Network or Die

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Greetings horror fans and f[r]iends. I trust you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. After all my bellyaching, I managed to have one as well. You may have noticed that no post went up yesterday. This comes as a result of me deciding that I will not be making posts on days that fiction is released on the site. you did read Incident on Miller Church Road, right? Well, I’m back today and thought I would bring you yet another post on being an independent publishing author.

We are on social media almost every day in our personal lives but are you using it to its fullest potential to promote your writing? Social media is one of the best ways to promote your work and start building a readership. However, some people don’t seem to be doing as well in this endeavor as others. Ol’ Rune Morgan is here to share some of his experience, observations, and tactics with you.

Network or Die

Dead since 1849 and still on Twitter.

Before we begin, let me first discuss the importance of networking on social media. Unless you have a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars to spend on advertising in widely published periodicals and frequently visited websites in your chosen genre, you simply must network on social media. For an independent publishing author to not have, at the very least, a Twitter and Facebook profile is a sin. In fact, I only keep a Twitter and Facebook for reasons we will soon discuss. If the “pros” keep profiles and pages on these sites, what makes you think you can get away with not having one? Hell, even Edgar Allan Poe has a Twitter account and he died more than a century before it was invented. If you do not already have profiles, finish reading this article and then go set them up immediately.

Now, I don’t think there are many of you out there that do not have social media profiles and Facebook pages. So let’s go ahead and get into how to use them. Yes, there are right and wrong ways to use these tools just like there is a right and wrong way to use a knife. And using social media wrong can slice off important pieces of you just the same. Therefore, I offer you these pointers.

Use It or Lose It…

I have witnessed many would-be writers start social network profiles and pages and then abandon them shortly after. They may do this because they are not gaining followers, friends, or likes fast enough for their own preconceived notions that they will write a single piece of fiction and automatically be heralded to the world as the next Stephen King. After a couple weeks, days, or even hours, they lose interest and status updates and posts start to trail off and then die completely. These are the writers that will more than likely fail, that will stop submitting after the first few rejection letters and will stop writing after their first piece does poorly. If you are going to be a writer you need to have patience, especially when it comes to social media sites.

Make frequent posts and status updates and eventually the followers, friends, and likes will start trickling in. Use the rest of the tips found in this post, come up with your own methods, and most importantly… Don’t expect to skyrocket to thousands of followers over night.

…but Don’t Overuse It.

Social media can be a very addicting thing. On the opposite end of the spectrum from the writer described above is the writer that overuses social media. These writers become overly involved with social media and, as a result, they either stop writing to hang out online with the many friends they’ve made and look at all the pictures that have been posted or the quality of their writing suffers. If you notice that you are no longer working on writing or that your stories seem to be suffering, you may want to examine your social media usage and think about cutting back.

Don’t overload yourself with profiles either. They can be a lot of work to maintain. If you are using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, and every other social media site under the sun then you cannot hope to possibly maintain them all properly without an assistant. Can you afford an assistant? For this reason, I maintain the following: a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and a Facebook page. Even only having three is a lot of work and anymore would be too much.

Another note on overuse is posting frequency. Timelines on these sites can move quickly and your followers may be following thousands of other people. You may be tempted to post the same link over and over and over to make sure it gets seen. I strongly urge against this. It turns you into the annoying child who, while mommy is on the phone, repeats: mommy… mommy… mommy… mommy… Try not to post the same link within fifteen minutes to an hour… unless you do it the right way…

Multiples

The internet is a multimedia environment, not singular. Nearly every post, if not every, should contain multiple medias. Some of the most loved and most followed people I have met on social media make sure that damn near every post they make has some in it. Multimedia (pictures or videos) draw the eye of followers. It invites them to click on links and share your posts and statuses with others that may not have otherwise seen them. On Twitter, Douglas S. Taylor of Dark Works Entertainment includes his fabulous artwork in nearly everything and gets the crap shared out of it. I have started doing the same with my own artwork and each piece I post contains the web address to this site.

Don’t have any artwork of your own? No problem. I didn’t have any artwork ready when I started my account either. Instead, I started including horror themed images found online and taken from movies. Soon after, even shout-out posts were being retweeted by people that stumbled across them for the art alone. So figure out what kind of media will best suit your target audience and include it in your updates.

Give It Back!

Social media is a two-way street. Are you Stephen King? No? How about Dean Koontz? Still no? Then I guess you can’t get away with not giving some love back to those that follow you.

Make sure that those who have taken the time to follow you are followed back. That friends who post on your wall are responded to. That people that take the time to share your work are thanked. A little can go a long way on social media and you shouldn’t be stingy with the love you show your followers and friends. Follow back, retweet, shout-out, reply, and thank! These can be some of your greatest tools when building your readership through social media. And if others aren’t doing the same for you, don’t sweat it. Keep doing it and maybe one of your posts will catch their eye and remind them to return the favors.

Join the Group

Groups are a great thing on Facebook. Since you are not going to start out with hundreds to thousands of friends on your profile or likes on your page, they are a great way to get started. Chances are, there is group in your genre with thousands of members in it. Visit and ask to join. You will have to wait for approval but, once you are in, introduce yourself to the crowd and make some new friends. Check out what everyone else is offering and make your own posts, making sure to respect the rules of the group. Be friendly and invite people to send you friend requests and like your page, but don’t overdo it.

I hope this post is of some use and, as my own experience grows, I am sure this is a topic I will be visiting again. If you liked this post please feel free to let me know by using the like and share buttons below. Also remember, you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, and like Rune Morgan Horror’s page.

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