I got kinda long in my last post, thinking about the basics of using social media, so I’m splitting this into a separate post! This is basically thinking about how you manage your overall social media presence – and how it looks to an outsider. I’m going to focus specifically on writing as that’s obviously my experience, but I suspect a lot of this could work with other areas.
So…I’ve just had your book recommended to me by a fellow reader. I picked it up, and it was awesome! And now I think, “I’m interested in this writer.”
There’s a couple of different facets to this;
- interested as a reader: what else have you written?
- And as a subset to this, if you have multiple books or series; what should I read first? Is there anything in the same universe? Is there anything not in the same universe? (aka. am I going to get really confused if I pick up the odd one out?)
- interested as a future reader: what’s your news? When is the next book out? What are you currently writing?
- interested as a fan and/or peer: who are you? What do you like/dislike? What do you talk about?
So what steps can you take to make sure that as a fledgling fan, I stay interested and purchase more of your work?
1. Claim your books.
As an easy first step: make sure you’ve linked all your books up on Amazon (use Author Central if you haven’t already looked at it), and claimed them on Goodreads. There are other sites (LibraryThing?) that are worth checking too.
Basically, if I click your name on the site where I buys the stuffs, I want to be able to find your other books. Make it easy for me to buy more, damnit!
2. Have a central point.
Have a website – even if it’s just one page with a picture of you, a picture of your book(s), and a link to where I can buy them. When I type your name into a search engine, I want to be able to discover what you’ve written – or at least verify that I haven’t accidentally picked up a book from Dream’s library that I’ll never be able to find the sequel for.
This central point is also a good place for making it clear what’s first to read, or what books belong to what series. If I’ve found you through an anthology, where should I start for novels in that world? Or haven’t you written anything else in that universe yet? Make it simple for me to pick up the right book, and not – as I have unfortunately done a few times – pick up the 4th in a series, get horribly confused about who’s who and what is going on, and give up on that author.
3. Don’t have too many central points.
Slightly counter-intuitive, I admit, but think about it. If I type your name into a search engine and I find an author website (one page, with photo and rambling bio that’s a year out of date), a blog site under a different web address (with some old blogs from 2010), a second blog site called “News!” with a couple of posts per year and a suggestion that you’ve written two more books than your bio mentioned, two Twitter accounts and a short bio on an obscure promotional site…
What does that say about you?
To me, it says, “I can’t get organised”. Plus it’s making it hard to know where to look if I want information about any other books you might have written.
In the case above, I’d consolidate your website and blog. Put news in one place. Delete old accounts. Update any old bios you have. When I look for you online a few odd things aren’t an issue, but give me one thing to click on to find out about you.
4.Link your social media.
This is a bit of a different beast from the idea above. If you’re using various social media platforms, you will be spread out – and that’s not a problem! Different people are on different platforms, and they’re used for different things. But make it easy for me to find you, or at least follow the threads back and forth to that central place.
If you’re on Twitter or Instagram etc, give me a link to your website on your bio. If you’re on Facebook, tell me if you’ve also anywhere else (although admittedly Facebook is crap for letting you do this.) On your website, tell me what other sites you frequent – if any. If you don’t, then that’s not a problem – I just want to be able to check if you’re on any of the other sites that I hang out on!
5.Do a yearly (or six-monthly) checkup & update.
This is a good chance to update your central point (or various platforms) to what you’re currently doing. You don’t need it up-to-the-minute; you just need to check that your bio and photo still reflect you, make sure your latest book or writing is up to date, claim that last novel on Amazon to make sure it’s linked to your profile…
It’s also a good time to potentially cull. If you haven’t really used Twitter this year (read: not at all) then take the link off your website. If I want news then I want current news – not from a year ago. Same with the blog or news page; if you don’t use it, then…well, maybe don’t delete it (as archived posts can be useful and interesting) but maybe make it less prominent. If you start using it again then that’s great, move it back to prominence at the next six-month review! But if you’re sitting there thinking, “oh yeah, I really should have blogged”…then maybe accept reality and just readjust your online presence to reflect that.
The idea is to make it as simple for me as possible to find out about you – and buy your books!