Whether you are an indie writer or a community manager just starting out, there are some rules that have to be followed right off the bat. If you don’t know how to navigate the murky waters of social media, your message can become confused, or even rejected by the people you want to listen to you the most. 

If you get into the NanoWriMo twitter hashtag this year, you’ll find an infinite number of creative writers starting out their journey this month. Their objective? to create imaginative, viable material this month and present it to other writers and critics that will tell them whether their project is good, and what they have to work on to succeed. At that stage, the only thing that seems important is getting the novel on the way to its audience. But that’s only the start.

The reign of e-books and independent publishing has just begun: the publishing industry took a major hit when Amazon decided to launch their own publishing branch (called Amazon Publishing, does just what it says on the label) to build a bridge from authors to readers without having to jump through as many publishing hoops to make it happen. Soon, Penguin and Random House (with their joint venture Penguin Random House) are likely to jump on the bandwaggon, making the whole publishing process easier for all and cutting out editors everywhere.

The result is an amazing amount of new books on the market electronically, a huge amount of choice for readers and an infinite number of frustrated writers that are fighting to get their books noticed. Without ‘signing on’ conventionally with publishers and getting an agent, many authors are left the task of promoting their own book which can be a tremendous mistake.

Just because you are a creative, intelligent writer, it doesn’t mean you’re a computer savvy, social media management mogul, able to capture the hearts and minds of the twittersphere. How can you make sure you don’t fall in the usual pitholes of social media management?

  • Don’t resort to putting a sort of ‘extract’ of their novel in a tweet — especially if it makes no sense or if it isn’t interesting.
  • The more you say it, the worse it becomes. Putting the same tweet out there every five seconds can be one of the most offputting things possible. Not only will that make people ‘unfollow’ you, they will also remember who you are and avoid you in the future. You might also be open to sarky comments about your lack of imagination (a hit, especially for an author!)
  • Don’t have a one-track mind. If you only talk about your book, it will bore people. Remember that social media is all about talking to other people — if it sounds like your tweets are an answering machine for your book, people will hang up on you.
  • Avoid sounding like a machine. It’s fine to think that you’re a one-man promotion army, but you have to keep your tweets as human as possible. Remember to be spontaneous and to share your feelings, your journey as a published author and your excitement about things related to the book (links to pictures, comments from reviewers, etc)
  • Keep it real. Leave the reviewing to the reviewers and readers. People don’t like to be told how wonderful something is. Let your work sell itself, and draw them in with your talent.

Creative Commons Photo Rachel Sian

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