The Ten Commandments of Self Publishing Part 4: Law 6 – Social Media

Welcome back and happy holidays everyone! May the new year put us all on the best sellers list.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing a series of articles on the Ten Commandments of Self Publishing. The first three parts can be found here:

Ten Commandments of Self Publishing Part 1: website, beta readers, and editor

Ten Commandments of Self Publishing Part 2: Cover

Ten Commandments of Self Publishing Part 3: Trolls

I’ve met many authors who have written books, thrown them up on Amazon, Smashwords, and other indie publishing sites and sit back with their hands behind their heads while expecting the money train to make a stop in their bank accounts.

 

(Who still remembers Wesley Snipes?)

This is a bad attitude to have. As an author, you could have written the next “Lord of the Rings” that has the potential to sell more copies than the Bible. However if no one knows about it, how can anyone buy it? A book’s worst enemy (aside from typos) is being as obscure as Woody Harrelson’s hairline.

Luckily for us, the days of hauling a bunch of hardbacks in a nap sack to book fairs and conventions are long gone and with the use of the many social media platforms out there, we can promote our books while sitting on our couch and watching reruns of “How I Met Your Mother.”

Here’s a list of social media networks out there (I’ve highlighted the ones I’m currently using).

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

Google +

Pinterest

Blog

Email List

Forums

As you can see, there are a lot of channels you can promote your book. My advice is to choose three or four and focus on those avenues to develop a network of friends and followers. For this post, I’ll make some comments on the ones I’m actually active in.

FACEBOOK

I’m going to admit, I’m actually still figuring this one out so I can’t comment too much about it. If you do want to join my facebook page, check it out here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strange-Crow-Publishing/554659924560118

I’m still figuring this one out and when I do, I’ll do a post about it.

TWITTER

Twitter is one of my personal favorites. For those just starting out, you’re probably wondering how the heck do you get people to follow you. I’ve been using a pretty simple trick and it’s been working quite well.

Check it out at the following link:

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2012/06/11/coming-clean-about-my-twitter-success/

Okay, so now you’ve built your network of followers. What do you do next? Do you start spamming everyone about your books and creating self automated messages to all your contacts?

Hell no! Twitter is meant to build communities and create connections. Nobody wants to feel like their interacting with a cyborg spammer. Honestly, when I look at twitter messages that look like this:

#DEAL #BUY #IMAWESOME #BUYMYSHIT #FIVESTARS+1 #MYMOMLOVESIT #YOLO #BETTERTHANANYTHINGYOUVEEVERREAD #51SHADESOFGREY #BUYTWOCOPIES #KICKSKINDLESASS #ITWILLCHANGEYOURLIFE #STEPHENKINGMAYLIKEIT

I feel like my retinas have just been bludgeoned by hashtags. I’m not saying it’s wrong to promote your books, but limit yourself. I only do it once a day, maybe at most twice. But my main focus on twitter is to network, make friends, and have those friends become fans. I genuinely care about every single person that’s following me and I’m interested in what they have to say. In return, I find they’re interested in me as well and go out of their way to promote my work.

Twitter is great if used wisely, but if you end up spamming all your followers with countless self promos like a hashtag-tossing ninja, you’re going to get unfollowed fairly quickly.

For those that want to follow me on twitter, you can add me. I promise, only one-two shameless self promos a day =)

https://twitter.com/LWPatricks

Blog

I mentioned the blog and the author platform in a Part 1 but I thought I’d add a few things. If you feel the need to shamelessly self promote your book, this is the place to do it. Your blog is your temple and you can dress it up however way you see fit.

However make sure it’s interesting. The idea is for people to return to your blog and no one’s going to do that if you only have a promo of your book and nothing else after that.

Email List

On your blog, it’s important to try and create an email list, a network of people that want to hear about your work and what’s new in your universe. Every blog should allow people to join the emailing list and become a part of your personal community.

Here’s another tip: do not SPAM your email followers with shameless promotions every five minutes. Your emails to your list should be reserved for giving away gifts, inform them about upcoming promotions, and provide updates on new releases. It should not be used to say “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book” every hour, unless your goal is to find your way into a person’s spam filter.

On that note, here’s my shameless plug: you can join my email list at the end of this post. I’ll be giving away the first part of my book Shadow of Wrath for all my email list subscribers in the new year. You can read the first chapter at the following link:

Shadow of Wrath Chapter One excerpt:

Forums

I find forums a double-edged sword. Forums can be the greatest time suck if you approach it incorrectly and as well there are plenty of trolls roaming around these places. However it’s also where you can meet some truly wonderful people.

Currently I’m  on Goodreads (feel free to add me and see what I’m reading).

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6653579.L_W_Patricks

It’s a fantastic site and every author should be on it. I wrote a book for the YA genre so naturally I’m on all the YA discussion groups and actively participating in them. Once again, just because you’re in a forum doesn’t give you the excuse to spam people like crazy telling them to “Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.”

Here’s a pretty good website by Robin Sullivan on how to strategically market yourself on goodreads. You can read the entire article there. Despite recent controversy surrounding Robin’s publishing company, it’s still an amazing resource for any self publisher.

http://write2publish.blogspot.ca/2011/10/goodreads-101-part-1.html

I suggest focusing on two forums or reading communities. Goodreads is an absolute MUST. The second forum I would choose is something specific to your genre. If you write fantasy, find a forum devoted to fantasy books and reader discussions and actively participate. You can slowly introduce your books using the method that Robin suggests in her blog post.

So let’s hear it from you folks out there. What social networking tools are you actively on? Be sure to provide a link in the comments section so we can all follow you as well =)

Remember to sign up for my emailing list. As mentioned, I’ll be giving away the first part of Shadow of Wrath in the new year, and I promise, there will be no spam 😉

-L.W.