Sunday, August 8, 2010

Preparation Part 2: Social Media

Well then.  Here we are.  We've written a book (and boy-howdy is it AWESOME!), we've developed cover art, we've gotten ourselves a book trailer and we've put together a kickin' press kit.  We even have an amazing website that we've created, with the help of our favorite tech geek buddy.

Now what?

It's not enough to have all those tools.  We actually have to use them.  I know.  Crazy, right?

This is where social media comes in super handy. 

I'm going to focus on two of the most helpful (and popular) sites:  facebook and Twitter.  I'll also talk about a couple of other sites that any self-publishing author is going to want to know about:  Smashwords and goodreads.

First, let's talk about what facebook and Twitter are (and are not).  Facebook acts a little bit like a billboard.  It's great for putting up content (cover art, book trailers, etc.) and then promoting.  You can advertise on facebook according to interests and locale, which means a very targeted group will be viewing it.  Problem is, they don't know you from Adam (or Eve, as the case may be).  It can be somewhat limited, and certainly isn't very dynamic.

Now let's talk Twitter.  Twitter is your best friend.  I know, you may not believe me, but I'm telling you, it is.  Twitter acts more like a television channel, with people choosing to "tune in" or follow your stream.  And, like a TV channel, you need to provide good content.  Interesting "tweets" or updates, that entertain, inspire, or give information.  A caveat:  it must be under 140 characters.  Er...

But what's great about Twitter is that once you have a loyal following, you can begin to introduce "commercials" into your stream.  Links to your website, your trailer's youtube, an e-event your hosting, whatever.  Once you are a trusted source, people will follow you...and click through.

This is where we talk about Smashwords and goodreads.  Smashwords is where you can sell e-books in just about any format imaginable.  And the commission you get off of a $2.99 sale of your e-book nets you more that bestsellers get per hardback copy sale.  You heard me right.  Worth checking out?  I think SO!

Goodreads is a place where people talk about the books they're reading.  This is a great place for an author to start to build up hype for his or her novel.  It works even better if you're working with a group (see my post on writers' collectives here).

So, I've given you a very brief overview of what social media can do for you and your book.  If you want to see this in action, check out my Smashwords page for Plain Jane.  You can watch our book trailer, listen to an audio excerpt (VoiceOver courtesy of @actingnodrama) and read up to 50 pages FREE.  You can also follow @writingnodrama, @cristynwest, @zerotosold and @craftycmc to see what we're doing with Twitter.  Then, once you're salivating, head over to our website to see it all in one place.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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