Monthly Archives: September 2009

Social Media for Authors

I have really been tickled lately about the messages going out to authors and others about how often they should blog, tweet and update their Facebook status.  If I were to follow those recommendations I would be doing nothing else, even if I scheduled them in advance.

I think it is worth finding the right ways to participate in the new social media for you and for your audience.  I would recommend that you sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and that you set up a blog.  But don’t do any of it until you are ready to stay on that treadmill once you get on.  Set a pace that will work for you and then set specific times when you will follow through.

Thankfully, you can write now and send later for your blog and Twitter, meaning you can create a lot of content at once and send it out over time.  You can always interrupt that flow and send a special message if there is something important happening now.

Please think about your audience and only your audience in creating your message.  While I like to get to know authors and others as people and I might be interested in knowing that you are investigating ideas for your new book while vacationing in Aspen, I don’t care at all about what your five year old said that was funny this morning (unless you are a children’s book writer  then it is relevant).  What blogs and other posts do you want to read?

Another reason to send out messages is  to interact with your clients and potential clients in a way that will appeal to them. Ask questions, stimulate discussion, do surveys, create polls to involve your readers.

It isn’t about what you want people to know about you, it is about what your readers want to know about you and your work that will help them understand themselves and their own work.  Reader focus is just as important here as it is with your book.

Step One is to sign up for accounts and integrate them with your web site.

Step Two is to make a plan for how often you will participate and what topics you will focus on, based on what you want to accomplish.

Step Three is to stick with your plan, but be open to opportunities for commenting on the news of the day that come your way.

The best blogs are updated as often as you have something important to say and share with energy and enthusiasm the interesting parts of the work you are doing or the challenges you are facing or your clients are facing. They allow you to showcase your expertise and show you get what is going on in your industry and are actively finding solutions for yourself and your clients. You can use a blog to interview someone (or to have them write a guest blog), to talk about an event you attended or just to give your opinion about what is going on.

If you get stuck on what to write about, go back to your book or your writing.  A powerful sentence from an article or from your book can make a great tweet. Pose a question about something you are stuck on in your work. Link to other blogs (please do this sparingly).  Be a champion for other people (particularly those you would like to connect with and who will appreciate your attention).  Don’t say anything for the sake of saying something.  Only write when you have something worth reading.

Don’t forget that this about reading as well as writing.  You can learn a lot about trends and opinions by keeping up with bloggers and others who write on the web.  Follow authors, editors and others who are knowledgeable and who don’t waste your time with irrelevant details.