Social Media for Authors: Start Slow

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In a recent post about Facebook Author Pages, Nathan Bradford said:

When fan pages were first created, I think people were kind of nervous to get started on them due to the whole “fan” thing. It seemed a bit presumptuous to have a fan page when one wasn’t a celebrity. But Facebook pages are increasingly how people distinguish between their private and public networks. So even if you aren’t (yet) a published author, I would definitely consider creating a page for yourself.

Wow! Intimidating. Before you even have a manuscript to submit, you should get involved in social media? I strongly feel authors have a social presence. A friend finds this intimidating and asked for advice. I’d suggest a slower start than others. For one thing, you’re probably unsure of your goals for social media beyond name recognition. You’re unsure of whether you want to target writers, parents, teachers or readers (adult or kids). Dip your toes in for a while; wade a while.

Start Slow in Social Media

In Social Media: the turtle wins.Get a Business Email. Usually, this will be something like FirstLastName@gmail.com. Use this email to start accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Comment. Since you’re unsure of what manuscripts you’ll sell, and where you’ll fit into the chidlren’s literature world, take some time to look around. Use something like Alltop.com to find blogs to read. On Alltop, you just search for a topic–writing, moms, dads, teachers, etc–and find blogs.

Using your new business identity, read blogs and comment.
Pay attention to topics being discussed, the layout/design/platforms of the blogs and anything else that interests you.

On Twitter, don’t worry about posting, you can just attend a chat:
KidLit Chat
YALitChat

Or Follow some folks and Message them about their Tweets

On YouTube, watch book trailers and add authors and publishers as friends.

At first, set small goals. Maybe a goal of 10 comments a day. That should help you make the rounds of blogs that interest you. It lets you see your options. You can go to AllTop.com and search for writing blogs, moms blogs, reading blogs, or whatever.

OR, if you like Facebook, try posting daily and Liking 10 things daily.
If you like creating videos, post a new video weekly and comment on 10 other videos.
If you like Twitter, post one thing daily, and Message 10 people daily.

Well, you get the idea.

Notice What you Notice

Meanwhile, notice what you notice. Which blogs draw you back over and over? What topics do you comment on? Why? Which platform do you like: FaceBook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube? Do you gravitate toward things for readers, parents, educators? Are you drawn to info about picutre books, nonfiction, YA/Teen lit?

Start slow, start small. Notice where your interests lie. Read tutorials on platforms that interest you. And when you’re ready dive in. Yes–you should do it sooner, rather than later. But if you don’t have a mss ready to submit, you’ve got time. Use it to find a niche that you can sustain.

4 Comments
  • Ella Schwartz
    March 30, 2011

    Thank you for this. I started a blog about 2 weeks ago with the goal to build up my social media presence. My blog traffic has been abysmal, but of course it’s brand new! I keep telling myself to keep at it. If you build it they will come, right? In the meantime, I am learning the ropes of twitter and learning a lot. I’ll try to remember to take those baby steps.

  • Darcy Pattison
    March 31, 2011

    Ella:
    Exactly! It takes a while to find your audience and to find your stride. Just enjoy the process!
    Love the design of your blog! http://ellaschwartz.net/
    Darcy

  • R.A. Lee
    January 18, 2012

    Thank you. I am a novelist always looking for tips.

  • Guest
    September 28, 2012

    I’m thinking of just outsourcing the whole bit. I’m a loner by nature and actually find the act of social anything — online or off — psychologically painful. If the new advice is to think of one’s writing career as a business, then why shouldn’t a business owner have “employees” to do non-priority tasks the individual has neither the time nor interest to do?

    My feeling is that writers should be the CEOs and their books be thought of as the products of a small business. Hire freelancers and consultants — that’s what the pros do, and you don’t need to have thousand-dollar “pro” experts to help you in this process. This goes for both fiction and nonfiction, the former requiring more intense concentration on the creative front and a minimal involvement with flashy brag events. Virtual assistants are the best thing since sliced 12-grain, and I don’t think writers should feel ashamed to outsource to one if it leaves them more time to write rather than schmooze.

    Donald Trump doesn’t have the time to care about what someone’s cat ate for breakfast. Why should anyone else?