For some writers, social media is one of those do-I-really-have-to-do-it? type of commitments. It’s just one more distraction from your writing, one more unnecessary to pile onto all your necessaries. I’ll admit it–I used to feel the same way. I guess I just never saw the point in it. Could Facebook or Twitter actually make me a better writer?
But even if you’re this generation’s Hemingway, no one will buy your books if they don’t know you exist. That’s where social media comes in. It’s the best form of advertising a writer can ask for: it’s free, you can do it yourself, and it’s a great way to get a direct line to fans and other authors.
Before we continue, let’s take a step back. I learned what I know about social media marketing from working at a company called TeamSnap. We produce an app that condenses everything a youth sports coach or parent needs into one place. So if you need to know who’s coming to the next game, when and where that game is, and who’s bringing what refreshments, you’ll want to try us.
I help run the social media accounts for TeamSnap. Basically, I post the day-to-day content, answer questions folks might have for us, and drive traffic to our marketing site. It’s a very unique company and I’ve learned a lot about social media marketing from my coworkers.
One thing I’ve learned: people are brutally honest on social media. As a marketer, that’s good information to have; if people are upset with your product, they’ll write angry statuses about it.
It’s the same thing with your book. If you’re an author, the people you should be pleasing most (after yourself and your mom, of course), are your fans. So if you’ve got a character in there that everyone hates–the Jar Jar Binks of your novel, if you will–your readers will tell you. In your next book, maybe you can kill that character off, or write him out of your series by inexplicably giving him a position on the intergalactic senate…
Furthermore, having a direct line to other writers is something that didn’t really exist before Twitter. Let me tell you a story: I happened to tweet about a guy named Paolo Bacigalupi, who you might know as the author of The Windup Girl, which Time Magazine named as one of the top 10 fiction books of 2009. Here’s my tweet:
— Kyle A. Massa (@mindofkyleam) July 24, 2015
And here’s the response I got (which I was not expecting):
@mindofkyleam Thank you! I loved writing that story.
— Paolo Bacigalupi (@paolobacigalupi) July 24, 2015
Yeah. This is why I like Twitter.
Don’t think of social media as some stupid thing people spend all their time on. Well, it can be. But it doesn’t need to be. For us writers, social media is a medium through which we can discover potential readers and fellow writers. At its best, it’s another tool in the toolbox (you’re welcome, Stephen King).
So get on Twitter or Facebook and give it a shot.
And feel free to follow me on Twitter here.