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When you use social media to find people who are already talking about their needs, and you offer to help them solve that need, you are building the foundation for a trusting relationship. That’s very different from spending thousands of dollars and using mass media to “blast” your message at millions of total strangers who probably couldn’t care less about your product or service at that particular time.


Let’s get the creative juices flowing. So you’ve got the cookie cutter stuff–the frequent posts to your Facebook wall, the regular posts to your blog, the incessant tweeting. But everybody does that. How can your voice be heard? 

photo by S. Schleicher


Let’s break it down to the most simple question: What makes your product (your book, your genre, your topic, your character, whatever is the most unique) unlike every other book out there? Got that figured out? Now what does that unique thing have to offer that no other book can? And if you don’t know that, then you don’t know why your book should even be bought, so you need to go back to basics and figure out what your book is bringing to the world in the first place. 

I’m going to assume that you have that figured out. Now start brainstorming to get to ONE fun thing that you can give to the web world. Is it a funny Old Spice spokesman? Is it giving your readers some kind of internet fame? Do you let them show off their talent in some way? Or do you help one of them directly? Do you give them something for free? Social Media Examiner talks about how to create a Facebook Experience. This is a great article to give you insight on how to connect to your fanbase in unique ways. 

Once you have your one idea and you’ve launched it on the world, let that simmer a little, check your responses. This is a learning experience. By the time you get your next brilliant idea, you’ll know how to tweak it to make it better.

Be the leader (photo by Svilen Milev)


If you’re going to use social media to promote your book, you should know your goals and have reasonable expectations. You must keep in mind that social media is not designed to serve direct sales. It’s about brand awareness and building credibility which ultimately will lead to sales.


If I look at my authors and pick out the best selling books, I find that the best selling books are the ones that have a “brand” behind them. That sometimes is a literal brand-name like a magazine that has put out a book or it can be an author who has established himself/herself as a brand either through continuously putting out good books or becoming an authoritative figure on their topic in the real world and online. That’s what it means to be a brand–someone with some credibility that people will return to again and again. Once people trust you, then they’ll buy your book.

When you think of brand names, you can usually associate words and feelings with them. Let’s try. What do you think of when you hear “Wal-Mart”? What about “Cheetos?” “Nintendo.” “Gucci.” Now think about what words you want people to associate with your name-as-brand. Dependable? Informative? Fun? You decide. Now you know your goal. To make people think of those words when they think of you.

That said, social media can affect sales in a nearly direct way if you position your social media strategy so that your main goal is to collect emails for your mailing list. Mailing lists are still the best and most direct ways to get your customers to buy from you.

Useful Links:
Is brand awareness the number one social media goal? (Small Business Trends)
The difference between social media and traditional marketing in 2 sentences (Your Social Media Marketing Resource)

photo by Stephen Eastop

You may have heard the marketing buzz words Web 1.0 and 2.0 around. You may have even heard of Web 3.0. Though you may not be using Web 3.0 now, it’s important to at least be aware of what it is, that this revolution is coming, that it is in your hands, and how it will impact your digital identity as a writer.



What is Web 1.0?
Web 1.0 is the first concept of the internet. A small percentage of people create websites and the rest of us read the content. It’s the standard creator to consumer model.

What is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 turns all consumers into consumers/creators. This comes from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also with any interactive platform like chats. The consumer is interacting and creating. Now the original creators (for sake of example, let’s say the original creators were published authors) can still create, but they are now competing with all their previous consumers who are now web-authors themselves. This can be tricky, and the key is to gain credibility and produce unique content that people will actually want to view. But the good thing for the published authors are that you can now get feedback from your consumers without having to do any research.

What is Web 3.0?
This revolution isn’t entirely here yet, but it is coming. (See slideshow in my Useful Links for a great explanation.) It hinges on the development of a semantic web that can understand the context of words based on every website and application being connected and getting their information from each other independently of human beings. Is this scary? Is this sci-fi? Is this artificial intelligence? Any which way, it’s the future.

How does this affect you as a writer? Well, it may help you make money. Perhaps someday, Web 3.0 will pave the road to authors being able to quit their day jobs and focus on just writing. Once an intelligent web is able to tap into everything human beings are putting into it, it will be able to not only have access to things that no one person has ever had access to, but it will be able to analyze the data with formulas that the programmers give it in order to work out supply and demand. If your work is in high demand, someone may just pay you to do it.

This has been an over simplified look at Web 3.0. There is a lot more out there. And a lot more coming.

Useful Links:
The Web 3.0 Slideshow (Sophotec)

How many social media platforms are there?

Here’s a list.

Here’s a bigger list.

How ’bout this one?

And that’s just for starters.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Don’t worry, they’re not all useful for all authors. The trick is to find the ones that help you promote your work and where your audience is dwelling. Let’s start with Twitter, Facebook, LibraryThing, GoodReads, and move on from there.

The main difference between a published author online and an unpublished writer online is that with an author, everything eventually leads back to sales of the book. As an unpublished writer, you’re actually free of the stress of waiting for your online activity to impact sales. In fact, social media is great for buzz, which can drive sales eventually down the line, but it’s not immediately quantifiable.

But you, your main goal is to establish yourself as the expert in your field. You need to become a brand, like a magazine brand. If you don’t feel like the expert yet, maybe you should wait before you start blogging and driving traffic to your website. Take some classes or workshops. Research, read articles, talk to others in the feild.

Once you are confident as an authority, then start making your following online.

Useful links:
Christina Katz Post (Living with the M-Word)
Creating Your Writing Platform (The Fantasy Guide)