I took a class by agent Tricia Lawrence at my local SCBWI this fall on social media, and it was easily the best class on social media I’ve ever taken.
Before I tell you the BIGGEST thing I learned there, I’m going to tell you the VERY few things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Only blog when you really, actually, have something to say. I used to blog on a 5-day a week schedule. And when I cut down to three, I was worried I’d lose my audience. I didn’t. And then I cut back even further (I do write as a day job, and blogging was cutting into that time pretty significantly). And then I changed from blogger to wordpress. SOME people followed me over. Some didn’t. But I’m meeting new people who are awesome, so it all worked out. You come across as MUCH more genuine when you save your blog posts for things that really matter to YOU.
2. Be nice. All the time. Be nice in the face of Facebook posts that rant (you can hide those). Be nice in the face of trolls (they’re everywhere). EVERYONE is allowed a whiny post once in a while, but people come back to you because they like what you’re saying. Keep that in mind. Be encouraging and spread HAPPY RAINBOWS EVERYWHERE!!! 😉 (I’m mostly kidding, but sort of not…)
3. If you’re a writer. Do not respond to book reviews. Ever. If you’re a reader…be careful. If you run to the rescue of a writer friend, you may do them more harm than good. I have read reviews of my book saying THIS isn’t right or THAT isn’t right. Uh… I do research, and VERY often I’m using a real person’s experiences. Would it do me any good to defend my book? Ninety percent of the time, it wouldn’t. I leave it alone… ALWAYS. Along with this STAY OFF OF GOODREADS. I still keep track of books on there, but I jump on and off SUPAH fast. I’m like Batman that way. And just in that way.
WHO IS OUR AUDIENCE WHEN WE’RE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?? (From Lawrence)
4. Something I learned from Tricia Lawrence – As an author of kidlit (stretches from picture books to YA) our audience is not the kids or the tweens or the teens… They MAY drop in on our site, and we need to have some fun extra info on our books (I’m a huge believer in this b/c when I go to an author’s site, I wanna learn something about the book I can’t learn by reading the book or the acknowledgements). Our audience is librarians, school teachers, maybe other authore, maybe avid readers… I know so many authors of teen fiction who are trying to connect with teens online. Remember this: You are almost definitely not cool enough to do this effectively 😉 (I know. I just burst bubbles here. But take this from someone who taught middle and high school and who was liked by her students – I was still not cool enough 😉
5. Maybe the most important thing I learned – Find your “theme” your “lens” your way of seeing the world. Mine hit me right away. Almost all of my stories are about hope or over-coming. ALL OF THEM can be tied to this in some way or another. That’s how I see the world. So, my posts are generally upbeat. I try to share things on Facebook I find inspiring. I try to talk about people who I find inspiring… It might take you a while to figure out what YOUR lens is, but when you do, focus your online presence on THAT piece of you.
6. Unless you’re a book blogger, do more than talk about YOUR books and your friends’ books. It turns into noise that no one listens to…
I’m sure that given enough time, I could come up with some more stuff, but these are the basics.
Remember: I’M NO EXPERT and I’m still on the learning curve. I’ll always be on the learning curve, but maybe I’ve given someone a new idea…
Wanna tell me what I missed???
On a very happy side note- The STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW ebook has FINALLY caught up to its hardback counterpart, and is OUT TODAY!!! You can snag one here…