Writing used to be a solitary occupation.
You had your typewriter, your cave, and your scotch (possibly that was only Hemmingway) and you did your thing.
These days, this isn’t so much the case.
Whether your natural inclination is to be a cave-dweller or not, it is a reality that writers must become, if not masters of social media, then at the very least journeymen. Social media is a vital part of the writer’s platform. And even if you self-publish, you’re not an island and it’s going to take a lot of people to help you be a success.
So how do you do that without being that annoying person who constantly slams people with messages that are all “Me me me me me!”
Well, first off, you don’t do that. In case your mama didn’t teach you that growing up, it’s impolite to always talk about yourself.
The quickest way to make friends is to be one.
- Ask about them.
- Be genuinely interested.
- Have conversations.
- Make actual acquaintances that turn into friends.
A smaller number of those is exponentially greater and more helpful in the long run than even the biggest traditional media blitz. Because in the end, it’s not about selling your work. It’s about selling YOU. If people like you and you earn a reputation of someone who’s helpful and knowledgeable, they’re a lot more likely to want to help you out by RTing you, spreading the word, mentioning your book when folks are looking for something to read.
Because they just like you.
I’m a prime example that this approach to social media works. After my unexpected nomination for the 2012 DABWAHA Tourney last month (the ONLY indie author in the field), I not only held my own, but I actually won the first bracket against traditionally published Kendare Blake, author of the amazing Anna Dressed In Blood. And if you look at the voting numbers, my bracket had over 100 more votes than the other brackets being voted on that day.
That was my people, my campaign. They were awesome. I had fans and friends telling me that they had their friends and family vote. A few even borrowed random strangers’ cell phones to get in an extra vote! People don’t go out on that limb, go that extra mile, for people they don’t have an actual relationship with. And relationships are what my platform is built on.
Know how I got to developing all those relationships? By paying it forward.
My focus isn’t on self promotion. My focus is on helping others.
- I have an awesome crit partner, so I started a site to help others try to find one (Crit Partner Match, sadly, now defunct).
- I helped found the Indie Book Collective.
- I’ve written numerous tutorials on the basics of self publishing.
- If I find an awesome craft book, I recommend it to everybody.
- If I find a new author I like, particularly a self published one, I tell others, let people know, and write a review.
Because that all matters and every little bit helps.
I don’t do it with the expectation that those people will then somehow “owe” me. That goes against the notion of paying it forward.
You don’t do it for personal gain. You do it because it’s the nice thing to do, the right thing. Putting some positivity out in the world is the best way to improve your general karma.
Like attracts like, so what better way than to truly practice the Golden Rule. Do unto others in your publishing journey.
I promise, you’ll thank me for the return you get for your investment.