By Author Kelli A. Wilkins
This is the first of, what I hope, will be a series of guest bloggers writing about their experiences with public relations and social media. I hope you enjoy!
Marketing your writing is a crucial step that many authors find confusing or intimidating, and some introverted writers feel funny “bragging” about their book. I’m here to tell you to face your fears and go for it! (Besides, you’ve worked hard on your writing and the world should know about it.)
When I started writing, there was no such thing as social media or blogs, and once they arrived, the thought of delving into this new territory was overwhelming. But I went step by step, learning through trial and error, and eventually graduated from posting my first blog to creating my own website.
Here is some practical advice for marketing your writing using social media:
Social Media Sites: You could spend the majority of your day on social media sites posting, linking, reading, and looking at funny cat pictures. But let’s start with the basics – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Yes, we all know we “should” be using these sites to promote/market our writings, but why? How? What’s the difference? Recently, my friend’s screenplay was a finalist in a national contest, and he was unsure why he should promote it on all three sites. “Why would you not?” I asked.
Setting up Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts is easy and it gives you (and your writing) the ability to connect with millions of people in seconds. It’s also free publicity. (And who would pass that up?) When you create your profile, you decide how much information you want to share, what to leave private, and who you’re going to connect with.
No matter what genre you write, social media allows you to build relationships with professional organizations, writing groups, book groups, individual readers, reviewers, other authors, and publishers. And don’t forget about your friends! Reposting and retweeting have the potential to make one message viral in a matter of hours.
You’re probably wondering… “What do I Tweet about? What could I say in 140 characters?” You’d be amazed. A simple Tweet announcing a book contest, a new release, or a great review can spark interest in you as a writer or your latest project. When I Tweet about a book, I always include the genre, title, and a link to the interview, blog, or book. Readers can follow the link to learn more. Even if you have nothing “newsworthy” to Tweet one day, post a link to your blog or website with something like, “Looking for hot historicals to spice up your weekend? Check out my romances: www.KelliWilkins.com”.
Facebook posts are generally longer and you may want to include review snippets, a plot summary, or a more detailed post about your book. You can also make a dedicated page for your book or a fan page for yourself (the writer).
Use LinkedIn to reach book groups, author groups, and other professionals that could help advance your writing career. To make things easier, link your Twitter account to Facebook, LinkedIn to Twitter, etc. so one post will go out to different groups of people (depending on who you’re connected to).
There are lots of other book-related sites out there for authors. Goodreads and Shelfari let you create a profile, add your books to their virtual shelves, post reviews, and share your message with thousands of groups. Goodreads also allows you to post writings – these could be anything from a short story to a poem. I use this feature to post my writing newsletter, contest info, reviews, or anything else I want to promote. A few other sites you may want to explore are: RomanceWiki, Bookhitch, Author’s Den, and Zoominfo.
Blogs: Do you have a blog? If not, what are you waiting for? Blogs are excellent platforms for building readership, sharing book news, excerpts, reviews, or whatever you want to talk about. If you write humor, post funny anecdotes or beginnings of stories then ask your blog followers to write their own endings. Working on a horror story? Post the opener on the blog and ask for reader feedback.
Remember, you’re not limited to promoting yourself on your own blog. Follow other blogs and post comments, give feedback, and ask (or answer) questions. Offer to guest post on authors’ blogs or writing blogs, or set up a virtual blog tour to promote your latest book on different writing or genre-related blogs. Many bloggers will also do interviews, so ask about them, as well. No matter what you post and promote, always include an author bio and links to where readers can find you (and your books). Guest blog posts and interviews will help increase your audience and find new readers. (And again, free publicity!)
Amazon.com author page: If your book is on Amazon, create an author page through Author Central. It’s a great way to promote your books and website, and it’s easy to refer readers directly to this page to see all of your writings. You can even link your blog and other social media posts to it.
Internet radio: Internet radio shows are a fun way to actually talk about your books and writing projects instead of just typing about them. It’s a different way to reach a world-wide audience and make a solid connection to listeners (who may become your readers.) I was interviewed twice on the Women Entrepreneurs Radio show on Blogtalk Radio and the show had more than a thousand “listens” in a week. (Listen to an archived interview here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coachdeb/2012/08/09/multi-published-romance-author-kelli-wilkins).
Yahoo Groups: Whether you write magazine articles, non-fiction books, fun children’s stories, horror, or steamy romances, there’s a Yahoo Group (or a hundred) for you. Yahoo Groups are filled with readers, writers, hobbyists, and other group members who may be interested in your work. Most groups have moderators and rules for what’s acceptable to post and when, so read their guidelines. I use Yahoo Groups to post excerpts from my books and to tell readers about interviews, contests, and more.
I hope these tips showed you how easy it is to market and promote your writing. It takes time to set up your profiles and pages, but once they’re done, they are pretty simple to maintain. Used intelligently, social media can help you bond with readers and reviewers, and build a platform to showcase your writing.
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT KELLI A. WILKINS
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, fifteen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Her most recent book, Ultimate Night’s Delights (an erotic historical) was released in September 2013 and was a top ten finalist in the Preditors & Editors poll, erotic romance category. Kelli is releasing two historical romances this spring: Wilderness Bride in March 2014 and Dangerous Indenture in May 2014.
Kelli publishes a blog (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/) filled with excerpts, interviews, writing prompts, and whatever else pops into her head. She also writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli’s Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter.
She invites readers to visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.
Catch up with Kelli on the Web:
Amber Quill Press Author page http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_Wilkins.html
Medallion Press Author Page http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/