Publishing tweets and status updates is definitely different from publishing the usual writing projects, but hey — self-publishing writers can benefit from being self-promoting writers, too. Social media offers amazing platforms to connect with readers, other writers, and catch the attention of publishers — all great opportunities.
- Don’t promote yourself 24/7
It’s easy to see your Twitter account or Facebook page as a billboard for all your work, but remember: If you expect people to interact with your social media, it’s important to build connections and interact with their social media. People want to interact with other people, not what seems like a robot.
In fact, Livehacked suggests only posting about your work 20% of the time — spending the other 80% highlighting other people’s work or interacting with people in other ways. This creates an engaging, humanized account for potential readers and encourages stronger connections — not just an account that spits out links to new stories.
- Pick platforms that you actually like to use Don’t force yourself to create a social media account on every single platform — think about accounts you’ll actually use and enjoy using. For some people that’s Tumblr, for other people that’s LinkedIn, and for other people it’s Instagram — but as The Write Life says, you won’t be as motivated to stick with regularly posting something if you don’t actually like the site.
- Utilize “About Me” sections so they’re clear for potential followers
People’s attention spans online are limited — if someone does stumble upon your social media page, they’ll quickly scan the “about me” or “profile” blurb for a quick glimpse into what you’re about. People intuitively and immediately look at these spaces on blogs, YouTube channels, etc. to get a quick sense of whether they should dive into the material more — if you don’t have a clear and concise explanation, chances are they won’t dig for it.
So, create something you can use across social media platforms that explains that kind of writing you do and a little bit more about yourself if you like.
- Think inside and outside the box Though engaging and interacting on a popular social media website is smart, don’t forget about the smaller or more niche ways that you can use social media to work for you. The Huffington Post has a trio of really smart ways that indie authors can benefit from social media, including crowd-funding, social media advertising, and more. Social media is all about thinking creatively — something writers should be able to do with ease!
- Share social media success with potential publishers
As mentioned above, being engaging and interacting is really what will benefit you in the long run. But, if the strategy works, don’t shy away from bragging about those numbers if you have them.
Keep in mind that a built-in social media audience can be compelling to a publisher — so if you’re trying to prove that you can sell books, build a brand, etc., saying that you’ve grown your Twitter following into the tens of thousands in a matter of months could be a compelling piece of info. Plus, publishers will probably ask about this anyway, as Aliventures mentions.
- Use it as a research tool
Curious what readers are looking for? Not sure how to end that story? Wondering what color your book cover should be? There are tons of sneaky ways to slide questions like this into social media, and get real-time feedback from your audience. Especially if you are usually self-publishing, being able to engage with readers and ask questions can be a valuable research tool.
One cautionary rule, though: As helpful as social media can be in building your brand, it can also become distracting if you become obsessed. If you’re writing, turn off your phone and block the social media websites — or just get off the Internet entirely.