Social Media Tips & Blog

Maximize Your Social Media Power With Your Expertise

Maximize your social media power by sharing your expertiseNonfiction authors maximize their social media presence by focusing on sharing their expertise. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Be active on your blog and social media platforms. Write frequent posts that include tips from your book, newsworthy elements of your book, and compelling information. People love numerical posts, such as: top 10 tips, 5 ways to, etc.
  • Make meaningful connections and engage with potential readers and customers. Join LinkedIn groups related to your book's topic and connect with group members. Join in discussions and comment based on your expertise. Give them a reason to be interested in you and your book.
  • Use your social media posts to give valuable information to people from your book. Readers are going to connect with you as a person. Your book provides you with credibility. Don't just tell your audience how good your book is. Rather show this by presenting information that lets people know its value.
  • Not everything you share or write about on your blog needs to be directly related to your book. Share valuable content that interests people and they'll want to learn more about you and your book.
  • Be sure any online bios include a link to your book.


By the Time You Finish Reading This Post 15 More Books Will Be Published

That unwieldy title is the fact behind yesterday's post about literary agents and your social media platform, and today's follow-up.

Depending on who you ask or where you check, each year between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published. That's more than one every minute, 24 hours a day.

If you only take away one thing from Sue's post and today's, this is it:

#1. If you don't stand out, agents, publishers, and readers will choose someone who does.

When Sue posted some of her thoughts from that blog post on other social media platforms, there were always a few who quibbled about how agents don't necessarily require this, that, and the other thing. Perhaps. However, see large note #1 above.

A second note which seems, still, to escape far too many authors:

#2: Publishers do not do marketing. Authors do marketing. If you won't, they'll find someone who will.

This shatters the dream of so many authors who, apparently, still hope they can simply write their book and have someone else do the hard work of earning the money for them. After all, writing a book is hard enough already; I know this well and understand the frustration of those who, having typed The End are dismayed to discover that it's just The Beginning.

If you're still secretly hoping someone else will make this easy for you, see large note #2 above.

A third note:

#3: Reputations are hard-earned currency. No one is going to lend you theirs without good reason.

Yesterday's post touched on the quagmire of guest posting. The entire point of guest posting is to share reputations, to find mutual benefit.

If you have a brand new blog about entrepreneurship, having Richard Branson write a guest post is a great idea, right? Doesn't hurt to ask, right?

What earthly reason would Sir Rich have to lend you his reputation?

Bringing it down to more realistic levels, what reason does mid-level blogger Jane Doe have to lend you their reputation, giving you access to their hard-earned network of fans? By writing a guest post for you, or allowing you to write a guest post for her, Jane is endorsing you, telling all and sundry "I trust and respect Billy Bo Bob Brain and you should, too."

Why would they do that?

Flipside: why would you do that? If you have a worthwhile blog and a total stranger, entirely unknown, wants to post on your blog, why would you share your reputation with them? Do you really want to publicly endorse the views and ethics of a total stranger?

A final takeaway:

#4: If you intend to sell your book or use it to promote your business you are not just an author, you are an entrepreneur.

You may already be marketing your business. Your book is part of your business, and you have to invest the same marketing effort and savvy as you would any other new product or service launched.

A solid social media presence is vital to getting noticed as an author and should be in place long before your book is published.

Blogging, Your Social Media Platforms, and Finding a Literary Agent for Your Nonfiction Book

Blogging, Your Social Media Platforms, and Finding a Literary AgentA freelance editor emailed me for advice on an author’s view of blogging, social media, and finding a literary agent for their nonfiction book.

“I'm writing to ask for a bit of advice from a social media expert's point of view. I have a client who is getting ready to shop their nonfiction book. I've been encouraging this client for a year to build their social media platform, but my client was resistant to doing so until they finished writing the book and proposal.”

The author’s only social media presence is on LinkedIn, though they plan to start using Twitter – tweeting only twice a week! They do have a blog – only four posts in the past year with a plan to post a new blog weekly. The author is considering having their web designer create a section where guest bloggers could post – without first being vetted. The author thought having a guest blog post section should be mentioned in the book proposal.

Another blogger had approached this author offering to be a guest blogger. However, the editor noted that this blog looks like a small, personal blog—no mailing list, no way to contact the author.

“I don't think this blogger is an asset to my author right now – they have two old blogs posted [both over a year old], that's it. I'm inclined to tell my client not to do this, but mostly I don't want any guest writer to hurt my client—would posting their guest blog potentially do that? I've encouraged my client to contact you for help, but so far, he's been resistant to doing anything except wait. I'd appreciate your advice about this.”

This author’s approach to blogging, social media, and attracting a literary agent is not unique. Many authors I work with start out with these:

Common Misconceptions

  • “I don’t need a website, blog, or social media platforms until I finish my book.”
  • “Blogging once or twice a month is plenty. I don’t have much to blog about anyhow. I’m busy writing my book. I’ll have some guest bloggers for additional content.”
  • “I’ll start tweeting and get on other social media platforms once my book is published.”
  • “My book proposal is enough, and I don’t need a large following on social media to get a good literary agent.”

Literary Agents Expect Nonfiction Authors to Have in a Book Proposal:

  • An established website, including a blog (consistent blogging on a weekly basis for a year or more). Guest bloggers are tricky (more about that in a bit).
  • Established social media platforms with a decent number of followers on each platform. Learn more about that in this article posted by a literary agency: “7 Ways Agents Measure Social Media.”
  • A marketing plan in your book proposal that includes your social media marketing and book promotion plan.

Blogging has impact on your social media presence. However, blogging just once or twice a month won’t get you noticed. The more you can blog, the more impact you’ll have. And tweeting only twice a week won’t get you noticed at all. There are some good tips and interesting statistics on this found in the article “The 5 Commandments for a High Impact Social Media Presence.” If you can be a guest blogger on a well established blog, this can have a very good impact on your efforts.

However, having a guest blogger on your own blog can be tricky if not done right. There are some rules to follow. I do not recommend allowing guest bloggers to post on your site without vetting their posts first. Be sure anything they write is relevant to your topic. Your guest blogger should also have a well-established blog (over a year old) with at least weekly posts. It's not beneficial to have a guest blogger who doesn't already have a solid blog themselves and in fact, it can be harmful to allow a guest blogger on your site when their own site is outdated. A guest blogger should also be willing to share the blog with their own established social media networks. For more rules about guest blogging read the article “Don’t Accept Guest Posts Unless You Follow These 7 Rules.”

To learn more about what to include in your Social Media section in your book proposal, read editor Candace Johnson’s guest post on our site: “Your Social Media: What to Include in Your Book Proposal”.

My advice to the editor was to provide all this information, including the links to other sources, and encourage the author to start blogging regularly and establish solid social media platforms before reaching out to literary agents. I discouraged the idea of the guest blogger since they had only two blog posts of their own – both over a year old. If an author wants to get noticed, they need to ensure a solid social media presence.

If you’d like to ensure your social media presence is what a literary agent is looking for, contact me for my “Peace of Mind Social Media Audit & Consultation”.

You might benefit from Joel's follow-up to this post.

5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave

We've all seen a teenager open the refrigerator for the thirteenth time hoping miraculously that a pizza has appeared where only broccoli lay before.

There’s a marvelous scene in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies where someone points out that his hotel room has a television. He turns it on saying, “I've seen television before.” As the I Love Lucy theme fades in he says, “Yup, that’s what was on”.

Can you imagine if the food in the fridge really never changed or if the show on television was actually always the same?

There are some activities in life which hinge on variety, newness, change, to keep our attention. Eating the same foods over and over again gets boring fast – even pizza.

The single greatest reason for potential fans (which means potential purchasers of your book) to visit your website is to find something new.

… more … "5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave"

Worst Advice for Sending Emails

I’ve been asked more than once to help a client download all their contacts from LinkedIn and upload them to MailChimp to send them emails promoting the client's business.

First, this is in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. Each violation can result in fines up to $10,000.

Second, just because you’re connected on LinkedIn doesn’t give you the go-ahead to send them promotional emails. LinkedIn has a messaging tool that’s very effective to get in touch with connections. I’ve used LinkedIn to reach out to connections and set up ‘get-to-know-you’ chats so we can each learn more about the other. This is the beginning of building a relationship. It does not give me permission to add them to my email list.

Go ahead and download your LinkedIn contacts. Email people individually to get to know them. Do not email them just to sell to them.

LinkedIn is a great social media tool for professionals. As with any social media tool, it can be abused. Let’s remember to be social!