The Writer’s Block Party topic this year was, Brand Aid: Blogging and Social Media for Writers. I participated on the panel, and as I mentioned, felt out of my league with the level of expertise represented by the other panelists, Jennifer Brown Banks, Marcie Hill, Becky Sarwate, and Charlie Monte Verde, and Dan Burns as moderator.
I am working up to what I learned from this esteemed panel, and the audience contributions, but today I offer what I shared.
- My blog began as a personal writing challenge. I was hoping to make writing a habit. I wanted to post every Monday, that morning, as it came to me. I hoped that over time, I would lose the desire (and need) to constantly reread, edit, and go over my words ad nauseam. In the over 300 weeks that my site has been live, I have missed only a handful of Mondays. I believe I am becoming more confident in what I have to say when I’m saying it. Although you know I’m still rereading, editing, and going over my words…My point is that you can blog for your own purposes. Whether you find an audience or not, there is value in the practice.
- Many authors use social media to build an audience to meet their professional needs. Dan Blank is big on making connections beyond those professional needs. One thing I recommended to the event audience was to bring it home for your readers. What better way to connect than to reference things that are important to them in your work? I write fiction, but there’s always an element of fact in any story. When I was doing research for Kinder Garden, I wanted to establish the fictional location of the story by adding real places. My family and I grabbed a bite to eat at a pizza place in Winnebago, IL. I thought it was perfect for my purposes, so I named it in my book. The owner of Anna’s Pizza, Brian Weavel, has been very SUPPORTIVE of the publication. He promotes it on his personal and business Facebook pages. And all I did was mention the name and location! He’s been so great, I intend to write an entire scene in my next novella that includes his restaurant.
- If the purpose of social media is to build a following for your work, there is no better way than to tap into an existing audience. I did just that when I published in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mysteries Kindle World. Mary O’Reilly is the protagonist in a nineteen book series by author Terri Reid. Her books have been so successful, Kindle invited her to be part of the Kindle Worlds. I have published two books in her world, Kinder Garden and Baker’s Dozen. Kinder Garden, which was #1 in its category for four weeks straight, brought me Amazon accolades– I can add Best Seller to my resume! Terri’s dedicated fans read my story. My goal is for them to become my dedicated fans who will then follow me to my next independent publication.
I hope these three points speak to you on some social media level. Interpret them as you see fit, apply them as you will.
Tomorrow I’ll go over the couple of things I wished I would have said. 😉