There’s a cartoon showing two Native Americans standing on a mountain looking at another mountain from which clouds of smoke are rising. One says to the other: “Makes you wonder how we ever lived without it.”
One editor at a major house went from loving Twitter and editing a book about it to ignoring it because of the signal-to-noise ratio. His interest was worn down by the gap between the number of tweets he saw and their value.
Using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and author communities like Red Room to build an online network of people interested in you and your books is essential. Building and sustaining that network requires you to get people to know, like, and trust you. This will take time, patience, and persistence. How can you transform noise into signals and earn the respect of potential book buyers?
- Delivering value with the information you provide and the information of others you share
- Being responsive to those who contact you
- Being creative by offering what only you can provide
- Being consistent
- Separating personal from professional communications by having a fan page on Facebook and a personal address on Twitter
- Balancing the time you devote to social media with your other efforts
The more valuable you make yourself to people, the less you will have to sell what you create. Your online community will know that your books will be worth their time and money, and worth letting their online community know about.
What Social Media Won’t Replace
Social media can enrich your life, but it can’t replace
- Writing books that deliver
- Meeting you; readers want both kinds of connections, and the relationships that your books will lead to will be best enjoyed in person
- All of the other growing number of ways you can connect with readers online that I’ve mentiond before, including: a blog, posting to blogs, articles or short stories, videos, podcasts, and a Web site
- All of the ways you can connect with readers off-line such as talks, teaching, other events, bookstore and media appearances
- The private pleasures of experiencing your books in whatever form works best for your readers around the world:
* the feel, smell, and beauty of a well-designed book
* an audio book or MP3
* an E-book
I hope you find the wealth of possibilities for sharing your ideas and getting responses to them inspiring and exhilarating. Someday you’ll wonder how you ever could have lived without them.