Social media has crept into our lives and taken over with a vengeance. Be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, LinkedIn, and whatever the “next big thing” may be, these platforms have surged into our daily lives and don’t seem to be going anywhere in the near future. So, how do we present ourselves in the best light for the world to see?
First, is important to remember that social media is a form of communication, not simply a sounding board; apply the same common sense and appropriate behavior you would use when speaking with a colleague or client. These platforms are a resource that allow us to connect with more people and form bonds around the world. Here are some quick tips to help you communicate more effectively online:
DO treat others as you would like to be treated.
Respond to questions or comments in a polite and genuine manner, and ultimately: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Will your post/tweet/comment be relevant, positive or informative? Avoid rants, complaints and general negativity. We all have problems, the rest of the world should not have to hear about them.
DO credit others’ work.
With sites like Pinterest and Tumblr it is easy to post an image unsourced. It’s important to give credit to the idea creator. Add links to your tweets and post from the original source, not just from the person who shared it before you. When in doubt, try to track down the originator and ask for permission.
DO check—and double-check—your grammar.
It is important to put your best foot forward, and by overlooking grammatical errors you are presenting yourself and your company in a poor light.
Too many hashtags can make you look desperate. It is probably best to use no more than two, and make sure to check out the meaning of what is trending before posting to make sure you are being appropriate.
DON’T try to pitch a sale through social media.
If you would like to make a formal request or submission to an individual or organization it is best to reach out to them through the “contact me” section on their website. In general, it is best to use social media outlets for brief, basic-level comments and email for more in-depth questions or conversations.
DON’T post everything all at once.
Twitter and Facebook allow you to schedule out your post days, weeks, even months in advance. Use this resource to your advantage, but be mindful of current events. Make sure to cancel a post before it runs if something tragic has just happened.
DON’T voice your political opinion through your business account.
These are better suited to your personal account, yet even that is questionable. As a rule, your clients and customers do not need to know your political position.
Do you have any social media strategy and etiquette tips?
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In the wide and endlessly evolving social media and digital landscape, where does your author brand fall on the spectrum? Exactly how much of a social media butterfly are you? Are you a heavy user, attached to your smartphone and tweeting? Or, are you like a vast majority of those who aren’t part of this generation of “digital natives” and have suddenly found themselves thrust into the digital world for a variety of reasons? Even a great brand today is in trouble if they are not employing a strategic and active social media engagement effort. This is because those in the marketplace who would be brand followers and advocates will have limited visibility to the brand without the enhanced presence that the digital world offers. Social media at its core builds relationships and encourages two-way dialogue and the open exchange of ideas. It fosters authentic and personal connections thus the brand becomes humanized and relatable when this type of relationship to the customer exists. In this way digital engagement (far more than traditional mass media with its one-size-fits-all approach) drives greater emotional resonance and ultimately, influence, with your audience. Social media networking has become such powerful force in our society that it has the ability to impact everything from where we eat lunch to who becomes our next president.
With the discovery that used to take place in brick and mortar bookstores now shifting to online word of mouth, social media is, more than ever, a lifeline for authors to establish platform and audience relationships. We recommend that the following points be taken into consideration for authors first entering the digital space.
1. Determine the most appropriate social media sites for your brand. Define your ideal target audience along with a thoughtful engagement strategy for connecting with them. For example, the pre-teen and young adult crowd has recently begun to favor Instagram over Facebook. However, for business leaders and corporate change agents active on the speaking circuit, LinkedIn would be a strong choice. LinkedIn is all business, all the time. It is ideal for networking (and increasingly for job hunting). Pinterest, a relative newcomer, is shaping up to be an interesting design-oriented site and could be a good consideration if an author is publishing a coffee table book or has a more artistic or female bent to their readership.
2. Twitter. Twitter is currently one of the strongest and most influential sites for online relationship building and is a solid choice for nearly all authors across the board. Twitter enables an author to establish presence and visibility rather quickly by following organizations and individuals that align with their message and story and are representative of their readership target. Twitter is updated in real time quick feeds, is informative and relevant, and is presented in easily digestible bites of content. The site is well geared for idea and information exchange and has a mutually reciprocal brand building culture where members, upon receiving a new follower, often respond in kind and return the “follow.”
3. Outline a concrete plan around timing and content. Once an author has settled on an engagement strategy and identified an ideal mix of social media outlets, it is best to craft a tactical plan and manage social media activity in a highly intentional way. Think of what you want to say (and why) on the various sites that will spark interest within those communities. Being too active with random posts on Twitter can turn your brand into spam, while too little activity decreases visibility and atrophies your brand over time.
Social media engagement, for the newcomer and those less fluent in the medium, can be a daunting pool to dive into. It can often feel like moving: overwhelming, immobilizing and every time you turn around it seems you find a new box. The best way to start is to take small steps at first. Once you’ve identified the best sites for your audience, plan to dedicate at least 10-15 minutes or so a day to being active on those sites: respond to a question, post an interesting link, or reach out to a new connection. Make it a part of your daily routine like you would anything else requiring regular maintenance and upkeep. Think of it as brand flossing.
Learn more about making targeted choices regarding social media here:
Which social media tools do you use and why?
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You’ve probably been told at some point to explore guest blogging opportunities as a platform building strategy—maybe even by us. Guest blogging can be a great way to identify key influencers in your area of expertise, create professional partnerships, and—perhaps most importantly—attract a new potential readership. But not everyone has immediate access to a thriving blogging community. So how can you find a popular guest blogger in your specialty? We’ve gathered a few of our favorite tips below.
Google is likely to be your first stop on the hunt for a perfect guest blogger; in fact, it’s practically a requisite. In order to make the most of your search time, be sure to come up with a list of keywords and phrases that bloggers in your arena are likely to have used in their metadata (this is a helpful exercise to engage for your own website optimization as well). The more specific you can get, the more likely you’ll be to find an expert in your ideal niche. You can use Google’s Advanced Search function to streamline your results. Remember that placing quotations around a phrase guarantees an exact hit (ie: searching for the phrase “emotional intelligence” will only bring up pages that mention those words in tandem) and putting a minus sign in your search is a great way to minimize erroneous results (ie: searching for “motivational speaker” –religious will only bring you pages that mention motivational speaking but not the word religious).
The first places you might consider branching out to after a Google search are blog directories. Sites like Technorati, BlogCatalog, Blogarama, Alexa, and Alltop allow you to crawl blogs for specific keywords and browse blogs by category and popularity. Directories can be overwhelming, so don’t go too crazy researching every single site. Focus on those that look professional and seem to have a lot of comments, yet are also within realistic reach. Also be on the lookout for any past blog swaps.
Social media is a tried and true way to identify influencers in your area. Searching for phrases on Twitter will give you the top tweets mentioning the keywords and a list of people whose profiles mention the phrase as well. You want to pay the most attention to those with your phrase in their biography line on Twitter since that typically indicates a more in-depth expertise on the subject. LinkedIn Q&A can also be a good place to drum up some fans and also to make connections with other bloggers. Social media is a great way to make an initial connection. You might try commenting or tweeting back and forth with your prospective guest blogger to create a level of familiarity before formally approaching him or her.
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is an excellent tool for prospecting potential bloggers, commentators, and experts. HARO is a free daily list serve that compiles requests for sources from reporters and then sends them out to more than 200,000 experts. We can’t recommend HARO enough to authors and experts building their platforms. You can sign up here.
If you’re starting to feel exasperated by the number of potential bloggers you’re finding (or not finding, as may be the case), you should look into joining a blog-matching site. We’ve written about sites like this in the past. Mashable also recommends BlogDash, eCairn, and GroupHigh as valuable “blogger dating” services.
Think Outside the Blog
Don’t forget that it might make sense to reach out to experts who aren’t necessarily bloggers. There are plenty of experts out there with strong social media and website followings who might be willing to write a quick post for you. Another way to “think outside the blog” is to suggest a video blog or social media swap. Many experts don’t have time to type an entire blog post, but might be willing to record a video with a few tips or write an advice-oriented tweet or post.
Once you’ve found your perfect blogger, you can follow our guidelines on how to best contact them and run your event. You might be asked to swap a blog post with your guest blogger. In that case, be sure to check out our suggestions on being the perfect guest blogger for your host.
Let us know any other ways you’ve found the perfect guest blogger in the comments below!
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It’s no secret that the publishing industry has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years. Any shift can create a decentralization of the norm, and in the publishing world, we have seen technological development contribute to the slow demise of our beloved brick-and-mortar bookshops, as digital files, apps, and ereaders gain a foothold in the market. As an author, finding your way through this saturated marketplace is confusing, and knowing where to invest your money can be downright overwhelming. It is essential to be educated about the digital options for your book.
The difference between an ebook and an app may not be immediately clear, especially to those of us who didn’t grow up with an iPhone at our fingertips 24/7. Ebooks are electronic publications that can include both text and images, and are designed to be read on computers or on ebook reader devices like the Kindle or Nook. Ebooks are usually created through a conversion process that can be handled by the author, publisher, or an external conversion house. (For more information about ebook formats and conversion, check out our Big Bad Book Blog post on the topic.)
Alternatively, apps are made primarily for phones and tablets like the iPad. They not only provide the text of the book, like an ereader, they also add a level of interactivity. They help elevate the book reading process to an “experience” by including additional features like games, audio, or animation. Apps are usually created by a professional developer or by an app company.
As books go digital, readers experience storylines in new and engaging ways. Books as apps enable the reader to immerse themselves within the world of the narrative through interactivity and customization. Apps can arguably be termed a reinterpretation of the original text due to the additional features and functions. Here are a few popular software features as seen in recent book apps:
- shopping interface
- navigation tools
- annotation tools
- style changes
- puzzles or trivia
For instance, Jack and the Beanstalk Children’s Interactive Storybook, a wildly popular kid’s app, includes a memory matching game and interactive pictures that respond to changes in orientation. Similarly, The Cat in the Hat app allows children to touch images that prompt animations (ie: touching an image of a cloud produces raindrops along with the word ‘Wet!’).
Some genres are better suited for apps than others. Any genres that have an inherent level of interactivity—such as children’s books, cookbooks, or how-tos—will translate well to an app.
Apps can work well for less obvious genres, too. According to Media Bistro, religion, science, and law are hot genres in app sales right now. The top-ten bestselling book apps on the Android last week included four religious texts, two apps about the moon, and a training guide for police officers. Successful apps have included everything from True Ghost Stories, to The Bible, to Paco Bongo—a gecko that only eats pickles.
If you think your book might make a good app, keep the following benefits and disadvantages in mind:
- Flexibility and customization
- Multimedia additions (see software features list above)
- Interactivity: A great example of interactivity is the app for SAS Survivor Guide; features include using a phone’s flashlight function to mimic a Morse Code signal.
- New markets for content: Since book apps sit alongside non-book apps on iTunes and other app retail sites, there is an opportunity to grow your target audience through exposure as consumers browse titles.
- Convenience: If you have a question about an unknown word, or want to highlight a special passage to tweet to all of your friends, voila! The app can do everything for you without having to set down your read.
- Availability on multiple platforms: if you want your book app available on many platforms, you must produce different versions of the app for software compatibility. A few different platforms include iOS app (iPhone and iPad), android, and apps for desktops (ex: custom API’s).
- Cost: potentially thousands upon thousands per platform.
- Visibility in the market: customers may be looking in bookstores instead of app stores.
- Early retirement: technology moves fast. Apps become obsolete quickly as platforms upgrade versions and device models. Each upgrade may mean more costs if you want to create compatible versions of your book app to match the new versions.
- Compliance problems: some of these issues include questions of integrating book apps into metadata systems, such as if book apps will have ISBN’s; whether or not apps should be registered with the Library of Congress; and who owns intellectual property of the book app.
As exciting as all this sounds, book apps are essentially still in an emerging stage. Publishing houses experimenting with book app development have tweaked and formed content, but still need to see whether or not there will be a return on investment after production costs.
Take into consideration the cost-to-benefit ratio before making a decision on whether or not to make your book into an app. Again, your goal is to make your book as successful as possible, to deliver it to as many people as possible, and to generate as much profit as possible. What kind of book are you producing? Will interactivity, hyper linking, and multimedia increase your sales? Consider your budget. Will you be able to invest in marketing for both your physical book and your book app? Is an app going to increase your sales enough to cover development costs?
Make it worth the cash. Don’t spend money and time developing an app with one or two functions. Build it up with software features and an interesting design. Otherwise, you might be better off sticking to an ebook.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your book into an app, Media Bistro is hosting a Publishing App Expo December 7-8 in New York City.
Have you seen a great book app recently? Tell us what you like about it in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Lady Gaga, so don’t get your hopes up.
Just when you finally figured out how to correctly use a hashtag, Google+ made its debut on the social networking stage. Perhaps you cheered the opening, quickly adding anyone and everyone on your Google+ radar. Or maybe you’re disillusioned with social networking and simply can’t take another alert on your smartphone, consequently letting out a resounding “Boo.”
Regardless of your relationship with social media—and before you either delete your invite or start posting dozens of photos of your grandma’s birthday party—consider using Google+ primarily as a networking tool.
Whether you’re a writer, reader, or presenter, Google+ likely has something to offer you. Read on for suggestions on how you can utilize G+ to your advantage.
G+ for Writers
G+ Hangouts is a great way to keep in touch with fellow writers, especially if you’ve attended a writers’ conference and want to continue getting feedback from participants you particularly clicked with. Hangouts is essentially a videoconferencing tool. You can connect with up to ten people, and G+ recognizes when someone is talking, focusing the video stream on that person until someone else speaks up.
The feature also offers excellent networking opportunities if you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November), or any other sort of marathon writing event.
Hundreds of writers are already organizing cowriting events on G+, rejecting the solitary nature of writing in exchange for interaction and peer motivation. Creeped out by the idea of watching others write but still want the feedback? You can minimize your screen and mute your microphone while writing, and then rejoin your group during chat breaks.
Mary Robinette Kowal suggests the following steps to create a writing meetup on Google+ Hangouts:
1. Put up a post saying that you are going to have a writing date at [x] time OR just spontaneously open a hangout.
2. As soon as the hangout is open, place a comment on it that states that it is a writing date and what the parameters are.
3. Suggested parameters: "We’ll chat for fifteen minutes. Then at quarter past we’ll start writing for forty-five minutes. On the hour, there’s another fifteen-minute break for chat . . . Rinse and repeat. If you want to join in mid-way, that’s fine, but we’ll just wave at you until the next break."
4. Continue until you need to log off. If the other participants are still going, they will be able to keep writing after you leave.
If you’re at all nostalgic about your college workshop days of wacky writing prompts and open sharing, you should definitely find a G+ writer’s group to join.
GalleyCat is collecting a list of writers interested in connecting on Google+. If you want an easy way to find dozens of new friends, check it out.
G+ for Authors
Authors, consider using Google+ to organize initial readers of your manuscripts. Use your blog or newsletter to choose a group of three to ten beta readers and send them your piece. Ask them to read it over the course of the week and decide on a time to chat about their reactions and suggestions.
Google+’s main claim to fame is its personalized sharing features; authors should use this to their advantage. Unlike Facebook, Google+ allows you to easily group people and decide what you share with particular groups. This feature, called Circles, enables you to share a link with a specific group—say “readers”—but not with another—say “family.” Target your fan base by posting news to them without spamming your family and friends.
You could also organize virtual book events to interact more directly with your readers. If you have a good blog or fan following, announce a G+ “book tour” date. Encourage fans to post questions and connect with them via Hangouts or Circle posts.
G+ for Readers
Virtual book clubbing is another great way to use G+. If you have a club on GoodReads or a virtual club over email, migrate the group to Google+. Instead of simply messaging or emailing about the book, get onto Hangouts to have a face-to-face conversation.
If you are involved in any genre reading groups, fan clubs, academic conferences, literary holidays (like Bloomsday), or reading events (like the thirty-hour reading of Moby Dick that happened earlier this year in Portland) you could also organize Circles to facilitate sharing of interesting research and articles related to your topic of choice.
G+ for Speakers
Professional speakers can also use Google+ to expand their reach. Use blogs and forums to identify influential people in the expertise circle you should be connecting with. Add them on G+ (unlike Facebook, it’s not taboo to add people on G+ you’ve never actually met) and position yourself as a pro by hosting workshops, webinars, or live tutorials to select circles through Google+ Hangouts. Offer cooking classes, marketing webinars, or personal finance workshops—whatever will build your online platform in the arena of your personal expertise.
Google+ may not be as insanely popular as Facebook yet, but it’s never a bad idea to get in on the ground floor of a social media movement. If you’re a little timid about getting started on Google+, check out this collection of fifty helpful get-started links.
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Are you using Amazon Author Central? If not, why? It’s an excellent author-friendly tool that can be used to promote your book and your platform that only takes minutes to setup. If you have more than one book, it’s a central location where an Amazon shopper can find your entire bibliography in one place. How’s that for an easy way to cross-promote your work?
Amazon Author Central allows authors to create a custom profile that customers then use to learn about the author and make purchases. The content you can place on your Author Central page includes:
- A bio—Tell readers a little bit about yourself so they'll connect with you as a person.
- Photos—Include your author photo and any other images your readers may like to see, perhaps your workspace or things that inspired your writing.
- Video—Want to get that trailer up on Amazon? Uploading it here only takes a few minutes!
- Events—Want to drive traffic to your speaking engagements and readings? Advert them here.
- Blog feed—Linking your blog to your Author Central page is just another way to grow your list of blog followers and give readers more of what they want: a connection to you as an author!
- Twitter feed—Extend your social media outreach even further by displaying your tweets on your author page.
Recently, Author Central began providing weekly sales data from Nielsen BookScan (a service that tracks sales of print books in stores across the country) for free to authors who sell their books on Amazon. You can view your sales data in a variety of ways. Amazon gives you a basic total from BookScan and shows how many units more or less you sold compared with the previous week. They also visually display your most recent four to eight weeks of sales data on a map of the United States. Alongside that display you will find a list of geographic areas from New York to Los Angeles and the number of books you sold in each.
Access to BookScan data can help you determine whether your publicity efforts are paying off, and tells you what markets you have the most demand in so you can amp up your promotion accordingly.
Finally, for those who like to keep tabs on their Amazon sales rank, the sales data tab displays a line graph of your book’s sales rank history on Amazon and tells you what your current rank is. As with all sales rankings on Amazon, the data is updated hourly.
You can also use Author Central to modify the description of your book listing on Amazon or write a message directly to your readers.
We encourage all of our authors to create an Amazon Author Central page. Even William Shakespeare has an Author Central page. It has to be cool.
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Writing a book can be a lonely experience, and you don’t want to completely isolate yourself during the writing process. It’s important to get feedback, especially while you’re developing an idea. Not only does this help motivate you, it also helps you catch issues and address concerns on the front end rather than trying to overhaul a manuscript after it’s already complete.
It’s not difficult to find people to provide regular feedback. Here are a few ways of locating people willing to give you critiques:
- Start by asking fellow authors. Though it’s nice to get a variety of opinions, authors within your genre are best. Not only do they know who the competitors are, they also have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t within your genre.
- Put out an all-call on social media. Put out a post asking for people to read your work. You’ll be surprised at how many will respond!
- Ask colleagues. Ask people at work or others in your industry. This is especially good for nonfiction authors, as people in your industry represent your reader.
- Locate a formal writers’ group. There are many writers’ groups already established by genre and location. Check with local groups such as the Writers’ League of Texas or with genre-specific groups such as Sisters in Crime—or go to Writer’s Digest and other forums to find groups in your area.
But getting someone to read your work is only the beginning. In order for the feedback to be useful, you need to keep the following in mind:
- Distance yourself. It's not a critique of you. It’s an honest opinion about your work, so don’t take it as a personal affront to you or your abilities as a writer.
- Maintain veto power. You don't have to accept every suggestion or change made. It is ultimately your work, and it should reflect you and be something you are proud of. If you truly want to keep something, then keep it, but do consider the reader’s reasons for suggesting changes.
- Recognize patterns. If more than one person says the same thing about your work, take notice. If on every critique you hear that your characters are flat, you may have to accept that your characters are flat and strive to correct it. If several people say a passage is confusing, you may want to consider rewriting it. The point here is to improve as a writer.
- Respect their opinions. Show the one who critiqued you the same respect you expect by acknowledging and thanking them for their time and feedback.
- Have them focus on the big picture. Most readers are apprehensive about critiquing because they feel you want a complete copyedit. Unless they’re an editor, ease your readers by instructing them to focus on feedback related to the overall feel and goal of the book. Have them point out what works and what doesn’t work in relation to plot, narrative arc, usefulness of information, and style rather than addressing issues such as misplaced commas and word usage.
Remember, you don’t want to write in a vacuum. Despite all of your genius, in order to truly understand what your readers want and how to give it to them, you need to engage them from the beginning. Not only will it make you a better writer, your advance readers will have a vested interest in the final project and will do everything they can to help you succeed.
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We’ve written a great deal about building your platform and especially about the benefits of blogging and writing articles to demonstrate your expertise to your audience. Still, you’re always looking for more ways to drive traffic back to your online presence, and ultimately to the bookstore to buy your book. Another excellent way to achieve this is by serving as a guest blogger.
A guest blogger is someone who does a single post for another individual or group’s blog. This can be a one-time deal or a recurring column, but either case allows you to tap into someone else’s audience. There are many great blogs out there for you to choose from. You can locate blogs related to your platform in a number of ways:
- Go to the top magazines or associations in your topic. Chances are the editors of the magazine or leaders of the association have at least one blog (sometimes they have several—each one for a different beat).
- Ask for referrals. Find out from your network what other blogs your audience is following.
- Check out the competition. Other authors and experts in your field already have a line in with your audience. Grease the wheels by offering to swap guest posts.
- Look at the blogroll of your favorite sites. Most times bloggers feature the blogs they follow on their tool bar. This is a great (and fast) way to locate additional blogs. You can use sites like Technorati (link) and Alexa (link) to evaluate which blogs have the most traffic so you can develop your strategy and start by focusing your time on the blogs with the largest audiences.
Once you’ve identified blogs related to your topic, you will want to craft a pitch. Before you contact the blogger, check to see if they have posted writer’s guidelines. If so, follow them to the letter. If not, send them a short pitch that includes a specific idea for a post topic and identifies exactly why that post would be of interest to their audience. Close with a short paragraph about your qualifications. Here’s an example of a typical pitch letter:
The world of publishing is changing fast. Many of your readers are trying to navigate this evolving landscape, but it can be overwhelming. I propose a post that looks at the pros and cons of each book publishing option available to authors, complete with a short checklist readers can use to identify which route is best for them.
I work at an independent publisher and write articles and white papers related to publishing. You can view samples of my work at www.bigbadbookblog.com.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
There are a few other things to consider when pitching a guest blog post:
- Research the outlet beforehand to make sure it’s appropriate. Bloggers don’t want to get pitched by writers who are outside of their subject area and who don’t have anything to offer their readers.
- Read some of the posts and make sure that you are providing something unique. If they’ve already done a post on the subject, craft a new angle or choose a different topic.
- Be considerate of the blogger’s brand. They are building their platform and readership too. Don’t try to hone in on their turf.
- Keep the self-promotion out of your post. Often you are allowed a short bio and a link back to your website or blog, so focus on creating value and leave the promotion out.
Above all, don’t be afraid to ask. Most bloggers work hard to fill their editorial calendar and are happy to have someone fill in (as long as the topic is relevant). Also, don’t be afraid to consider having someone guest post on your blog as well. They will bring their readers with them and will often add you to their own blogroll. In the realm of social media and blogging, paying it forward really does pay off.
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In reality, Twitter really is quite simple. This fun video shows you how easy it is to get started and how it works.
We also found this one that explains twitter keywords and hashtags, which are important for targeting your reader.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to utilize twitter, it’s time to focus on what you should actually say or “tweet” about. Like with anything you do to build your author platform, you need to be answering the reader’s question—“What’s in it for me?” Even at 140 characters, readers are still looking for value. You can provide it through:
News: What’s hot and trending in your topic right now.
Links: What resources are available to educate, inform, and entertain your reader.
Tips: Quick tips and insights to help your reader improve or enhance their lives.
Throughout your posts full of news, links, and tips you also want to sprinkle in some self-promotion and engagement with your readers. A good rule of thumb is to keep promotion to about 20% of your content and focus the rest on providing value to and engaging with the reader.
A few quick tips:
- To add links and still keep your posts to 140 characters, use Tiny links or Bity links
- Add keywords designated with hashtags (mentioned in the video above). This will allow you to get your post in front of people outside of your network. If your tweets are interesting and informational, they’ll start following you.
- Don’t worry about mass. It’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about having the right followers who are interested in your topic and view you as a great resource/expert.
- Social media is a two way street. Engage with readers, answer their questions, and share other people’s informative posts.
Here are some popular hashtags related to writing and publishing:
#dearauthor: Notes and tips from industry professionals to authors.
#dearpublisher: Notes and questions from authors to publishers.
#publishing: News, trends, and information on publishing.
#pubtips: Tips on getting your manuscript picked up by an agent or publisher.
#writing: Information on the craft of writing.
#amwriting: Updates on what you are writing now.
#WIP: Work in progress.
#writegoal: Share your daily writing goal.
#womeninpublishing an #meninpublishing: Focus on the men and women in the industry.
#books: All things related to books.
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With so much emphasis placed on Facebook and Twitter, many authors overlook the power of LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn holds greater potential for making platform-building connections offline, especially for those nonfiction authors engaged in speaking, consulting, and other business ventures. To make the most of your profile, make sure you include all of the following steps as you establish a LinkedIn presence.
- Complete your profile. Fill in your work history, your experience, any awards and recognition related to your book or expertise, and a short bio. Include as much information as possible about who you are as an author, and make sure the information you include will interest the target audience for your book. Also make sure you a have a current, professionally taken photo.
- Update your status. LinkedIn is all about professional updates, so only share links, events, or media coverage that pertain to your message an author and expert. Keep info about your cat or your last meal for private conversations.
- Make your profile public. This way people can easily find you, both within LinkedIn and on the web.
- Add links. You can add up to three links to your profile, including links to your blog and website. Be sure to add at least one link with information about your book (which is usually your website).
- Make connections. Go through your Outlook address book, Rolodex, or BlackBerry to find potential connections from your existing contacts. LinkedIn’s quick connect feature lets you connect with people already in your Yahoo or Gmail email accounts.
- Join groups. Find groups that cater to your audience. Make individual connections with members in the group and participate in events and discussions.
- Get recommendations. Have people who have read your book or whom you have worked with in some way write recommendations for you. Be willing to do the same in return should the occasion call for it.
- Set up your company profile. If you have a company or your own small press associated with your book or expertise, set up a company profile. If you have employees, you can invite them to update their profiles with their company affiliation.
The above will help you get your profile page up to a par, but LinkedIn has some other fantastic features that you will also want to use to boost your presence.
- LinkedIn Answers: Demonstrate your expertise and connect with your audience by answering questions on LinkedIn Answers. You can search open questions by category or date posted to quickly find which questions you have the authority to answer. The key is to be precise and to leave the self-promotion out of your response.
- Document sharing. Share your articles and presentations with one of the many document-sharing plugins available. Some of the most commonly used include SlideShare, Scribbd, and Box.net. All three allow users to download your materials, are available from LinkedIn free of charge, and help you boost your SEO.
- Social media plugins. You can add your tweets, blog posts, and Facebook posts to your LinkedIn profile. Just be careful—each platform caters to a different audience, who each want different information. If you are cross-pollinating with repetitive posts, people will turn off.
LinkedIn is always adding more plugins and features. Just check out the application directory on the LinkedIn toolbar for more information. You can also check out LinkedIntelligence, a blog focused on LinkedIn best practices.
Social media is an important facet of your overall marketing strategy. Just as with any social media effort, the key for LinkedIn success is to be consistent and provide value. LinkedIn is more manageable than most platforms, in that the status updates you write should be limited to only those items related directly to your book or profession, so you only need to update once a week or when you add new events, articles, and media coverage. You can set up email alerts to keep you updated on group discussions and LinkedIn Answers as they occur, so you don’t have to constantly check back.
Above all, don’t let LinkedIn or any social media platform consume you. Keep it simple, focused, and constrained to what is realistic for your goals and schedule.