“Writers need to be on social media!” everyone says. I agree. You don’t have to be a social media expert, or spend 24/7 connected to your Facebook and Twitter apps, but you should have an online presence. A website is a good start, but if you want
to develop a fan base, the best way to do that is to be accessible. And social media provides the perfect venue for you to connect directly with your fans.
Here are some of my favorite social media sites that I believe are the best-suited to authors:
Yep, Facebook is the big dog of social media. And despite its constantly-changing algorithms, and young millennials flocking away from it because their parents just signed up, Continue reading →
Last week I didn’t publish a blog post. I know I have a lot of subscribers, but I really have no idea if anyone pays attention to my publishing schedule or waits in breathless anticipation for a new post every Wednesday. (If you do, then I thank you for your attentiveness and interest, and I apologize for leaving you hanging for a week).
I’m sure I was far more upset than anyone else at missing a week for the first time in nearly three years of blogging. The sad part is, I have no good excuse – I simply forgot. So that got me thinking: why did I start this blog? And why have I been so committed to keeping it up for so long?
After a bit of self-analysis, here are some things I came up with. In no particular order, the reasons I blog are:
I like writing. Blogging gives me a chance to write a little bit every week. It took some nerve, at first, to put my words out there for the whole world to read, but the positive feedback and comments I get are definitely encouraging.
Blogging has helped me with discipline. Writing of any kind takes discipline. Even if you’re writing just for yourself and just for fun, it takes a degree of disciplined action to write regularly and to finish anything. The discipline of committing to a weekly post – even if I’m the only one who notices or cares about the regular schedule – has helped me to start learning the art of writing even if I don’t feel like it or feel inspired. (Except for last week, obviously, but let’s not talk about that anymore).
Blogging helps with SEO. Now we get to the technical side of things. I’ve known for years that an author needs a strong social media presence if they expect to ever be noticed or read by anyone. And there are so many tips out there about getting a web presence launched before your first book is published, so that you already have a following when you’re ready to start promoting a book. Since I love social media and I love writing, starting a blog seemed like an easy and logical thing to do.
My blog is my home base on the internet. Blogging regularly helps keep the following that I have, and increases my chances of gaining new followers. My blog also serves as my main author website. Since I have no books for sale yet, I don’t need a fancy website with multiple pages or a calendar with my book signing schedule. (Yet. Here’s hoping I’ll need all of that soon). Anyway, my blog is where you can find me online. I have it linked to all of my social media profiles, so if you want to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (or all three), my blog is the easy one-stop-shop to find everything.
So there are my main reasons for continuing this blog for so long. I hope that you are enjoying it, even if you don’t read every post or care what day of the week I publish. I love blogging, and I intend to keep it up for many more years to come!
We have been singing along with “Somewhere over the Rainbow” for a lot longer than social media has been around. The Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch, and the ruby slippers were cultural icons long before Mark Zuckerberg went to college and launched Facebook. And L. Frank Baum first penned those memorable stories even longer ago. So what is it about this magical children’s tale that relates to our modern Internet-driven lives?
Social media takes brains
Not a lot, mind you. You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to manage a Facebook page or send out some tweets. But there is a learning curve – new technologies, new ways of doing things, learning the value of keywords and hashtags. But mostly, effective social media requires that you be intentional, consistent, and (relatively) polite. These are the sort of smarts that everyone has. If the Scarecrow could figure out how to get Dorothy to the Wizard, then you can manage a basic blog or Facebook page.
Social media takes heart
The most effective people – in life, not only in social media – are the ones who are passionate about what they’re doing. If you’re excited about a cause, a career pursuit, or any other subject matter, then let that excitement come through in your online posts. Genuine enthusiasm goes a long way. Keep your dreams and passions always in mind. And so if, like the Tin Man, you get slowed down by a little rust, your heart – and the hearts of your dedicated followers – will pull you through.
Social media takes courage
It can be intimidating to post things about yourself and your life online for the world to see (let’s not go overboard the other way, though, with posting too many details). If you’re sharing your photos, your product, or your words with the world, you open yourself up to the good, the bad, and the ugly of feedback and interaction. Managing all your profiles and maintaining a thick skin might make you want to turn around and jump through an Emerald City window like the Cowardly Lion. But just keep pushing through and you can do it!
Social media is about friendship
Those who are most effective with building a following (and/or selling their books, products, or service) are friendly. Support, teamwork, give-and-take, and love are the building blocks of good relationships – both on and off line.
Now go start in your own backyard!
If you’re just starting out with using social media for the purpose of building a platform or making a name for yourself, it’s okay to start small. Start networking with the people you already know, the professionals in your industry who you already follow, or local organizations who can help you.
See? Basic social media competency doesn’t have to be that hard – everyone has it in them! Just put on your ruby slippers and go start your adventure!