Optimising Social Networking for Authors

I know that all of you are social media mavens. I know that you've all got Facebook, LinkedIn, a range of Ning accounts, use Shelfari, Library Thing and Goodreads, and are Twittering regularly. But is it enough? Are you maximising the value of these tools in order to draw in more readers and create a permanent network of fans, colleagues and associates who will be part of your 'clan' for the long run? If you're like most people you probably worry about it, so here are a few tips for optimising your social networking.

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.


Tribute Books said...

Very insightful post - two thumbs up!

Karen Cioffi said...

Great post and so true. There are so many social networks out there that a writer could spend all day just on marketing.

I too try to do too much and spread myself too thin, but with the new year coming, hopefully I be able to focus more.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Love your "give as much as you get" rule, Maggie. One of the biggest mistakes new authors make when they start marketing thier books (most of them don't have marketing experience, after all!) is they think their primary purpose is to SELL. Books sell themselves when we market using the golden rule.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about the new edition (Updated! Expanded! and now an Award-winner!) of The Frugal Book Promoter, http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo

Heidiwriter said...

I know--there are so many sites that one cannot keep up with everything. I barely keep up with one or two! Giving--yes--I agree wholeheartedly!!

widdershins said...

Treading very deliberately - was going to write cautiously, but it's not the right word - into this world of social networking sites.

It's an interesting journey so far.

Unknown said...

Great post. I definitly am spread too thin. some people can handle multiple blogs-I can't.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thanks for this, Maggie.

It has become absolutely impossible to keep up with everything and get any work done at all. And now there's Klout... Klouting anybody? Totally overwhelmed...

Donna McDine said...

Terrific post! I know what you mean about spreading too thin. Just recently I've cut back and it's been a relief not to be involved with so many networks. It's definitely draining.


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