The Author and Social Networking

There are two aspects to social networking, for authors.  First, there’s networking with other authors.  Second, there’s interacting with readers.  Of course, there is a third – personal networking with friends and family, but that doesn’t really need discussing here.

There’s a growing number of ways in which authors can network with each other.  There are the obvious ones, of Facebook and Twitter, but there are now many other sites offering authors the opportunity to interact with people who appreciate the many aspects of writing, getting published and getting readers.  I could list them, but that would make for a very uninteresting post.  Some of the sites offering the service are better than others, and the nature of such sites varies.  You may just want to know you’re not alone, and maybe ask a question now and then about some ticklish problem.  Then again, you may want a more active relationship, with critiques of your work taking a prominent place.  I’ll confess to preferring the former.  That’s mainly because I simply don’t have time to get so deeply involved.

Networking with readers is another matter.  It usually starts with some simple means of getting feedback, progressing to things like Facebook pages and even forums.  There’s an inherent danger, of course.  Readers are entirely unpredictable!  They may love some of your work but hate other pieces.  The clearest advice is not what many readers would like: don’t get involved!  Basically, this states that it is bad practice – unprofessional even – to get involved in reacting to the stated opinions of your readers!  Essentially, the author’s side of the relationship should very seldom exceed posting announcements or thanking their readers for their support.  You have to let anything negative simply wash over you, without comment.

This may make it sound like we must make clear divisions between fellow authors and readers.  In actual fact, most of the successful sites provide a way for authors and readers to interact in one place.  In most such cases, the authors do have ways to interact privately, but not always.  Sites such as Goodreads and Book Blogs are very much involved in covering the whole of networking.

There is one thing every author must accept before they ever put any kind of book out there, digital or physical: you will be exposed to opinions that you don’t like or agree with.  You are likely to actually be targeted by sad folk who intend nothing but making verbal attacks on you.  And if you run your own blog or web site, there are the hackers and Spammers to contend with.  The internet, for all the good it can do, can be a harsh environment.  If you are thin skinned, you’re unlikely to enjoy yourself for very long.

Ultimately, whether you get involved in networking is your choice.  But, remember that you really do need the free advertising that such networking offers.  You need to get yourself known.  Plus, most people now expect to find that their favourite authors have some kind of interactive presence on the internet.  My best advice?  Start small!  Create a Facebook page, either for yourself as an author (the best option) or for each of your books (a lot of work!).  Expand slowly into other sites.

Good luck.

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

3 thoughts on “The Author and Social Networking

  1. Interesting post Steve! It’s definitely something writers—especially self-published ones—should think about. My question is though: Does getting (self-)published come before creating such a Facebook or Goodreads page, or vice versa?

  2. Thanks Sky. Personally, I set everything in motion before publishing anything. Most self-publishing sites allow you to automatically send announcements to the various social networks when you publish anything, so it makes sense to have those sorted out first 😉 You can always tweak them later if need be.

  3. Pingback: Sales Saturday: Evaluating Success | C Giovanni Writes

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