I’m not talking about genre. I’m not talking about pantser vs. plotter. I’m not talking about introverted or extroverted. I’m talking about your social media presence.
We’re all familiar with authors who post strident, desperate “BUY MY BOOK!” notices on their social media pages. They lament infinitesimal drops in Amazon rankings and newsletter subscribers, and the unfairness of publishing in general. Their focus is always, relentlessly, on their sales.
But many people don’t know how to present themselves on social media without the constant use of a bullhorn. And if you’re a writer for the long-haul, you need to carve out a unique place for yourself. Getting noticed isn’t easy, unless you’re one of those annoying people. So how about making your reputation as someone who’s not so obsessed with their own sales, but generous in their online relationships?
Social media – especially Facebook – helped me research, fund and sell my latest book. It was an almost five-year journey, one with serious roadblocks, that I could not have completed without the relationships I developed and maintained online. And it was easy.
I asked for help.
I asked people for help every step of the way. I went into writing with the determination to never be afraid to ask for help, and this is where that promise to myself was realized. Online friends and strangers supported me. Their excitement when the book was finally published overwhelmed me. They are helping promote it and recommend speaking engagements. They are invested in this book.
Yes, I asked for help. But the help went both ways.
It wasn’t just that I friend them, like their posts, wish them a happy birthday. If they’re writers, I share info on their books. Yes, I promote other people’s books. I buy some of them, too. I donate to crowdfunding campaigns.
When appropriate, I connect them to other individuals or groups that might be able to help them in their publishing journey, or their advocacy work. It’s not intentional matchmaking. You could call it a transactional business relationship. Or you could call it friendship. The label isn’t important. It’s the desire to help.
I was pretty stunned to find that the new book was the #1 New Release in its main category on Amazon. That never happened to me before. At least I don’t think it has. I rarely check my Amazon rankings, unlike some writers who check hourly.
That was a nice surprise, but it was not a goal. My goals are long-term, and that’s why building relationships is so important to me. I have reviews and interviews coming out through August, and speaking engagements already booked into late October. I’m not panicking. If a day goes by when I don’t sell a book, that’s okay.
So take a look at your online activity. Do you participate in groups and support other writers? Do you share information about author fairs and contests? Do you review other writers’ books on your blog, your Facebook page or on Amazon? Or are you just posting “BUY MY BOOK!”?
Relationships are relationships, whether personal or professional, whether online or in real life. Start building real ones with readers and other writers today.