Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media Tip: Turn Your Rants Into Pin Boards

Sometimes you don’t know how you’re going to use a social media site until you’ve been on it for a while. In my case, a lightbulb went off about Google+ and Pinterest one day as I was silently fuming about a full-page book ad in the New Yorker.

The ad didn’t make any sense from a marketing standpoint, and the more I looked the more questions I had: Who exactly was the ad targeting? Why did the publishers choose this magazine for this book? Where was the publisher’s brand, anyway? And how did they hope to sell the book or track the ad’s effectiveness without a single URL?

All I wanted to do was have some fun with the ad and jot down a few offhand comments. But where? This wasn’t Facebook or Twitter material because I had too much to say, yet it wasn’t quite right for my blog either. That’s when the lightbulb appeared. It was perfect for Google+! Continue reading Social Media Tip: Turn Your Rants Into Pin Boards

What’s the Best First Step in Platform Building?

At the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference last month I talked to both new and experienced writers about building author platforms. I expected to be asked why author platforms were necessary, but to my surprise the most frequent question I heard was: Where should I start? Writers young and old wanted to know the benefits of Facebook and blogs versus getting on Twitter. What was the most important place for them to be?

We are at a fascinating, hopeful moment for writers. Many people with highly successful platforms have shared their methods in detail. And yet, the greater truth is that the most effective platform strategies are ones that haven’t even been dreamed up yet. For anyone getting started now, mixing creativity with long-term strategy will have huge results.

There is no one way to build a platform. Yet there are some very strong opening moves that will serve you well no matter which direction you decide to go. Here are my top three suggestions for anyone who wants to take their first steps today: Continue reading What’s the Best First Step in Platform Building?

Create an Author Platform That’s Built to Last

It’s easy to feel excited about creating your author platform—just as easy as it is to feel completely overwhelmed. The two emotions often accompany each other in quick succession, and it’s my job to help people find a middle way between the two.

The key is to have a sustainable strategy. Because most indie authors and publishers have more time than money, staying in the game is 90% of what it takes to become visible and successful. You don’t have to have a lot of resources to begin with (though money does make some things easier!) if you can keep at it over the long haul.

Social media has changed publishing, and it has also changed the relationship between authors and readers. Authors who had been speaking to large crowds may be taken aback when those crowds expect to speak back in a two-way conversation. This shift is good news for those in the “long tail” who learn the principle of conversation and use it to build their platform. Continue reading Create an Author Platform That’s Built to Last

Amazon Buys Goodreads—Everybody Panic?

Last week’s big news was Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads, the site where 16 million users (up from 12 million in 2012) share book reviews and find good books to read. Reactions have been mixed, with many raising the spectre of an increased Amazon monopoly why others wonder why no one bought Goodreads sooner.

The purchase makes absolute sense from Amazon’s point of view: Goodreads helps books get discovered, while Amazon’s platform has been weak in that regard. Goodreads is a very active, engaged social network and is highly trusted by its users. Amazon…less so.

Setting aside the broader question of how making the dominant industry player even more dominant will affect publishing as a whole, there are some practical issues for authors to consider. Is the acquisition good or bad news for authors? That depends. Continue reading Amazon Buys Goodreads—Everybody Panic?

How to Spot (and Avoid) Social Media Malpractice

As a lifelong educator, I constantly check my audience to make sure that people are engaged with what I am saying. There is a particular quality of attention and excitement that I associate with learning, and my job is to generate the flow of words and concepts that allows the learning process to unfold.

I try to attend other social media and publishing events as much as I can, too. I go there for the content, but I also learn by watching other public speakers in action. And based on a recent experience, I have some advice for judging whether any social media expert is worth listening to. Continue reading How to Spot (and Avoid) Social Media Malpractice