Not knowing how to go about it, I picked up Zoe Winter's wonderfully informative Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author. While the book deals mostly with indie publishing--including publishing to Kindle, working with Smashwords, creating both a production and marketing schedule, and much more--it did include a brief overview of social media for writers, including the importance of having a blog to connect with readers. Zoe Winters also recommends starting a newsletter, because someone might subscribe to your blog and never look at it again, but people who subscribe to your newsletter genuinely want to read what you have to say (particularly if it involves freebies and contests, like her newsletter does).
So that led me to another wonderful book, ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, which has a ton of helpful information about successful blogging in general.
But I still didn't know how to apply what I had learned to my blog. I mean, I'm a fiction writer. I write books for kids and teens. Wasn't there a book that could tell me step-by-step how a fiction writer could use social media to increase his or her platform? Fortunately, there is.
The Best Social Media Guide Specifically for Writers
We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb is like having a smart, funny friend who will take you by the hand and show you exactly what you need to succeed and how to do it.
For example, about halfway through, the book has a recap with a list of the first things you will need:
- A brand name (the name that will appear on your book)
- A list of your goals divided into three categories:
- Strategic Career Goals (where you want to be in five years)
- Strategic Marketing Goals (to create the image you want associated with your brand)
- Ten Tactical Goals (the things you plan to do to achieve your publishing goals, like creating a blog and following the blogs of potential readers.)
- A collection of content material--like pictures and videos--to help support your brand
- 10-15 posts (500-1,000 words each) related to your topic to serve as strategic content
- Three bios of different lengths
- A detailed profile of your reader and consumer demographic
For example, when it comes to your brand name, the author explains how important it is for it to be the same name as the one that will appear on your books--because even if you do all the right things when it comes to social media, no one will be able to find your book when they're looking for one written by @LemurLady27.
She also explains that your readers aren't your fellow writers (although you should still network with them) or people who read books like they're chewing gum. "Yup, that one's finished, now I think I'll try fruit flavored." Your readers are the people who generally don't read that much, but will read your book because you wrote it just for them. It's like the way Harry Potter made readers out of non-readers. That's your ultimate goal.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you're a writer who's been frustrated by social media because you don't know where to start or why it's not going as you hoped, this is the book for you.
And now it's time for me to start working on those 10-15 articles for my strategic content. I have so many ideas I can't wait. Thanks, Kristen Lamb!