Updated: Jul 17, 2019
Updated Oct. 8, 2017. Originally released On Jan 23, 2017.
Two years ago, I had full knee replacement surgery. I was laid up and bored shitless for six weeks, so I read a lot. During this time of boredom and drug use, I thought, I can write a better crime story than the ones I was reading. Thus, my writing career, or lack thereof it, was forged. I set out on this grand adventure only to learn I didn’t have a clear understanding of the English language.
Once I worked out all the shit I did wrong in that first draft, I fixed it and improved my writing greatly. The help of a good editor can do that. All though I’m a better writer and have a couple of books completed, mastering what to do on social media as a new author is a whole other beast. Everyone says get on social media; you need to build your author platform. What the hell, I just figured out how to write a make-believe story, now I must set up a blog, tweet random shit, and build a damn website, WTF?
Yes, but people need to know who you are, get to know you as a person; they said. How the hell is someone going to get to know me as a person, through a damn computer. And yet here I sit writing a blog post about using social media to build relationships.
See I’ve come a long way in two years. So here is my take on social media as a new undiscovered bestselling author. Okay, just as a new unpublished author.
1. Get on it and quit bitching. Start with Twitter. It’s the easiest and quickest way to learn about social media. Before you sign up, read Marcy Kennedy’s Twitter for Authors or Jane Friedman’s post on using Twitter. Just remember, Twitter isn’t about YOU. Use it to build relationships. Don’t tweet about you and your book every hour. You will only piss your followers off.
2. Blog: Yeah I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you should consider setting up a blog. A blog will serve a few purposes. It will improve your writing, you will become more comfortable with putting yourself out there and a blog will let people get a sense of who you are. You can also screw up your chances of ever getting published, but I say go for it. Again, Jane Friedman has a great post on this, Building a Platform to Land a Book Deal: Why It Often Fails.
3. Author Website: If you ultimately want to publish your books, you will need this. You need to figure out for yourself where you want to host it. I am not savvy enough to tell you the best way to go on this. Most everyone uses WordPress on a host site. I myself couldn't figure any part of that out. But once you decide on what's right for you, read this post by Joanna Penn. Also, Tim Grahl has a great article on how to build your website.
4. Facebook: I don’t like Facebook. However, at the encouragement of Jane Friedman via a Twitter conversation, I built a Facebook page. There are two great articles that have great information; one is at THE AUTHOR ONLINE, and one can be found at Digital Book World. (And of course Jane Friedman) I am still learning Facebook but I now have over 100 followers which may not seem like a lot, but for me it is. My suggestion to using FB as an author, is not to post from Twitter or Instagram to Facebook. Post directly to Facebook. Or when your followers see your Facebook timeline it looks like you are never actually on FB but posting from elsewhere.
5. Instagram: I have recently gotten on Instagram. I have to say I love it. For me it works well. I use it to give my readers a glimpse into my life. You can only post something with a photo or a video under 1 min. You do however have the ability to write a very long post to go with those media choices. I post things about my books and my writings. Plus funny things I like. This is a great tool for authors. You just have to learn how to use it correctly to have the most impact. I first saw a post at Where Writers Win that made me think this may be the best way to use Instagram. You can learn more about this at The Book Designer and DYI Author.
6. Pinterest: This is the easiest to use. I love using Pinterest. I pin my blog posts to my blog board. I pin many things about writing such as my research for my books, as well as random shit I find funny. Author Media has a great post on using Pinterest as an author. It can be a great engagement tool. I’m still learning about the importance of using it as a marketing tool.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON—DANGER!
When it comes to putting yourself out there, which is scary enough, there are always going to be trolls. Those people who have nothing better to do than bitch and complain and tell you how much you suck at whatever you are doing. Ignore them. If you have sensitive skin, toughen up. Let their crappy comments roll off your back. Most of all—don’t engage them.
Remember, everything you put out there will reflect on your author brand. If you argue with people about your political views, that’s what you’ll be known for. Moreover, if you write romance, you may alienate readers before your book even comes out. Now if you are a political pundit, then go for it.
Don’t fear social media. It’s just another tool in your author tool box.
NOW GO WRITE!
I write crime fiction horror, thriller, and paranormal novels. My time in the Coast Guard and my degree in Forensic Chemistry helps me create fantastic stories. If I'm not writing, I am binge watching Netflix and probably drinking whiskey.