Editor’s Note: This week, we’re happy to promote new member Tony Eldridge’s blog post about social networking for authors to the front page.
If you’ve been online long, you’ve heard a chorus of experts say how important it is to create an online presence. When you start, you’ll see that it’s easy to set up many individual sites, but it takes a little more work to tie these sites together into a single unit that works as one. If you don’t do this, then you will create an online presence that is hard to manage.
Some authors choose to have a social networking site as their "hub". This, however, is not my preferred method. I’d recommend that your social networking sites be the spokes that feed into your main blog or website. For more on this concept, read a post that I wrote for BookBuzzr called, Creating A Marketing Hub.
Social networking sites ebb and flow with popularity, so what we discuss now may not be the same thing we might discuss tomorrow. That said, let’s look at a few sites that authors should consider joining as well as some general principles to keep in mind as we interact with others on these sites.
Tony’s List Of Top Social Networking Sites For Authors (And Why)
- Author’s Den
- For a more exhaustive list, check out http://www.squidoo.com/socialnetworkingforwriters
Twitter and Facebook round out my top two recommendations by far. This is where people are right now and if you learn to use these two sites effectively, you can find a lot of readers for your book.
GoodReads and Shelfari are two sites devoted to books. They are reader driven sites that give authors a great platform to interact with readers.
Author Central is Amazon’s site where authors can build out more information for people who are browsing for books. Why wouldn’t you carve out your spot on the biggest book-buying place on the planet?
Author’s Den is an author driven site where you can network with other authors as well as find readers for your book.
I’ll admit that there are other great sites for authors to join. Many of these are niche sites that will be perfect for the book you wrote. For example, if you wrote a gardening book, then it makes sense for you to look for social networking sites devoted to gardening.
Once you decide to create a social networking presence, here are some things to remember:
- These sites are created to build relationships, not to advertise on. Don’t spam your readers or you will be shunned.
- These sites can help you build a reputation as an expert in your field. Find ways to enter the conversations on them.
- Keep it professional. While sharing some personal news can help you connect with your followers, too much will turn people off.
- Give more value than you ask for and people will listen to what you have to say.
- Don’t get ugly. While some people love to watch a fight, most are turned off by rude bickering. A "troll" is someone who gets his or her kicks from publicly fighting. Don’t fall into their trap by taking their bait.
- For more great ideas on this topic, read:
- Dana Lynn Smith’s post on my blog called, The 7 Deadly Sins of Online Networking
- Joanna Penn’s post called, Social Networking and Web 2.0 sites for Writers and Authors
- John Kremer’s list of Social Networking Websites.
I also recommend that you choose one or two social networking sites to start off with. A mistake many authors make is by trying to do too much too quickly and getting overwhelmed. If you want more than an online billboard, then you’ll need to spend a little time developing your presence on these sites. Add more once you can handle the few you start off with.
Here are some other posts that will help you with your social networking activities:
- You Have A New Twitter Account With No Followers: Now What?
- Tips For Using Twitter by Penny Sansevieri
- Twitter Lists: A Power Tool for Authors by Freya
- Top Ten Ways Authors Can Use Twitter by Dana Lynn Smith
- Optimize Your Twitter Profile to Attract Fans for Your Book By Phyllis Zimbler Miller
- BookBuzzr: How to Market Your Book on Facebook, MySpace and Other Social Networks
- Facebook Fundamentals for Authors– 10 articles compiled by BookBuzzr on Facebook marketing, including one from myself.
I hope this post helps you get started on the social networking part of your book marketing plan. There are a lot of resources out there to help. What I’ve shared barely scratches the surface. With a little planning, a little research, and taking things one step at a time, you can build an online presence with social networking sites that definitely bring value to you, your books, and to all the people you connect with.