A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What about social media?

What is this platform thing I've been hearing about? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a platform is a “flat surface that is raised higher than the floor or ground and that people stand on when performing or speaking.” Yes, that's great. But what does that mean for an author in this digital world?

A writer's platform is a group of activities you engage in that get your name and work noticed by the public. You're marketing yourself, selling who you are and what you write, but not necessarily the novel/novella/short story you're publishing at the time. It's a way for people to get to know you before you get to the publishing point. This occurs through the marvelous invention called social media.

Facebook is a good one. It lets you get in touch with friends, who can direct you to others. You can develop a personality. You have to be careful to balance your life with the persona you want to portray. If you post a lot of depressing things, bemoaning how hard your life is, you're probably going to chase people away. Share something funny, try to stay upbeat, and mention how your writing is going. There are people who are going to be interested in that.

Google+ is another good resource for writers. Now I know, it's not as well used or as familiar as Twitter and Facebook. But you can connect with other writers, create circles where you can share your blog posts, your cover reveals, pieces of your writing process. You can talk to others who write in your genre, your area, even your city. It all depends on how you use it.

Pinterest is a fantastic time waster. But it can also be useful if you know what you're doing. Find pictures that make you think of your writing. Post those to your Pinterest galleries. Look at what other people pin. If you're like me, you find many different things to catch your attention and share them in your galleries.

Then there's Twitter. Where else can you interact with people in a concise method, since you have to keep everything at 140 characters or less? You can share ideas, retweet things that are interesting, and post links to your blog posts or your works. I recommend using something like bit.ly or ow.ly to shorten your links though, so they don't take up a huge portion of your tweet.

One thing to remember about your platform is you're not out to sell books. You can talk about your books, link them (DO NOT SPAM! A FEW TIMES A DAY IS ENOUGH!). But you're selling yourself. Become friends with people. Retweet their tweets. Like and share their posts. Leave comments on their posts. Talk to them like they're people, not potential buyers. Kristen Lamb has a great post here about this. Go check it out.

Remember, you're a human being. Act like one. Social media is a must in our line of work, but use it as a way to connect as a person. The more people know and like you, the more likely you are to attract their attention when you mention occasionally that there's a book floating around that you've written. Also, it's more fun if you're a person rather than schlepping your book around all the time.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! We all tend to overcomplicate the "platform" thing. Many people don't like the "just being a person" because they can't measure it with algorithms or tools. But, it is far more enduring and enjoyable. Thanks for mentioning me and great to be your social media friend ((HUGS)).