Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Secrets to Building an Online Presence

Ah, the all-important, frequently-mentioned online presence. It's one of those things people talk about all the time, but what is it really? And how do we get one? Who do we have to pay off to achieve it? Let's discuss.

In this day and age, we as authors are super lucky. We have *plays fanfare* THE INTERNET!

I'm not sure what authors did before the internet. Lots of pounding the pavement, probably. Lots of visits to the post office with thick manila envelopes, I'm sure. So let's all take a moment to say a thanks to that British guy who invented it.

Online presence was the very first thing my publicist and I talked about when I signed with Entangled. Getting your name out there, connecting with readers and other writers, is super important. Of course, actually writing is the most important thing, but online presence does a lot for a writer. Those people you connect with will be there for you when you need advice or when it's time to promote your book. So, how does one start? Here are my suggestions in list form because I love lists, if you haven't already noticed:

1. Twitter: Oh man, go get a Twitter account right now if you don't already have one! Follow authors you like, agents you'd love to be repped by, publishing professionals, and Misha Collins (always follow the Misha). And don't just sit quietly back stalking reading their feeds. Interact! Reply to their happy news, tell them why you love their work, thank them for any advice they give, etc. I'm not saying reply to their every tweet, just be friendly. I look at Twitter as one big party going on all at once. If you don't mingle, you'll never meet any one new and no one will remember you. The same will happen if you never venture out of your circle of friends.

I also think it's important to tweet at least every other day or so. I frequently go through the people I follow and unfollow those who haven't tweeted in a long time. Except for J.K. Rowling (always follow J.K. Rowling).

I really could do an entire post on the importance of Twitter and how to use it. Maybe I will... Would you like to see that? Post in the comments :)

2. Facebook: I was lucky enough to find the WraHM (Writing at home moms) society group on Facebook back when it was first started by Gennifer Albin, author of CREWEL. I've met soooo many awesome author ladies since I've joined. I've watched as they found success in publishing. We've commiserated about the many obstacles of writing, having a family, publishing, etc. I mentioned them in my acknowledgements because they're all awesome. And I've made a lot of other connections through them.

There are tons of Facebook groups for writers and readers. Through them you can meet other writers and readers. And when the time comes for you to promote your book, they'll be there to support you!

3. Blogs: Having your own blog is great and everything, but I've found it's not useful unless you interact with other bloggers. There's that word again: INTERACT! You have to visit other blogs, comment on their posts, join blog hops, and do memes. Don't have an agenda. Don't copy and paste the same comment on every blog you visit. That's called spam and everyone hates spam.

There are plenty of other social media sites like Tumblr or Goodreads that I haven't mentioned, but I think they all follow the same rules. Be genuine. Be nice. Make friends!

4 secret replies:

  1. There can never be enough tips and means that one can put into action and explore when seizing the reins in an increasingly online economy; Facebook, Twitter, other social media in the offing. It pays to look into where social media is heading, and to stalk and seize its trajectories for your purposes.

    Masako @ Champion Online Marketing

  2. Having an account isn’t enough. It’s advisable to update them as often as possible to build your online presence. Make sure that your posts can relate to the latest events or the release of new products. It’s hard to market your products online if you can’t update your profiles from time to time. Anyway, thanks for these tips, Leah! :)

    Gwendolyn Carlson

  3. These are really great sites you've pointed out, and most of them are familiar too. And for a good reason. When you're playing the 'search engine optimization' game, always learn to seize the well-known social media sites and truly exhaust their mileage. Not just as lip-service for convenience ( i.e. Twitter et al being the medium everyone's at, like gmail is to e-mail ), but really understanding what's with them and their properties that has put them to the top.

    Viper Online

  4. Online presence is an issue which every businessman and any any company director need to maintain to compete with their competitors.
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