Optimising Social Networking for Authors
• Quality outweighs quantity. I know there are people out there, like Ashton Kutcher, who not only disagree with me, but have proven me wrong. But we don't all have the Kutcher's genes or the luxury of a full time publicist. For the rest of us mortals, we need to draw in friends who can help us grow, who can draw us into wider and relevant networks - link with the socially adept, the successful, and seek them out in your networks. That doesn't mean you have to be choosy or refuse friend requests, but you can at least focus your targeting efforts on those who you want to emulate and whose networks fit your messages, your books, your focus.
• Don't spread yourself too thinly. Yes, I'm guilty of this and you probably are too. It's better to pick a few highly visible networks and post on them regularly networking strongly there than do tiny, sporatic bits and pieces all over the place. There are so many networks, and new ones are springing up all the time - touting to be the new facebook for writers, asking you to post regularly, to blog there, to participate. If you try and keep up with it all you won't get any writing done. So pick a few and give them a little extra love. I tend to focus my energy these days on Facebook (especially my author page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Magdalena-Ball-Author/154205247984373), Twitter (http://twitter.com/magdalenaball), LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/in/magdalenaball, and Good Reads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/700078.Magdalena_Ball. That's plenty for me!
• Give at least as much as you get. Answer other people's questions. Congratulate other people's successes. Support your fellow writers by retweeting their information, commenting on their blogs, and sharing their links. it isn't all about sales - it's also about creating global community and when the time comes for you to gather in the support you'll find that what you've given out comes back to you in spades.
When social networking works well, it's a global village where we all work together for the sake of meaning making. In the words of Sarah Blasko, the burden's not just your own. If you're authentic and really, truly connect, then you'll find that your promotional, and indeed even your writing task, is made easier. You'll be stimulated and supported by people who have become more than just tenuously linked strangers.
About the author: Magdalena Ball is the author of Sleep Before Evening, Repulsion Thrust, Quark Soup, and a number of collaborations and anthologies. Find out more about Magdalena and grab a free copy of her book The Literary Lunch at www.magdalenaball.com.