Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Social Media a Must for the Aspiring Author!

It's funny because everywhere I'm reading about blogger/writers unplugging, desperate to find balance, and I'm posting today about more stuff you need to do if you want to get your name out there and develop a following prior to publication, as well as get attention for your book after.

(And prior means NOW, don't even wait until you have an agent or publisher. Don't wait until you finish your manuscript!) If you doubt my word look at what Elana Johnson has done to get a following eagerly waiting for her book to be published. And Talli Roland. Those two ladies rock the blogging world, and we love them and can't wait to buy their books!

Alright, I admit it, I finally joined Twitter. It's not the time suck I thought it would be. I can't tell yet how effective it is for the time spent since I've not experienced it long enough to make a judgment. But it's fun. And fast. I plan on doing more with it. If any of you have input on how well it works as a social media marketing tool, please share in your comments.

I love to see Goodreads icons on blogger/writer sidebars. It's truly one of the most underrated and underused social media sites available for authors. Because it is all about books. You can't say that about Twitter, Facebook or even blogs. IMHO every author and future author must have an account on Goodreads! And work it. Add books, friends and reviews. Don't just use it to plug yourself and your book. Or set up an account then ignore it. (The same principles apply everywhere in social media!)

Can I tell you how excited I was this week to see that several of my blogger buddies had added my books to their Goodreads to-read list? I wanted to turn cartwheels of joy, I felt so loved and supported. Talli's The Hating Game is also showing up everywhere on Goodreads to-read lists, and I'm turning cartwheels of joy for her, too!

If you have a book out, be sure to set up your author profile on Goodreads. It's quite easy to do. Here's mine if you want to check it out, and while you're there please click the friend request! I love to know what everyone's reading!

Another book site is Shelfari, lesser known than Goodreads but pretty much the same deal. I have a shelf of memoirs, etc. on my From the Shadows to the Page blog, since my platform there is about writing from life. So I created the Shelfari shelf specifically for those types of books to be displayed on that blog.

I recently joined Facebook to view family members photos. Other than that I don't plan on doing a lot with it, other than directing traffic to my blogs. Right now I'm all about reading, writing, publishing, marketing books and supporting the author community, not touching base with old friends from high school. Although that might be a pleasant diversion, at this time of my life I don't have time to spend on Facebook.

I've done nothing on You Tube except post the Farm Girl book trailer.  But how many of you saw this the past few days on various blogs? If you think this guy was just having a moan about signing at Waldenbooks, you're mistaken. He's  promoting himself and his books in an entertaining way that has probably gotten lots more attention than any book signing ever would. (I've never heard of him. I'm assuming he's really an author.)

We all have limited time and resources, but don't neglect what will help promote your career as a writer. And right now it is social media. There's lots to choose from. We don't have to do it all, but we've got to really work at what we choose.

Did I leave anything out? What is your preferred social media outlet?


  1. i totally understand the importance of blogging, twitter, fb, etc - before and after getting an agent. in fact, i started my blog anonymously (i'm a creature of habit) but realized i needed to establish my name and voice when it came to my writing.

    still not on the twitter bandwagon, yet. having a hard enough time blogging regularly!

  2. Okay...I have a Twitter account (all of 48 hours old, LOL) but I have no idea what to do with it. Will have to get a tutorial from daughterling, I think.

    I also need to actually SET UP a Goodreads account. I went over there and poked around and was so impressed I sent a note off to book loving friends and family, but I still need to set it up.

    So far, my preferred outlet is blogging! I'm thinking 140 characters is going to be a painful limitation for me....

  3. I love blogs and twitter, and definitely do see the importance of social media. However, I'm always too afraid of going too far. I'm addicted to blogging (reading blogs), and get lost easily on Twitter. For aspiring writers, it's important to find a balance. I spend too little time writing compare to being on the Internet. :(

  4. Sandy, you are so right! I mean what good is it all going to do us if we aren't finishing and polishing our manuscripts? That's why we have to set limits. We can't do it all, but what we choose needs to be done well.

    Vicki, I'll come follow you on Twitter!

    Mi, I'm not sure what got me finally on Twitter. It's ok but I prefer blogging.

  5. I think that if I were to have my own Facebook or Twitter pages, I'd probably just spend a ton of time on it, like I do with blogging. And if I had a Facebook page, I wouldn't want to link it to my blog since I'm trying to stay mostly anonymous, at least for now. But that'll change if and when I publish anything, of course. :)

  6. I've had a goodreads account for ages but just recently filled in all the information. Now I'm making friends. I keep a list of what I've read and what I want to read on my computer, so why not just do it with goodreads? I'll check you out on twitter and goodreads.

  7. My goodness - Facebook is filled up with writers and readers. You can create ads for your books and attract a huge following. You can oipen one just for writing and tell all your live friends it's a business page for writers only - they'll understand. (I would hope.) :)

    It's not just about high school? It's an excellent medium to get yourself out there, I think. 'High school' is only what it's about if you friend high school friends. The place is full of writers, agents and editors.

    Other than that, excellent post. :-)

    - Corra

    from the desk of a historical writer

  8. Congratulations on seeing your books turn up on people's shelves, even if it is only their virtual ones. My Shelfari Shelf drives me to distraction - I can't make it work.
    I read a lot of links from Twitter everyday, love the ease of communication on Facebook but it is the Blogs (writers and the industry ones) that fill my head with images.

  9. Wow!! I love your book trailer to Farm Girl - and to the voice of Johnny Cash too - brilliant!!

    And yes that guy Parnell Hall does exist (I googled him when I saw his trailler - cos I thought how on earth did he get to sit next to Ms Higgins Clark - lol!)

    Good luck with everyone's efforts at publicizing their work and promoting their books and themselves!! I hope you all have fun too!

    I'm thoroughly enjoying taking part and sharing writer bloggers journeys to success!

    Take care

  10. Oooh, I am off to explore Goodreads :) Thanks for the tip, Karen!

    I blog, I read Twitter but I don't tweet much (brevity and I, not the best of friends. . . but it's a skill worth learning!), and my Facebook is strictly friends and family only. I could be better. And given how much I love blogging, trying out other outlets seems like a good plan. If I like them half as much, I'm ahead :)

  11. I will have to check out Goodreads. Thanks for that tip Karen. I use facebook. Started out as a way to keep contact with my children while in Ireland. Now I use it to promote my blog posts to those who are unfamiliar with blogs. It has increased my readers. Twitter, I still grapple with that one.

  12. I love blogs, but try as I might I just "don't get" Twitter.


    Publish or Perish

  13. I am on Twitter - I agree - it's fun. I don't find it too addictive, so it hasn't been a problem for me. I enjoy the chats - for me #yalitchat, #kidlitchat & #writechat are awesome. I tend to lurk more than comment, but I've learned a lot. :)

  14. I know I need to do more than blogging. Maybe Twitter. Might check out Goodreads, too. Thanks for the tip, Karen!

  15. Facebook for me hasn't been just connecting with family. A dear friend from my earlier years in Virginia saw the photo I finally posted, read my blurb I had posted about my blog, and said she would be my strongest promoter of my novel when it's published!!

    Yes, social media via Internet is what we authors have to use. And it's fun, too. I tried Twitter and then abandoned it. I just can't do everything. When my novel's actually out I may go back to it. Meanwhile....blogging is great. I love it. I now have it under control. Thanks for your help along the way.

    Books: Yes, we all should be reading something every day. I just need to figure out how to get the icons up. I tried Shelfari a week ago. Did something wrong, as usual. Will try again.

    Your enthusiasm infects all of us. THANKS.

  16. I enjoy blogging first and foremost but have been using facebook again. I like twitter but don't use it anymore and I'm thinking of getting back on goodreads.


  17. Didn't realize you were on Goodreads (I don't spend as much time there as I should). I just sent you a friend request. You won't recognize the name, but you will the photo. :)

    Thoughts in Progress

  18. I'm thinking of joining twitter after the long summer I have coming up. Actually I joined a couple years ago and never went back. Every once in a while I get an email that a Sweet Sexy Cindy or Hot-to-Trot Holly is following me, lol.

  19. Karen, I agree with you one hundred percent. Blogging, Tweeting, Goodreads, and Facebook have been excellent tools for connecting with other bookish folks. Go Twitter! (my fave)

  20. I suppose, if nothing else, blogging has enabled me to create a very believable main character in my new novel 'Thrice Addicted' in which a woman spends her whole day reading and writing blogs, eating chocolate and drinking gin and tonic. No, seriously, no kidding, it's a cracker of a twist-and-turn plot, really!

  21. Fran, you crack me up every time. You are so dang funny! Hey, if you write this book, I will READ it!!

    MT, First vote for Twitter as a fave!

  22. Blogger is by far my favorite, I have facebook but that is more of a friend/writer thing than just a writer thing. Then I have twitter which I'm still trying to figure out and I just found out about goodreads the other day and since then gone crazy adding books to my already crazed list and adding new buddies and old buddies to the mix! I need to check to see if we are friends!

    Elana and Talli rock for sure! I have watched how others do it and try my best on remaining out in the "real" world and the "blogging" world for all writing purposes. My local bookstore knows that I'm working on writing a book, I've become good friends with them!! It's good to get out there!

  23. You are just awesome at promoting yourself and helping others feel confident enough to do it too :)

    And please cartwheel away, I would LOVE to see that :):):)

  24. This is all so so true. P.S. I just watched The Farm Girl montage and loved it! I approve of any and all use of Johnny Cash music

  25. Karsten, Thanks! The only caveat to using that music was that we had to allow You Tube to run ads on the site. Will put your blog on my sidebar to help you get to 100! Plus it's a great blog and there aren't enough male bloggers out there.

    Cora McFeyden, Just visited your blog and it is awesome. (Anyone who doesn't go there needs to NOW if you love English lit and literary fiction.) And clearly I need to explore Facebook more fully!

    I would love to set up an author page and all that. Hmm, just when I thought I had the balance thing figured out! Has anyone else had success with Facebook, setting up an author page, etc?

  26. Karen, thanks so much for the shout-out and the kind words! Gosh how I love social media. It's my way of interacting with the real world (beyond that of my cozy flat) and it's so amazing to see what can be accomplished.

    I love Twitter. I was a book launch recently where many of the people were the author's Twitter friends. It was incredible to see how many followers she had gained through that medium.

  27. Great post, Karen. You're so right. I think some people underestimate the power of social media, thinking it's a waste of time. I don't think it is at all. Take me meeting you for example. You followed my blog, I followed yours in return, I started regularly reading your blog, and loving it, I became curious about your books, becasue I love your voice on your blog, I bought your books, and have now listed them on Goodreads - and am waiting eagarly to receive them in the mail! Now if that isn't proof that social media works, I don't know what is! Keep up the good work, Karen! :) xx

  28. Goodreads totally passed me by until I started blogging... most of my friends love books but I don't know anyone, except through blogging, who uses it! (There was an ersatz version that I used to use on Facebook. I suppose I can't export my booklists from one to the other, because that would just be too easy....)

  29. Great post, I went and signed up for goodreads. It's pretty cool, I put in my twitter info and it found people I follow who have accounts on goodreads. I also like how you can differentiate between to read, reading, and read. Once I get published I'll have to set up an author page there.

    Good luck with Facebook. I've been using it for a little over a year to connect with family and friends. My profile is set to private, I don't currently use it for networking. At some point I may set up a Facebook fan page - well what they used to call fan pages but are now things that people can "like" instead of being a fan of.

    To anyone not to familiar or comfortable using twitter - Inkygirl's website has a nice post about twitter for writers -

  30. You are absolutely correct, Karen. Social networking is vital for building that platform. It's just finding the darned time. Where is Hermione Granger when you need her?

  31. Hey - thanks for the mention, Karen! :)

    For Facebook, what a lot of authors are doing is opening two accounts: one in their regular name for friends and family, the other in their name with 'Author' tacked on the end for writing. That way your family doesn't feel slighted because they're not on a page, but your writing can be protected as a separate business. No family or 'real' friends on the writer page.

    Make any sense?

    Like this:!/elizabethspanncraig?ref=ts

    All her writer friends, agent friends, editor friends and reading fans friend her on 'Elizabeth Spann Craig Author' Facebook, but she's got another profile where she friends family and folks where she'd prefer to keep the interaction more private. (No one can see what you mark as private.) Using Facebook this way is more personal than collecting 'fans' on a page. It doesn't take up time unless you let it, and it's great for networking. I pop in on mine once a day, for maybe five minutes. It's no big deal.

    You could always open a personal profile to check it out, then delete it if it's not for you. And you can always have a page AND a profile... :-)

    - Corra

    from the desk of a historical writer

  32. I have yet to join Twitter, but baby steps, right? I've got a blog, a facebook, and a book trailer.

    And I'm so honored to be one of those that found your book on Goodreads! Can't wait until it shows up on my doorstep and I can get to it.

    Cheers, friend!

  33. I lurk on Twitter...I'm not quite sure what to do with it. I did win a contest with Lit. Agent Mark McVeigh from one of his tweets.

    I occasionally link my blog posts to facebook, if I think it's something friends and family might be interested in.

    I belong to YALIT and the Inkwell, and a few other social networks.

    I enjoy blogging, so that's what I do the most. :) I've always believed in quality rather than quantity...

  34. I think an excellant way to 'submit' a first proposal is to send a cd with a reading of whatever you are submitting. Agents and editors have plenty of down down in vehs. Not that much time to open and read the thousands of manuscipts they read every day. They take it witrh them, shove it in the cd player, and if its good, they will notice.

  35. I was into FB, then Twitter, and of course, blogging. Now I'm into Goodreads & Tumblr more. Love 'em all, they all have their own place/niche in social networking.

  36. Blogging is my favorite. Then Facebook. Still gotta join that Twitter.