Friday, July 2, 2010

Social Media: How to Make It Work for You -- Rather Than You Working for It

--From the Writers' League of Texas 2010 Agents Conference.

The moderator was Shennandoah Diaz of Greenleaf Book Group. The panelists were: Scott Allen of BookRix, author Lynn Reardon, Jennifer Hill Robenalt of Robin Hill Media, and Rusty Shelton of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.

Rusty said that an author should act like a media outlet and a resource for others to use. When doing so, don't try to sell books. Provide content that others can use and you'll get your name out there. Jennifer agreed and said to talk about yourself the way you would at a party. Be real, knowledgeable, not superficial.

Be consistent about who you are and get the most out of the content you put out. Develop a following. The more followers you have, the better chance you have to get an agent. Use content in your blog that causes readers to keep reading and recommend your blog to others.

Include book reviews of books similar to yours in you blog. Review best sellers so that your reviews have a better chance of reaching more people. Most authors will want to link to you after a favorable review. Also, the author's agent and publisher will take note of you. They probably have Google Alerts set to find any information that mentions their client and their client's books.

Jennifer said to request an interview with an author for your blog. This will give you access to their publicity. Usually, all you have to do is send them questions and they'll send the answers for you to publish.

Scott said he found interviews generate more traffic than book reviews. Also, interviews take up more pages and there's more for the search engines to pick up. In addition, interviews last longer than reviews since interviews are about the author and reviews are about the book.

Rusty said to use Google Alerts to help find timely subjects for a blog. If you don't have time to do everything, the top priority is a blog and a website. After that comes Twitter followed by Facebook.

Scott said the fastest and cheapest way to get to the top of the Google search page is to have a video. Jennifer mentioned using to help prepare a video.

See Paulo Coelho on Facebook for an example of using social media to advertise yourself and your books.

Lynn said she started using social media six months before her book came out. She calls it an accidental bestseller.

Jennifer mention virtual book tours with like-minded authors. Scott said he didn't do face-to-face tours and now regrets it. He recommends doing as many book signings and speeches as possible.

Rusty said you should publish your book for e-Readers and add links at the end to get to your website and/or blog.

Scott said to look for ways to link to a charity in your blog. This generates a wider audience while doing some good for the charity.

Lynn suggested sharing a dilemma with your readers. Get them involved. Readers want to know your writing process.

One of the panelists suggested to learn more about using the media.

With Where Love Once Lived, I need to look for Christian Fiction groups in and around Austin for face-to-face meeting. I could offer to talk about my experience with CreateSpace, writing the book, and using social media for publicity.

If you have a book to sell, let me know if any of these suggestions from the panelists help.

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