Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blog—the eeny, meeny, miny, mo of todays’ authors. A strong following in social media calms nervous publishers, assuring them someone besides our mothers enjoy our writing. But for an aspiring (and most likely, reclusive) author, wading into social media is baffling and scary. Here’s how I began.
GET A DECENT PHOTO OF YOURSELF. You’re going to need one for almost everything. How do you want to be perceived? Professorial or scholastic? Attractive or approachable? Glamorous or giddy? Study authors whose writing is similar to yours to see how they position themselves, and take cues from their author photos. Be thoughtful about the person you convey—nothing is truly deleted from the world-wide web.
GET ANOTHER PHOTO REPRESNTING YOUR TOPIC. Find (or take, as I did) a photo that epitomizes your subject or genre. For me, that means archaeological and Christian elements, as well as iconic images of foreign settings. I’ve a lot of photos from travel, as well as a background in advertising to stage a shot, but amazing stock images in the public domain can be used free of charge. The photo sets the mood for your brand, and compliments your author image, so chose carefully.
THINK ABOUT HOW TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF. The public platform bios are notoriously short, so condense your life history—and make it riveting! Once you have a short bio you like, you’ll be amazed how many places you use it. And don’t forget to stay relevant to your writing: no one cares if you home-schooled a Phi Beta Kappa unless you’re writing about home-schooling or Phi Beta Kappas.
POST AND INTERACT. Step one is to share interesting information. Step two is to respond when your receive a reply, retweet or favorite. You’ll quickly discover who’s interested in what you’re doing, and it’s wise to reciprocate by “favoriting” or “retweeting” their posts, and commenting on facebook or blog. The online community is vast, but individual personalities emerge. Keep your public platform proactive.
BE CONSISTENT. Services like Buffer (https://bufferapp.com/) enable you to schedule a slew of tweets and posts ahead of time. This means you have no excuse for irregularities if you go to the Bahamas for a week (I didn’t), or have a face lift (I won’t) and are away from your computer. Publishing is business, remember? Momentum, once built, is hard to regain when lost.