Friday, October 24, 2008

I've Been Around the Block (or at least Around the Internet)

Tip of the day: Do not buy Halloween candy until it's HALLOWEEN. It's cheap because they know you'll eat it and come back for more.

There are so many places for an author to be on-line these days, it can be overwhelming trying to prioritize and figure out how to make the most out of all the various sites. Today I thought I'd break it down for you and give you my opinion of what's worth your time and what isn't.

There's facebook, myspace, twitter, goodreads, livejournal/blogger, amazon, youtube, and probably many more I don't even know about. Here's a quick and dirty rundown of the ones I have experience with and what I think of each one.

Facebook - This is really designed to be more about connecting with people you actually KNOW than connecting with people in a promotional way. I know some authors or fans of authors have set up groups, like FANS OF SARAH DESSEN or FANS OF THE XYZ book. I think that works when you're a really well known author, but I'm not sure it works for authors like me still trying to get my name out there. Mostly I use Facebook to play Wordtwist with friends. 'Nuff said.

Myspace - I think some people feel like myspace is on its way out but let me tell you, there are still a lot of teens who are active over there. I have found it to be a great way to connect with my readers. It doesn't take a lot to maintain a page. Once you get it set up, it's simply a matter of logging in every few days, accepting/denying friend requests, approving messages, etc. Once a week I go and wish people happy birthday, because it's a good way to get my name and book in front of them on their page. If you're really going to get the most out of myspace, you have to put some work into friending people. I will go to other author's pages who have books similar to mine and send out friend requests to teens and in my message say something like - "Hi from one book lover to another." Now that I have a large group of "friends" I can send bulletins that go to everyone I'm friends with - news about an upcoming book, contests, whatever.

Twitter - So far, I don't twitter. Twitter is a "micro-blogging" site. It allows you to tell people who follow you what you're doing (called tweets) in 140 characters or less. Since I don't do it, I can't say if it's effective for authors or not. If you're an author and Twittering and think it's a good thing to do for you and your book, please, in the comments, let me know why! I'd love to hear about it.

Goodreads - Goodreads is a site that allows you to keep track of what books you've read, want to read, and are reading now. You set up a profile page and you can connect with other readers, which you call "friends." Authors also have pages so readers can look you up if they want to and learn more about you. I really like goodreads. It's easy to friend people, you can comment on reviews people leave for books, including your own if you're comfortable with that, and you can send a message to all your friends. I haven't sent any messages yet, but I plan to when it gets closer to December 23rd, the NEW release date of FAR FROM YOU (do you like how I slipped that in). Sometimes weird people do friend you (like someone who has 1,239 friends and has only read 1 book) but you can easily block people, so it's not a big deal. As an author, you have to be okay with reading reviews that will be less than favorable, and resist the urge to comment on those kind of reviews.

Livejournal/Blogger - There are already a million blogs, why should you have one too? When you're a brand new author, I'm not sure you should unless you make a conscious effort to read and comment on other people's blogs. Okay, unless you're an agent like Nathan Bransford or Kristin Nelson or a big name author like Meg Cabot. Blogging is all about networking. Every time you go and visit a blog and converse with the blogger about the content, it's like you're leaving a little business card behind, because they can then click on your name and go and read YOUR blog and find out about you. But please, don't make your comments about YOU and YOUR book. That's icky. Network on blogs with other people you want to get to know and you have an interest in - not simply because you want them to read your book.

Amazon - I have yet to use Amazon's blogging feature, but next week I'm going to try and figure it out and do one for the first time. I do read what authors put there when I'm clicking around looking at books, so I think it can be an effective tool.

Youtube - Okay, so you're not John Green and you don't want to be. That's fine. It's worked well for him, but it's certainly not going to be something that will work for all of us. However, I do think it's worthwhile to have SOME content about your book up there, whether it's a book trailer or you reading from your book or whatever. Over 1,000 people have viewed my book trailer and over 700 people have viewed the video I posted on the release date of I HEART YOU where I read a little bit from the book. People have even left comments there, and it's been fun for me to see those and respond. If you're not comfortable with doing anything here, no worries, but if you ARE, I think it can be worthwhile.

What do you think? Anything you want to add? Would love to hear your thoughts!

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

This is really interesting, Lisa. I'm on facebook and find it's fun to find people you know or loosely know and admire, but you're right. I don't think it is particularly effective for promotion.

I'll have to check out MySpace and Goodreads. With all the negative hype about Myspace, I've wondered how much it's appeal has grown or dissipated.

Thanks for sharing!

DeenaML said...

Lisa, you said it very well: there are a ton of places online to "be," and only so much time to do them. Thanks for the breakdown!

Emily Marshall said...

Yay on your new release date, Lisa!!! That day is great (it's my wedding anniversary, too!!). So exciting.

Anyway, thanks for the breakdown. I use several of the sites. But as a newer writer, I mostly use it to connect with other writer's now, and love that I've met so many wonderful people online.

Kate Fall said...

I've never heard of Goodreads. Oh no, another fascinating way to spend time online! And 1700 hits on your YouTubes, that is AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Great breakdown! I like MySpace much more than Facebook, but all my IRL friends are on Facebook...which is as it should be, I guess. :)

Don't forget about Shelfari. It is like Goodreads, all about rating, reviewing, and discussing books.