Indie block party–social media tips

Indie-block-party

Indie block party–social media tips

"Social Media Signpost" by Stuart Miles

Social media, you say? It is the bane of the introvert writer’s existence, isn’t it? LOL Yet, that’s the main pastime in this day and age, worrying about who’s saying what on Twitter and Facebook, or blogs. Book marketing has changed and so social media seems to be the way to get the word out about one’s books. So do I have any tips for the writer concerning this new plaything? Erm, well? A little, but not really?

So let’s see, tips. I’m not a know-it-all by any means (I have no clue at all about Linkedin!) but I know a little.

You can’t go wrong having a Facebook profile and fanpage (yes, apparently they are different). The instructions for creating a fan page are here.  There are also a ton of Facebook groups and pages out there dedicated to different genres. Friend them, fan them, utilize them. You’ll have to poke through Facebook’s search engines to find ones suitable for your works. You may find some new tip you’d never thought of or even find some that will allow you to promo your work.

Twitter tips: fill out your profile. Include a link to your book’s Amazon page. *nodsnods* If you have videos, you can also upload videos to it.

Retweeting. The gurus say you should probably retweet more than you tweet. I don’t know if that’s bullshit or not. I’ve lost some followers because of tweeting promotional stuff–but normally that seems to happen when I’m involved in the indie mass promotion days. Which I haven’t done lately. I do tweet stuff about my books, but I tend to mostly share and RT articles that I find interesting.

Tip number two: use hashtags (I know you’ve all seen the annoying Honda commercial that uses hashtags like they’re actual freaking words (don’t get me started about the corruption of the English language. It’s a rant that I’ve had for a long time and one that nobody listens to, apparently–I don’t know what Mickey D.’s is, but I like McDonald’s burgers, thank you very much).  Use them, though. They work to sort your tweets into useful streams that *might* bring you some readers. #romance is a good one for romance authors; #paranormal; there’s #horror for the horror writers. There’s #kindle, there’s #Nook. If you’ve got some writing wisdom to share there’s #writingtips . Say you’re working on your new book and you want to share that you can use the hashtag #amwriting. Just keep in mind twitter has a limit of 140 characters. Tend to be a pain if for instance you have a long book title. :) As for book titles put them in ALL CAPS and always use a shortened version of your Amazon/barnesandnoble link. People will not go to Amazon/Barnes and Noble’s main page and try to figure out which book is yours. Give them a direct link. Always. This is also very good practice for every single spot on your site or blog your book is mentioned. If you have your book cover up, link it to Amazon. Something I tend to forget is if you have wordpress.com, you can put a hashtag in your publicize slot before you hit publish and that helps get the blog post out into the appropriate tag stream.  (I say forget because I don’t remember to do it all the time before I publish a blog post. *headdesk*).

(I see far too many bloggers who don’t do this and it is a wasted sale opportunity. I cannot stress this enough: LINK THAT BOOK COVER TO YOUR AMAZON BUY PAGE, PEOPLE! Seriously (or if your seller of choice is Smashwords, or B&N by all means, use that link). If you hand-write the title out, do the same. Link it to Amazon/B&N/Smashwords. Put it in your Facebook and Twitter profiles, put it in your blog side bar and your site’s main page. Link your cover art to it every time you post it. Link, link, link. Make it as easy as possible for people to click and buy. *nods*

The hard part is that sometimes people have a tendency to be careless and misspell your name, which doesn’t do much for your SEO–and you can’t always correct it. Sad but true. My best piece of advice to any blogger, please. PLEASE double check the spelling of the author’s name who you are hosting and if you foul it up, fix it ASAP! Yes even in a book review, yes, even in a “god I hated this!” book review your ever mention of an author goes into creating needed buzz. So be kind, check your spelling.

Pinterest? Why not? I have my book covers, my interviews and blog spots all up in Pinterest, along with other goodies I find when I surf around there. I’ve seen other people pinning my books. Keep in mind anywhere you can get your cover and blurb in front of the general public=good. It also generates SEO.

Caveat: All this marketing stuff does tend to seem hit and miss–and it all may change within the next five seconds–so I don’t claim any of this will make you an overnight success. What I can say is I’ve been told and can tell when one of my posts and tweets generate sales. :) So, while all this advice could be obsolete tomorrow, sometimes the magic works.

**There are also hashtags for #historicalromance , #mystery, #crimefiction, #horror, #historical and #YA and one I like to use now and then #girlpower for my strong heroines. There are probably a billion and a half others too.
Image above: “Social Media Signpost” by Stuart Miles

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7 thoughts on “Indie block party–social media tips

  1. Hey Juli thanks for calling out the hashtags. It seems like a simple part put it may be the most important. These social mediums are not just about point to point but about connecting with communities and those little hashtags are the present currency for doing so.

  2. Hi Juli,
    I don’t use LinkedIn either, but wish I could reply to the invitations I get to tell the person I’m not a participant so they don’t think I’m ignoring them. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep track of everything that’s posted on Twitter. I feel like I miss more than I see. I don’t do Pinterest. I’ve heard too many stories about people being sued for copyright infringement. One writer blogged about her experience – wish I could remember the link. I suppose if I use it like you do — your own covers and content, there’s no risk of a lawsuit. Mostly, between the day job, family, writing, keeping up with facebook, blogging 3 days a week, and guest blogging, I just don’t have time to participate in all the different types of social media out there so I just do the best I can.

    • Hi, Katherine, RE: Pintrest, yes that’s what I try to do. I repin things that I find on that site sometimes but mainly I’ve been trying just to do links to books on Amazon. That’s what covers are for after all: to create marketing buzz. :)

  3. Thanks, Juli! Love the post and agree with your rant on language degradation. I’m resisting Twitter but may fall victim, soon. The amount of information on Pinterest is staggering, and I find checking there reduces my writing time. Although, I suspect my doubts are just my introverted ego’s attempt to keep me safe from information overload. Grin.

  4. HI Juli! Great post… I also don’t know crap about LinkedIn, but this girl is on it *winks*. I tweet, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking through the Twitter feed… I know, I know, shame on me. But I do get on my app once in awhile when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, in a Starbucks drive-thru…etc, and I’ll re-tweet like a boss. Before it was required as a writer to stay active on social media, I probably visited all these social media sites a lot more than I do now, ha!

  5. Good info, Juli! I’m still partially on the shelf with all this social media stuff. It distracts from the actual writing, so has to be used sparingly. I’ve heard Facebook is one of the better places to promote, but still don’t have a Facebook page. And I’m on Twitter and Goodreads, but don’t go on them much. I’ve heard Twitters not one of the best promotion places and others are so-so. So what’s a writer to do? Don’t have the answer.

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