In the interest of saving space, I'm going to skip MySpace and Bebo…while I do have a presence on both places, I've found that as far as promoting your work, they're not as good as they used to be. That said, you can still network your blogs to them to give yourself a bit of presence there.
The big boys are Facebook and Twitter. Since Twitter is 140 characters short, I'll start there.
Yes, you want a presence on Twitter but not to just tell the world that you had a mocha cappuccino for lunch or had to get up early and it rained on your new hairdo. But no, you don't always want to be yelling Buy My Book on Twitter anymore than you do anyplace else. But when you do tweet out your book news, you want to use hashtags.
What are hastags? They're a way to identify what your message and its audience is about. People tend to follow hashtags and that's great because that shows an interest - theirs. If they follow Science Fiction and Romance, they'll likely see your tweet. If you don't use a hashtag, well, you might have a few of your followers see your tweet. So it pays to find the best hashtag for your message and use it faithfully.
- You have 100 followers
- You tweet "New SciFi Romance on Kindle by Happy Author [link]"
- 100 people see it (if they happen to be on when you post it and if they don't have that many people in their feed). More likely, of your 100 followers, only 50 will see your tweet, maybe less.
Example Scenario with Hashtags:
- You have 100 followers
- You tweet "New #SciFi #Romance on #Kindle by Happy Author [link]"
- 100 people see it PLUS every person who is following the hashtags for #SciFi, #Romance and #Kindle, which could be thousands. The #Kindle and #Nook hashtags are very popular and have lots of followers. If your book is an ebook, it would pay you to always use the #Kindle or #Nook hashtags when promoting it. You'll get more mileage for your 140 characters.
There's a hashtag for just about everything. You just have to find one that is popular and relates to your book. To do that, just use Twitter's search function. Try different spellings and make sure the tweets that appear are ones that you want related to your book.
Word of caution: The followers for #BDSM are plentiful and so are the ones for #menage. But if you write Inspirational or regular Romance, then you're wasting the 5-7 characters using those hashtags. Your tweet will go to a market that may not be interested in what you're offering. So make sure your hashtags accurately reflect your message.
Currently, Facebook is the BMOC. It effectively kicked MySpace and Bebo and a few others to the curb. While FB is huge now, always be on the lookout for the next BMOC because, yes, there will be one (Can we say Google+?). This is an ever changing world and we do need to be on top of the changes.
Facebook has 950 million users so the opportunity to promote your work is huge. But what do you do first? Make an author page. Yes, you need one. Always separate your personal page from your professional page. It looks, well, more professional.
Your Page should be a warm inviting place for people to come and should give potential Fans (those who Like your page) a clear picture on what your business/genre is about. The first thing to add to your author page is a cover photo shown at the top. I use the jpg of one of my book covers (they can be edited for size so you can get just the right look for your cover photo,)
You can do many things to make this cover photo creative and interactive.
1. Connect the profile picture to the cover photo.
2. Highlight a book.
3. Highlight a fan of the week.
4. Show some creative aspect to your book (a scene works nicely if you can find a jpg for it).
You may want to add some additional Apps to jazz-up your Facebook Page. Here is a list of some Apps, select the ones that make sense for you.
NetworkedBlogs - http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks This application will import your blog automatically into your Wall whenever you have a new post. (This works GREAT)
RSS Graffiti - http://apps.facebook.com/rssgraffiti This application will import any RSS feed into your wall.
Booshaka - http://www.booshaka.com/ This application shows a list of all your top Fans by how much they interact with you.
Fan of the Week - https://apps.facebook.com/fanofthe/ - This app automatically picks a Fan of the Week based on interaction and posts the message about the new Fan each week.
I particularly like NetworkedBlogs. It's easy to use and opens up your blog to a larger audience. I've only used the other apps a short while and don't have enough data to say how well they do what they say they'll do. The good thing is that if they don't work for you, you can remove them.
Head over to www.Involver.com for some more great app choices. They have a YouTube application and a Twitter application that will import information from those social media sites into tabs on your Facebook Page.
After that, check out your peers pages. But don't limit yourself to just your friends. Look up the big names in your field. Start by doing a search, ie go to www.Facebook.com/search to start your search. Select the Pages option to filter your results by Pages. You can also use Keywords, ie Science Fiction, Romance, Writing, Authors - there are a host of words you can use to broaden your search. Caution: Realize that the Facebook Search bar is not very robust and sometimes does not find the Facebook page you are looking for - even when you enter the exact name of the page! (I've had difficulty trying to find friends who I knew were on FB.)
If you can't find the Facebook Page of your peers, head over to their websites to see if they have a link to their Facebook Page on their site. Many will. Once you've located several authors you admire, 'Like' their page but also pay attention to what they do there.
What exactly are you looking for on their pages? You are gathering information about what is working and taking note of these key points:
How often is the page posting? What times are they posting?
What are they posting? What is getting the most interaction – pictures, links, videos, questions? What is working for them? (Hint: copy what is working) How many people post directly on the page? How many respond to a post?
What can you do to increase your Page activity?
Create a Content Calendar
Make it your business to spend some time planning your editorial calendar, deciding what content you will post and when. One of the biggest challenges authors face is “What should I post?” An editorial calendar gives you a road map you can turn to without having to start with a blank page trying to figure out what you want to communicate to your customers while there’s a million other things gnawing at your mind and fighting for your attention—you know, like every day when you write.
A content calendar gives you an overview of what you’re posting so you can ensure that you cover all the topics you want covered. It ensures that you’re not repeating yourself. It forces you to think about what’s important and what’s not so you don’t fall into the trap of posting content just to fill a void.
You can have two types of content calendars. One is a larger roadmap of promotions and special events throughout the year to highlight. The other is a weekly calendar that can give structure to your exact daily content such as 3rd party links, photos, a Fan of the Week, etc. This is what your weekly content calendar could look like:
• Monday morning: 3rd party link to an interesting relevant article (could be a blog post on writing, on reading, on history (if you write historicals) or science (if you write Science Fiction)
• Monday afternoon: Photo (could be a book, behind the scenes event or something you think your readers will like.)
• Tuesday morning: Your own blog post (assuming you post weekly)
• Tuesday afternoon: Question of the day (could be around a news event, a
social question, or to find out what your audience is struggling with or really likes about your niche)
• Wednesday morning: Fan of the Week (highlight a Fan or Fan Page that has contributed to the conversation) You can use a Facebook App such as Fan of the Week for Pages or Booshaka to help you decide.
You get the idea. As you develop your weekly content calendar, your community will also get to know your pattern and they will look forward to certain weekly events. Again, watch what works for your audience.
Here are some ideas that you may find you need to adjust for your audience:
• Post every day. That may seem excessive but as people make more friends and Like more pages, your posts may be missed. If you are only posting once or twice a week then it could be a long time between posts if your fans miss one or two of them. There are studies that show posting between 3-5 times a day can be good amount for Pages (make sure you are varying your posts and also watch your statistics to see what works best for your community). You can decide that you might take the weekend off but also realize that the weekend is when many people are on Facebook.
• Focus on engagement. You are trying to connect and get response from your community. Ask questions, post helpful tips, links to articles that your audience will Like and Share. When you make the posts about your audience and what they need rather than selling, you will develop a richer and deeper relationship with your community Set aside time to follow up on posts and respond to questions on your Wall.
• Have a call to action. Tell people to click the Like or comment on the post. Have them watch your video or go to your website or Like your cover.
• Don’t oversell or undersell. No one likes a never-ending sales pitch. By the same token, make sure you do highlight your books from time-to-time! Use the 80-20 rule for content/connection posts vs. sales messages. So if you decide to post five times a week, one of the posts should be a sales message and four posts will be other helpful or fun content for your community. If you have a blog outside FB, you'll want to use NetworkedBlogs to send it outside your regular viewing area. Your blog will automatically post on your author page to create interesting content. You can also sync your Twitter account to interact with FB (both incoming Tweets and your posts can be set to go out to your Twitter account.)
• Make it fun. Facebook is a social community. People are there to have fun. This is a place where you can let your hair down a little. Stay true to your brand but think of ways to entertain your audience.
These things are a good place to start but do what works for you and do what you have time to do. If you spend more time on FB than writing, you have a problem. Just remember, there is no one “right” way to do everything on Facebook.
As I said, have fun and make sure you watch the amount of time on Farmville!
In her family of Kentucky 'ridge runners', oral tales were a tradition that even children participated in. She spent many nights with her brother, cousins and friends telling tall tales to excite the imagination. Now she creates award winning science fantasy romance filled with despair, hope, love and courage
Where to find Lynda on the web:
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Magical Mayhem is the first of many anthologies to come from new tween/teen publisher Ambush Books. This anthology truly has something for everyone featuring short tales that will twist your brain and wrap around your soul. "Heart of A Dragon" a heart-warming YA adventure by Lynda K. Scott. Magical Mayhem is the perfect bedtime companion for a cold autumn’s night.
Heartstone - Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves? After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.
Altered Destiny - Stranded on an alternate Earth, architect and Jill-of-all-trades, Liane Gautier-MacGregor must find her way back to her homeworld before she's enslaved...or falls in love with a man who is the exact duplicate of her ex-husband. Devyn MacGregor's alter ego as the Reiver Lord is the only way he can fight the Qui'arel and their nefarious Bride Bounty, a tax paid with human females...until he meets the oddly familiar woman who claims he is her husband. And who sets in motion the rebellion that will either free his countrymen or destroy them.
Great Escapes: Valentine's Day - The heartbroken and lovelorn come to Great Escapes B&B in search of a relaxing getaway, only to embark on a weekend of sexual self-discovery, courtesy of the inn's resident ghosts, who bring to life each guest's deepest desires. In Great Escapes: Valentine's Day, Rose's best friend gives her a weekend stay, where an invisible lover helps her to rediscover her sexuality. But will she open her eyes enough to see who is right next door?