comment and invite discussion on topics in the industry important to both established authors and aspiring ones. I probably should do giveaways and contests, but they seem self-serving to me, so I don't. They work great for others and I applaud their efforts and success, its just not my thing.
What I do do, is try and blog on other's blogs as often as I can. I average 2-4 outside blogs a month. I guess it could be more, but as a working, writing, publishing, mothering wife, its a tall order. :-). I also invite others to blog occasionally on my site.
I like to think these things are working for me. I have great facebook pals and a good deal of activity on this blog, and better still, the books are selling. Well after their release date, they continue to sell. I suppose my point here is remember that you may be an author/writer now, but you have a whole other part to you. Let your readers in on that part too, and you'll have friends and followers galore. So, go ahead.....get social!