I was listening to NPR the other day and they were discussing a book (of course I can’t actually remember the name of the book) and had to laugh at the scene they were describing. The main character took a writing class, and the first part of the class consisted of creating an author platform before the book was even written. I laughed because, well, I can laugh at myself. As one of the social media people here at BookFuel, I promote creating that author platform that this book made fun of. It’s true; it does seem a little ridiculous. Even so, we encourage it because we’re in the business of helping self-published authors do what they can to promote themselves and their work and often times promotion starts before that book is even finished. So yes, laugh – but still do it. Creating an author platform requires social media. The following are the five sites we really like. It’s not to say you need to use all five, or limit yourself to these five.
1. Pinterest – are you surprised I’m starting with this one? I love it on so many different levels. First of all, it’s a great place for research. Not to worry they have the option of private “boards” so if you don’t have to share with the world you’re researching how to best dispose of a body. Social media isn’t just about promoting your work, it can be used for researching your next book, researching strategy, writing tips, books you may want to read, and how to make 300 freezer-to-crock-pot-meals in 30 seconds so you have more time to write. Once you get a following it’s a great way to promote your own blog, other social media sites, and your book. I suggest every time you get invited to post to a group “board”, you do it. That way you can “pin” your own posts and links to your book on a “board” that is going to reach more than just your followers.
2. Google + – Don’t just start a page, but join communities that share your interest. There are self-publishing, writing, specific genre, marketing, and social media communities. Many of them welcome writers to post their blogs and their books in their communities.
3. Blogging – we suggest creating your own website with your own domain name. If you need help with this we have a service that does this for you, you can check out our Website Creation service here. If you’re not in the market, Blogger and WordPress are free options (although you can pay and get an advanced design). Blog a couple times a week to build up a fan base. Pinterest has a lot of “pins” with blog post ideas if you need some inspiration.
4. Twitter – tweet often (you can schedule tweets from Hootsuite.com). I’ve found some great articles, inspiration, and authors on Twitter. What can we tell you about Twitter that everyone else hasn’t already said? Not much. Use it, it’s easy and won’t take you much time. Okay, that’s a lie, you can easily get sucked into the Twitter feed and never come out again. It’s like quick sand.
5. Facebook – as much as I didn’t want to mention Facebook, how could I not? It’s pretty much the social-media-baby-daddy. I’m not even going to get into the new algorithms, rules, whether or not you should do paid advertising – mostly because it gives me a headache just reading about it, let alone writing about it. As much as people hate Facebook, it’s here to stay, people use it.
When you use social media be sure to cross promote. Have your Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter accounts on your blog and post your blog posts on your other sites. Be nice – use social media etiquette and don’t just sell on your social media sites, be social. Most importantly have fun with it.