This month, with the focus being on the Social Media being used to foster the success of authors, I wanted to plant the seed that – although the percentage of writers who are picked up by big publishing houses and given that coveted advance – with the strategic use of Social Media to build a powerful platform, you can make yourself as an author more attractive to the Simon & Schuster’s of the industry!
Always the Literary Strategist, my first admonition is to have a plan so that you are fully aware of a) the benefits and limitations of social media, and b) the different platforms available for your use. Research reflects that most of the blogs and sites writing about social media focus on the business perspective; however, there is nothing to prevent you from throwing in a little extra creative twist and apply basic concepts to best benefit your journey through authorship.
The first leg of your strategy should be determining which audience will most greatly benefit you. Will you gain more visibility – or the knowledge of how to achieve that objective – by connecting with authors, publishers, editors, etc. than chatting with peers and friends you have made along the way whom you think might just like your book? Ask yourself the all-important question? “Since social media is really about networking, connecting, and communicating – just WHO would best fill those criteria right now?”
The next strategy is to prepare for the end result you desire, by planning! Establish goals and objectives; be very clear about the results you want, and when you expect them to occur… and don’t forget that the more compelling they are the easier your path will be. Is your object to develop a keen relationship with a particular audience? How will you know when you have reached that goal unless you have already envisioned how many, from what walks of life, expecting a certain number of comments? You get to make all the decisions; just make sure you have the quantifiable clarity so you will know when you have “arrived!”
Now that you are clear about what you want, and when… establish the action (policy) you will need to reach your targeted goals. Your “content strategy” sets out just how much of your content you actually publish on your blog or website – and how much you use your social strategy to promote it. Be prepared to embrace the fact that a social media campaign is a never-ending project – prepare yourself for the reality that as long as you want to sell books… you will have to promote them. The undergirding you create will include:
- With whom you want to socialize;
- The nature of the conversations you want to share;
- The frequency with which you make your posts; and
- The blend between what is social and relationship building, and what is promotion.
No strategy would be complete without monitoring your success; the process is easy, motivating and exciting when you take the time to add Google Analytics to your site. Doing more of what works, and being alerted early in the game about what does not, becomes a fine art when you have a tool that reveals:
- What has brought visitors to your site;
- What content tends to keep them there; and
- What they do and where they go while in your site.
Not only will you be able to impress publishers with accurate readership numbers, you will be able to duplicate the kind of posts that have historically been the most effective... making you a much more favorable candidate to many publishers.
The last leg of creating your strategy is to design a “system” that outlines when certain types of posts should be published – whether that is around the topic for which you are hoping to gain expert status or tying into other national events or public holidays. Often, the power of a post is represented by when people see it than by what is being promoted. And… keep in mind that social media is one of the most time and cost effective methods of building your brand, expanding your author platform, and ultimately… being successful in gaining visibility within a target market who want to purchase your books.
Go ahead... be strategic today for the gains you want at a later date by implementing a social media strategy to attract publishers.
Anna Weber | Literary Strategist