Social media is a necessary evil for all writers. If you are serious about driving sales to your book, you’ll know that social media is the hard work and that writing your book was the easy part. I spend a few hours a day on social media, socializing on Twitter, trying to drive traffic to this website. I need to start working on my Goodreads account and thinking of things for my FB author page. This social media is planned work, not something I do during my leisure time. In fact, my leisure time is reading and being with my fiancé.
How do you navigate this maddening world of social media? I can only give you my experiences, but hopefully they’ll be of some service to those drowning in the social media cesspool.
For one thing, a blog is a great thing to have, especially on your website. I use WordPress as my website because there are more templates available, they have a cleaner, professional look than BlogSpot, and it is so easy to follow others and leave comments without having to go through the annoying captcha crap because BlogSpot doesn’t have a good spam filter. Eventually I’ll buy the domain and change it, but I’m saving up my money. Having a blog on your website helps drive traffic to your other pages: your about me, your writerly works, and so on and so forth because it’s all right there. No need to have your website and blog separated. Heck, WordPress allows you to create your own template if you or someone you know is HTML efficient.
You can use your blog to update on you, your life, your writing life, you in general. You can do guest blog posts, interviews, book reviews, and giveaways. I’ll be doing a giveaway once I hit 200 followers. I’d like 1000+ by the time my book releases, but we’ll see. You’ll also want to give back. Comment on people’s replies to your blog posts. If you don’t have time, please mention this as a courtesy to your followers. If time allows, comment on their blogs. Go to the Reader and find blog posts there. Make Followers. Don’t expect anyone to follow back or read your stuff.
Get a Twitter account and use it correctly. I have been having genuine conversations with people on Twitter and have been gaining more followers as a result. Link your Twitter account to your blog so you can get more from there. Share links to your blog on your Twitter account, but only after you’ve conversed with people. Don’t spam your Twitter feed with links.
Get accounts on other popular social media sites, like Instagram and so forth. Keep blogging. Blog as often as you want and/or can and/or what works for you. Be persistent. People don’t build a following by sitting back and waiting for people to come. You will have to do some serious leg work to build a following. Quality blogging/Tweeting/whatever is first and foremost. Create something your gut tells you people will want to look at. Also, join writing forums to get you and your book out and around. While I’m not wild about AbsoluteWrite, it’s a great forum to converse with other writers and talk about your book without being branded as someone tooting one’s own horn.
Do whatever you can think of in the social media sphere. You and your book will thank you.