Friday, October 19, 2012

Riding the Beast of Social Media

The cool weather is back. I wake from my long summer's torpor and pick up my Authors Guild Bulletin. It says here that other writers are prospering in their careers through skillful use of social media.

How does one do this? A couple of years ago I got some advice from Janet Reid, the Query Shark, who gave me tips on improving my web site (, told me to post on my blog three times a week, and guided me onto Twitter. My Twitter handle is @kategallison. Oh, please follow me. I still don't have many followers. On the other hand I don't tweet much. But this is about to change.

Alafair Burke's Puppy
Alafair Burke (@alafairburke) is good on Twitter, Janet says. I follow her, and it's true. She shares personal stuff without grossly invading her own privacy, a fine line to walk, and interacts gracefully with other tweeters. Besides being a lovely person and an engaging writer, Alafair has a really cute puppy.

J.T. Ellison (@thrillerchick) was mentioned in the Authors Guild article as having an excellent Facebook presence. I looked, and it's true. Odyl helped her design the application, and Involver handles her mailing list. Constant Contact is one of many other services that will do this for people. The mailing list is used to direct the newsletter.

Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) won an award for her Twitter activities. She's a lot of fun to follow. Her web site is very nice, having been developed over a period of years. The visual design is gorgeous, and the functions work well.

All of these women are writers of enviable success, and owe some of it to social media. What are they doing that the rest of us can emulate? Here's a plan.

Write a really excellent book. (Hey, I did that. A couple of times.)

Choose your social media venue carefully. Don't overextend yourself. Nobody does everything. Remember you're going to have to update early and often. Here's what's out there that's been useful for reaching readers:
  • Your web site. You have to have one. I'll tell you what needs to be on it in my next post, and suggest ways to put it together whether or not you have technical expertise. Meanwhile check out the above links to other people's sites.
  • Your blog. That can be the same as your web site, with a little tweaking. Blogger supports custom URLs, and a number of other platforms probably do too. (If you don't know what any of  that means, don't worry about it. We'll talk later.)
  • Your newsletter. You will write this at regular intervals and your mailing service will mail it out to the people who gave them their emails and said they wanted it. (I haven't been doing one. Maybe later.)
  • Facebook. You can put up an author page on Facebook, which is different from the "wall" you use to send baby pictures to Aunt Fanny. It can, and should, be beautifully decorated and fancy.
  • Twitter. Post short, clever observations here, hang around to see what goes on, and become involved in conversations. Post links to items of interest.
  • Goodreads. You should explore that. I'm no good at it.
  • Youtube. You can put book trailers up, if you have the skills or the money, or you can post home movies of your puppy.

There are others. These are the most popular right now. I don't understand the usefulness of LinkedIn to writers unless they're looking for day jobs, but there are groups on LinkedIn where you can talk to other writers.

Be open to hiring help. (For setting up pages and mailing lists, that is, not for writing tweets, blog posts, or Facebook remarks. That's supposed to be you talking.)

So here I go, all set to drum up a little interest before the next book comes out (MONKEYSTORM, or maybe BUCKER DUDLEY.) I'm going to try out some of the things mentioned in the Authors Guild article as well as the things I talked about here. I'll let you know how it goes.

I am not going to get a puppy.

Kate Gallison

1 comment:

  1. You've touched on an issue key to lots of folks currently. Two people exploring this topic are Triss Stein and Beth Groundwater.Both bright people with healthy writing careers , interested in sharing their expansion in social media with colleagues. tjs