I was invited to go and waffle on about one of my favourite subjects today; the internet!!
I cannot – simply cannot tell you how much I love the internet. I’m total junkie, want to know something; ask Google. Want to buy something; search eBay….. (I’d better issue a disclaimer here…) Other search engines and purchasing sites are available — truthfully though, it can pretty much answer or find most things.
But to be specific, in my day job i’m a social media consultant, and I was asked to go along to my local writers group, The Lovedean Writers, to give a little talk and answer questions on how to market yourself and use social media as a self-published, or independent, author.
As it turns out i’ve ended up with a few points that seemed to be quite useful, so I thought i’d share them.
Writing can be a lonely life, as writers (myself included,) our little voice can wreck our confidence in seconds, stop us getting words on the page, and dry up inspiration quicker than the summer of ’76. (There was a heat wave that year, for you lucky folks who are too young to remember.)
But with fabulous social media sites like Twitter and Facebook we don’t have to be alone any more…Beware though — social media can be the devil’s own time waster, especially once you discover how much fun it is.
A few years ago ‘networking’ was the in thing, you went ‘on-line’ and networked your a*se off, nowadays it’s more of a dirty word – networking insinuates that you are schmoozing the unwitting, and trying to flog your product.
These day it just wont work — people are smarter than that, they like to know about you, they want to invest in your life and share your highs and lows. (Did I mention that social media is mostly full of nosey people?)
You have to be ‘present’ — and it all depends how you want to interact with people. Facebook is all about longer posts, and running conversations. Twitter is 140 characters — including spaces and punctuation, twitter is the home of the snarky comment and the witty comeback. Both places are great ways to meet other writers, existing readers (if you’re already published) and prospective readers.
But here’s the thing – you remember the guy from that movie, he stood on the corner wearing an A-board shouting that the world was going to end? Did anyone listen to him?
And that’s the thing to remember with social media, it’s not advertising space. If all you do is tweet or post, ‘buy my book, buy my book, for the love of god will someone BUY MY BOOK’ — people will hit the block & delete buttons, and they’ll do it quick.
People expect you to come on-line and ‘be real’ — even Victoria Beckham posts photos of her self being stupid, and dare I say…Smiling. Need I say more?
Now the thought of sharing your life with the world can be somewhat terrifying, but don’t worry, there are ways to cut down the anxiety. So here’s a few cold hard tips…
If you are looking to self publish your book to any of the wonderful self publishing platforms out there; Amazon, Kobo, Ibooks, Wattpad, Smashwords, Createspace, Lulu… (I could go on.) Then you are going to need an online platform from which to launch your book. If you haven’t got an on-line platform get yourself on the boat and play around, it’ll take you time to write your masterpiece and building up your online presence while you’re at it is a great way to start. (Share your writing agonies with the twitterverse, they love it — and they’ll support and sympathise, it really is win-win.)
If you’re worried about what to share, make yourself a ‘comfort circle’; draw a circle and write inside what you don’t mind sharing….Do you fish, garden, play bridge, do yoga in the dark? That can go in the circle. If you have Mum tips, cooking tips, watch Strictly or cash in the attic — put it in the circle. And before you know it you’ll have a comfortable go-to list of things that ‘you’ love that you can chat to the world about.
Now the trick is to not let it overwhelm you — once you know what you’re doing, carve out two 15 minutes slots a day, (preferably different times each day,) and tweet or post to hearts content, make sure you answer people who’ve tweeted you. And you’ll watch your audience grow.
If you’re using Twitter don’t forget to check out whats trending — that’s all the little # signs that you’ll see. It’s called hash tagging; it’s where you highlight the point of your tweet. And it’s a great way to find people who you’d like to follow and tweet with. So if GameOfThrones is your thing shove a # in front of it; #GameOfThrones and the GOT lovers (you can hashtag that too; #GOT) will find you in a minute — and they’re an opinionated lot, so watch out.
Now i’ve already waffled on a lot – and believe it or not, I did talk about more than twitter, (honest). But I think i’ll come back with another instalment — I’ll waffle all about finding beta readers and getting ready to Launch in the next post. You know, I may even take my life in my hands and make some videos on the subject for youtube.
You can find my works page HERE, it was lovely to waffle on, catch you laters.