As a newly published writer, it’s easy to think that if you got your name on every social media site in the world, it would increase your visibility. But the truth is, self-promotion on social media is a time-consuming effort that takes away from your important tasks: reading and writing. And some sites can actually harm you. Here are few tips that I have had to learn (some the hard way) about an author’s use of social media (Not expert advice. Use at your own discretion).
1. Amazon KDP Community-Avoid!-Have you ever noticed that if you go on a public discussion or forum, there are always the same people on there 24/7? And the whole thread is a tedious series of nonsensical bickering, one-upmanship, and off-topic rants? And that very few posts actually relate to the original topic? Like almost all public discussion board, the KDP community has unfortunately been taken over by trolls and cliques. Entering there is like jumping into the Nile River while wearing Lady Gaga’s steak dress. Nothing good can come of it. All those people in there will do is bring you down. If you have a question, contact Amazon directly or ask a trusted fellow author. Don’t put your name up in the KDP community (or any other public discussion board).
2. Goodreads-Use with Caution-This is a wonderful resource for authors, but going in there can make you a target for vindictive people who amuse themselves by giving out hateful reviews (without actually reading your book). This has not happened to me yet, although I did have a run-in with a particularly nasty user (long story). I haven’t confirmed this, but apparently there was a group of female writers who would gang up on other writers and give them a series of nasty reviews. If this is true, it is unbelievable that women who are sophisticated enough to write a novel would resort to such juvenile behavior. However, most of my experiences on Goodreads have been positive, as the vast majority of people use it for the right reasons. just be selective about which groups you join, and even more selective about what you say in them (see my note above about public forums.)
3. Bookdaily-Not helpful-I did not see any increase in sales when using BookDaily, in spite of the 23,000 emails they supposedly sent. Not worth the money.
4. Facebook-Not helpful-Unless you have a large number of folks who “like” your author page, it is useless to get the word out about your story on Facebook, as the post will only be seen by friends and people who like your page.
5. Twitter and Google Plus-Somewhat more Helpful-I have connected with some awesome writers on Twitter and Google Plus. I don’t think it;’ a coincidence that I see a spike in my book sales after a mutually successful review exchange (speaking of which, I am going to write a post later tonight about the pros and cons of review exchanges). Having other people talk you up on social media is hands-down the best way to win readers.Your individual tweets will be drowned in a sea of other tweets, so make sure you introduce yourself via direct message (but be careful not to be pushy-this has a way of turning people off). The communities on Google Plus are only useful if you take the time to interact with others. Since these are not free-for-all discussion boards, they are mainly troll- and spam-free. There are sites that will tweet your book,but once again they tend to get lost in a sea of other tweets. For this reason, paying for tweeting service is a waste of money.
6. Blogs-Helpful This blog has also been helpful in helping me connect with other writers, but is only useful if you update it regularly and don’t talk about the same thing all the time (namely, “Why You Should Buy My Book-Part 63 1/2”). One bold follower emailed me directly and offered to buy and review my book if I would do the same for him. While contacting someone on his or her personal email is potentially risky, this writer was very professional and directly, and to be honest, I was impressed by his frankness. While I don’t advocate spamming, if a blogger has left his or her contact information, then do not hesitate to drop them a line (just don’t be spammy or pushy). (and if you’re a blogger who does not want to be contacted, don’t post your email for the world to see).
7. Paid reviews-Don’t-These people are in the business of telling you what you want to hear. An artificially inflated review will only disappoint genuine readers, and your reputation will suffer. Besides, this is unethical, the literary equivalent of a teacher who gives an A without expecting quality work. Listen to your reviews, and let a negative review make you better, not bitter.
8. My final word of advice-be like the Wizard of Oz, a larger than life presence veiled by a curtain. You want to make Dorothy want to risk an encounter with the Wicked Witch of the West to get to you. You want to get the word out about your writing, but you don’t want to make yourself a target for unsavory people who are masquerading as serious readers and writers. You also don’t want to get a reputation as a troll or a spammer.
Does anyone else have any tips they care to share? Happy writing!