Charles Dickens once wrote that “you can’t shut out the world…you must mingle with it…make the best of it…and make the best of yourself into the bargain.” Social media is as important to writers as the words they put on the page. If you cut yourself off from the world, you lose connection with your readers.
There are some authors (like Joanna Trollope) who believe that social media engagement is a threat to literature, but I disagree.
It is human nature to be social in some form. Social media interaction allows us to do so from the comfort of our own homes. You can give articulate responses in pajamas and no one would know the difference.
Social media is beneficial for writers. Your online presence is necessary and valuable to your author brand. Here are some tips to get you started.
Nix the Drama
You’ve seen it happen. Flame wars, insults, rumor spreading, schoolyard-style bullying and more are what give authors in social media a bad name. Your social media presence represents who you are to your readers. They will remember how you act, so keep the drama to a minimum.
Be Comfortable in Your Skin
I’m not talking about taking selfies. I mean show your fans, friends, colleagues, and potential readers something you enjoy doing. If you like to paint, share that. If you enjoy planning your week on a paper calendar or in a planner, snap a quick photo before you add personal data to it so they can see your process. When you’re ready to ship off new products, show the shipping production line. I work with one author who shares the view out her window when she’s writing, and her affection for her cats who regularly lay on her keyboard.
The behind-the-scenes posts are what makes you stand out from the crowd!
It’s Not About Sales (Most of the Time)
Social media is about being social. While your end-goal is to gain loyal book-buying readers, you won’t get there by pounding them with promotional material post after post. By the same token, if you never post about what you do or the services you provide (with links, of course, since most of your social media readership are now mobile-only users), they won’t engage with your sales funnel.
Spelling and Grammar are IMPORTANT!
While it’s easy to become lax about spelling and grammar, I would urge you not to be. Have trouble with either one? Try a free plugin like Grammarly. If you’re a fumble fingers with your phone, consider a USB keyboard, using a stylus, or waiting until you’re able to concentrate more on your posts.
Social media isn’t the literature-killer that people believe. Not every reader will be on board with their favorite author having a social presence. For the rest, however, they’ll be thankful for the chance to get to know you.