When you write for a living you learn pretty quickly that finishing a piece is just the beginning of your writerly workload.
Blog posts, short stories, personal essays—even brilliant ones, it seems—don’t sell themselves.
As tempting as it is to post to your blog, sit back, and let the internet do the work, the truth is that if you’re not actively marketing your work to an audience—and ideally multiple audiences—you might as well be jettisoning those posts into cyber space.
As the second installment in our DIY Publishing series, Cooler by the Lake spoke with romance novelist and in-house marketing assistant Jennifer Ann Coffeen, who shared some of her favorite social media marketing tips, tricks, and insights for writers.
Cooler: Talk about the importance of self-marketing and who among writers should be doing it.
JAC: Every writer should be self-marketing, no matter what stage they are at in their career. If you’re just starting out, self-marketing is a great way to connect to the literary world. Maybe you don’t have a book or short story to sell yet, but you can meet other writers or fans simply by joining a twitter chat or creating a Facebook page.
If you’re looking to sell or promote your writing it’s crucial to develop an Author Platform. Agents, publishers, and readers all expect to find authors online now. It’s a big part of the market.
Cooler: In terms of self-promoting, is social media better than a blog? If I have one, do I need the other?
JAC: You don’t necessarily need a blog, but if you’re blogging you should still be involved in social media. Like all social media, I don’t think one is better than the other. It’s about choosing the platform that works best for you as a writer, and for your work.
JAC: A lot of writers are spending their time on more visual Medias such as Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram. Twitter is great for connecting with fans and Facebook spreads information quickly. Again, I don’t think there’s a “perfect” social media for any writer. Find one or two that you really enjoy doing and build your base there.
Cooler: What kind of content works for writers?
JAC: Readers love hearing about a writer’s life. Posts about researching a story, frustrations with writer’s block, pics from a conference, these are always popular.
Cooler: What are the habits of a successful social media user?
JAC: Time management! Most writers are notorious procrastinators, so social media can quickly turn into a black hole. It’s important to be consistent on social media, but not spend all your writing time on Twitter.
Cooler: Should I have a separate profile for my writing self and my private self?
JAC: Completely up to you. If you have a pen name as a writer, then all your social media should be under that name. I use my real name for social media and writing, but I only use social media for work. I never post personal photos or information online and that helps me to keep my public and private life separate. Some people choose to have separate accounts, and that’s fine too.
Cooler: Is it possible to have a SM presence without being online 24/7?
JAC: Absolutely! The key is to look like you’re online much more than you are. You can develop a strong social media presence by being online for as little as fifteen minutes a day.