Hello Fellow Writers,
The fact that you are reading this suggests that you already have a social network presence. Good start. Today I'm talking about preparing a body of friends, colleagues and potential readers BEFORE you publish your book.
The mistake I made
I invested all of my social networking on one platform. I thought that posting on Facebook would be enough. I thought if I enthused friends and family to look at my developing web page, cover ideas and blurbs, that they would share my brilliance and new followers would like my page in their hundreds.
Guess what happened...
They liked my posts, gave helpful feedback when requested, and that was pretty much it. Don't get me wrong; I'm very grateful for the support and help my friends & family gave, but what I needed them to do was share.
I had launched a Twitter profile. My opening Tweet outlined plans to Journalise my progress as I wrote PROLOGUE. I received encouraging messages from people I didn't know, but I didn't follow it through. I didn't think about how important my online presence would be when the book was launched; I was living the fairy tail in which ebooks sell by their thousands without any active promotion; I thought it was more important that I commit my time to writing the best zombie horror book the world had ever seen.
The lesson I learned
If you're writing an ebook, the best place to market and promote it is online. If you already have a substantial followship, then your job will be so much easier. The best way to build your followship from scratch is...
Be proactively reactive - Start by searching for posts covering areas of personal interest, then comment on and share posts and tweets that you have something to add to. If you see actual value in everything one person posts, then post a comment saying so. Follow people who interest you and soon your followship will grow.
Avoid following everyone, or sharing everything you see.
Be sure to outline your craft and interests in your profile description, but don't let it be the only thing you talk about.
The three platforms I have experience of are...
Facebook - I started social networking on FB and I'll probably never leave. My primary profile is followed by friends & family and my posts cover family life and activities, which include references to my writing and design work, but I wouldn't think of it as a marketing platform, so rarely post book marketing material. For that I use Facebook Pages:
Gaz & Lou's Safe House - is a website that exists in my novel, so it seemed appropriate to build a page named after it. Here I post links to survival tips, news about the developing dystopia in which we live, and links to my blog of the same name.
Jumping Thumb - Named after my MULTeMEDIA web page. Here I post links to writing tips, zombie and horror media and this blog.
I try to post something new on my pages, once or twice a day, Monday to Friday. Posts on FB Pages can only be directed at Public and, unless you pay to have your post enhanced, will not be delivered to many users. Until a post is shared from your page, don't expect to see particularly encouraging seen by numbers.
Twitter - has become a mixed platform for personal and marketing posts. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, and I accept that many, if not most of the entities following me are bots, or have their own sales agenda. For example, a very high percentage of my followers are also writers, linking out to their own blogs and sales info, much like me. What I try to remember is that, like me, most writers are also readers (at least, they should be) and they are as valid as a potential customer as they are as a colleague or friend.
I tweet about my blogs and book info three or four times a day, Monday to Friday. I tweet about personal interests and retweet items I find interesting or funny and reply directly to tweets if appropriate. If there's space available, when I retweet I try to add a comment that explains why I'm retweeting.
Look out for entities that only seem to retweet from one source. I try not to invest much time in these marketing engines, but remember that behind that hi-res image of a beautiful person, there's a human being who might be interested in me.
If you can't think of anything to tweet about, look at the Trending list under Discover and join in with a #game or two.
Google+ - is an odd one. People have said that there are no real people on it, but I've found it to be a warm and welcoming community of helpful supportive people. I like the way that communities are structured and easier to understand than Facebook groups, and there's more real estate for words than on Twitter.
I try to post twice every day, Monday to Friday, sharing my interest in photography and photo manipulation, plus links to my blogs and helpful info.
The secret is to get involved: join in with conversations, comment on posts and tweets, share, like and follow people who interest you. Do unto others... i suppose is the bullet point of what I'm trying to get across.
I hope this has helped.
Thanks for reading and keep writing.