You’re an author. You’re not aspiring; you’re not soon-to-be-published. You are an author. Right now. Writing is what you love and writing about the stories and ideas in your head is what lights you up inside. I’m a story-teller myself, so I get the feeling.
What you may or may not know how to do is harness the reach of social media to market and promote your writing so that you may be a more successful version of yourself.
There are many ways to gain exposure via the internet and social media. This is the first in a series of posts that will describe several of the most influential and fruitful pathways, both common and less well-known.
Online Writing Communities
Communities such as Red Room and Writer’s Cafe are priceless for the value that you are able to take away. You can upload your profile and read posts and blogs written by authors that are already published. You can also join clubs and see reviews of other writers’ work.
It takes a simple Google search to find a wealth of possibilities. Writer Face allows you to have contact with literary agents. Talk about priceless. To know what lit agents are looking for because you had a conversation with several online? What are you waiting for?
Each one of these sites has niche communities within themselves for you to join and explore the Young Adult genre, so there’s no excuse. Join at least two right now. Even if they’re not the ones I’ve listed. Do your research and Google the crap out of it until you find at least two that fit your writing style and ambitions.
Social Media Networks
While Facebook has its advocates and its naysayers, it also has a lot of value packed into that addictive little interface. There are two types of Facebook accounts you can have: Profiles and Pages.
A Facebook profile is the general account people get to stay in touch with their families and friends and to play Farmville. (Here’s a hint: don’t play Farmville, go write another chapter instead.) There are limits to the numbers of friend connections you can have on a profile and, truth be told, this should be more of a personal account.
However, if you begin to add friend connections related to your writing – YA authors’ profiles, book clubs, local book stores, literary agents – then you are building a network of contacts that can provide a basis for a Facebook “page.”
A Facebook page is used for a branded organization/company/person/etc. These pages are the ones you can “Like.” Many professionals also use a page separate from their private profile to use as an online redirect for those who may be interested in learning of your professional accolades and accomplishments without getting to see that your Aunt Gert wants you to come rub her bunions.
Peruse the local writer’s groups and join them. Make your presence known on the discussion boards and share relevant articles and information related to your craft. The more you give of yourself, the more people will feel the need to reciprocate and that is how networking is done properly.
The key here is don’t become a spectator on your profiles. Pay attention to privacy policies and changes to the interface (the Facebook website.) They’re known for rolling out new privacy settings every few weeks in an effort to “make the world more social,” but that is not always a good thing. Remember to protect yourself, your private information, your work.
Twitter is a lot of networking power packed into 140 characters. You have a main feed of information like a Facebook wall except it’s called a timeline and it’s significantly more streamlined. The people you connect with are referred to as “followers” and it’s not a mutual connection like Facebook; you can follow someone that does not have to follow you back.
You can also group the people you’re following into “lists” and if someone wants to follow everyone in PR (public relations) that you follow, they can follow your entire list. Twitter has a keyword search function so you can seek out specific users who are related to those keywords.
Hashtags (# symbol) are used both as a source of sarcasm and humor, but more importantly as a way to follow certain conversations and chats that are happening strictly on Twitter. For instance, if you wanted to follow a particular conversation about young adult writers, you may find a chat labeled #yachat and type that into TweetChat which auto-amends each tweet with that hashtag.
If you couldn’t tell I like Twitter. A lot. I may need a 12-step program.
Anyway, if it all seems just too overwhelming to keep track of, there’s no shame in outsourcing the job to a social media strategist/specialist who can devote time and energy to representing you online. I know, for me personally, when I start writing I don’t want to stop to update my Facebook profile. I am in the zone and, if someone disturbs me, I’m not responsible for my actions.
Don’t murder someone over social media; it’s just not worth it. Do what you can and outsource the rest. Just do not ignore the marketing of yourself and your work. Don’t ever stop writing. It’s what you do; it’s who you are.
To find more articles for writers please check: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/index.htm
This is the first in a series of posts on social media for authors by Brianne Villano of Mindful Media Management . Brianne has edited for Laura Kreitzer , author of the Timeless Series, and has consulted on social media for countless others. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com for more information about social media functionality and marketing.