I'm just home from a vacation to the West Coast, trying to re-acclimate to things like laundry, email, and Colorado temperatures, and wanted to share some thoughts from our April meeting before they escape my memory. We covered a lot of subjects, but focused primarily on social media as it relates to our writing careers.
For the modern writer, establishing an online presence is a crucial part of self-promotion and marketing. While book tours and speaking engagements and signings and press releases are still important, the judicious use of Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Blogger, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., gives every author with an Internet connection the ability to expand his or her "reach" worldwide. Just look at the numbers in this infographic created by en.gauge.media titled "The Biggest Shift Since The Industrial Revolution":
How we go about creating that online presence varies from writer to writer, and that's OK. If the idea of blogging, for example, makes you uncomfortable because it's too time-consuming, or too personal, set up a website that you only need to update when you get ready for your next book release. If Facebook seems too intrusive, get a Pinterest account and find and share pictures that have to do with your latest writing project. And if you don't have time for lengthy blog posts, tweets on Twitter are limited to 140 characters.
Feeling really bold? Take a video of yourself talking about your book project and share it on YouTube like James Rubart has done here. Or post your book trailer on Vimeo. Or join Goodreads and share book reviews and recommendations with thousands of other folks who love books. There's something for everyone... you don't have to do ALL the things.
On that note, another writer friend shared this article from CastleGate Press: "How do you effectively sell your books through social media?" last week. It answers a question that came up about using Pinterest to sell books, which is an interesting concept since Pinterest is less about words than pictures. Another plus, for the introverts among us, Pinterest tends to require less personal interaction than some of the other social media sites!
For another take on establishing a social media platform, check out this article: "How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books."
One question we weren't really able to answer was how we can avoid being sucked into the time vortex that social media can become. Besides writing, many of us hold part-time or full-time jobs, care for families and homes, and spend a significant portion of time volunteering at church or school. Carving time for social media can be a real challenge. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments!
Our meetings get better and better all the time, lots of laughs and encouragement and edification time. That said, be sure to add Saturday, May 24 to your calendar for our next meeting. Details and reminders to follow!