by Melissa Ford Lucken, aka, Isabelle Drake
As writers, we are ultimately writing for readers, not other writers. There are many, many more readers out there than writers. Readers think differently about books and stories. They don’t care so much about what an author “was trying to do” or “what the work says.” They just want something good to read. That said, how do you reach these potential readers on the many platforms available online?
Using social media to promote yourself and your work can be tricky. Too much of a “good thing,” like news about recent contracts or publications, can have the opposite effect. If there is too much obvious promotion, the audience will not perceive themselves to be a beneficiary but a target. So they disconnect which is the opposite of what you’re aiming to accomplish. Social media should be at least 80% fun stuff, brand relevant chatter, and brand relevant information. Postings should be created with the audience in mind and so should be relevant and interesting to the audience, not simply information about the author’s events and work. Ask yourself, what will my readership be interested in? The answer to that will be your guide for content.
Social media can accomplish to two key things:
- Establish and reinforce brand.
- Organize the brand.
Establish and Reinforce Brand
“Author brand” sounds kind of market-ey or contrived, but simply means thinking about who you are as an author and offering whatever your unique audience is interested in. That is news about your publications but also, and more importantly, related topics. Establishing and reinforcing brand can be accomplished by being consistent with postings, news, and chatter.
An author’s approach to “brand” should be sincere, obviously. It must be something the author is comfortable with and enjoys. One way to think of brand is as an abstracted version of the author, certain aspects of the author are highlighted while others are not. It is for this reason that an author may want to have separate social media accounts, one personal and one author. In addition to the advantage using a separate account to define author brand, personal privacy may become increasingly important as readership and expose increases.
Social media can drive the audience to the one central site, a place where all key information for an author is stored. For many authors the common source is their website or blog. There, readers can find what they are looking for along with other related items. The related items should be interesting and relevant to the reader–not just information about the author and his or her work.
An author can use social media to drive the audience to the central site by posting the putting links to the site out in the media. For example, links to individual blog posts can be posted on Facebook. These links should be relevant and interesting to readers, not simply about the author and the author’s work. Another example, covers and other images related author brand can be put on Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr and linked back to the central site. The goal in all these instance is for the social media to drive the audience to the central site. Once they get there, readers should be able to find what they looking for, but also other stuff that is connected to the author’s brand.
Interested in how I do it? Follow me.