Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
JA Motherfucking Huss is the NYT bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestsellers list eighteen times. She writes dark shit that isn’t for everyone but once in a while she gets a joke in her that comes out as a romantic comedy. She’s a workaholic who lives on a ranch in Colorado. (This is her blog, BTW, so her links are all over the goddamned place so I’m not gonna post one here.)
This is the second post in a three-post series about using social media. All indie authors who want to sell books online need to use social media effectively. The three platforms I’m going to discuss are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The most important thing you can take away from this mini series is that they are all very different and attract a different kind of user.
Using Twitter as an Author
1 Twitter is a very specific target audience
So you gotta know who you’re talking to over there. Hashtags help, but honestly, the best way to use twitter is for re-tweets that go out constantly over a period of time. Because let’s face it, the idea behind a messy, in-the-moment timeline was kind cool for like twenty seconds back in 2009, but now it’s just a pretty horrible way to have a conversation. It’s definitely not set up for SELLING THINGS, so you gotta take what you can get from Twitter.
2 If you use it right you can get a lot
Using Twitter the ‘right way” is kind of a propitiatory secret of mine. So I’m not gonna tell you how I do it. But I will say this: All the tips I gave you for Facebook still apply:
DO NOT buy followers
In addition to that, you gotta post every day, several times a day to see any real results. This goes for your Facebook author page as well. And don’t just post a link (ditto for Facebook). Links with no conversation are useless. It’s what I call a “throwaway post”. I do it sometimes because I just want to get something up ASAP. But it never works well.
3 Always post a picture with your tweet
People like pictures. It’s pretty easy to post one, just click that little image icon and upload. AND they don’t even count towards your character count anymore. When I do put up a “throwaway post” I always have a custom graphic along with my links. Don’t ever let Facebook just “propagate” your book link on Amazon and settle for that. BORING. You look like every other desperate author on social media when you do that. (If readers do it, it’s different. Then it looks like a recommendation).
I’m gonna have a post at the end of the month about making graphic teasers, so I’ll go through more about pictures at that time. But until then, go buy a few stock images.
4 CLICK the little heart. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.
I don’t click the little heart every time, but that’s only when I have hundreds of notifications in a day. So then I only click the ones that have some kind of personal message attached to them. But if you’re new and you only get a few notifications a day, then bitches, you should be clicking the hearts. ALL OF THEM. Its is like 30 seconds out of your day. Just do it. It makes fans feel good and when fans feel good because you did something nice, they pay more attention to you. They might not buy your book, but they will pay attention to you. Sometimes a future fan is worth more than a sale right now.
5 If someone calls you out by your Twitter handle, RESPOND TO THEM
If they took the time to look up your @sign and put it in their post with a question or comment, then for fuck’s sake, do them a favor and respond. If you’re busy and there’s nothing you actually need to respond to, like they didn’t ask you a question, they just said something nice about you, then you can get away with a heart click. But if they say something like, “Hey, @jahuss, when’s that next audiobook coming out?” I say, “His Turn releases December 26th! !! <3 <3”.
It’s not that hard, it makes them feel good, and it makes you look approachable, interested, and humble enough to answer your fans. All of which are good things.
6 USE YOUR AUTHOR TWITTER FOR AUTHOR THINGS
I made a huge mistake with my Twitter account back when I was doing the homeschool courses. I followed like a million people who had nothing to do with homeschool. I mean, I followed everyone. And my Twitter feed was a fucking mess.
I never make social statements on my twitter account. EVER. EVER. EVER. My Twitter is ONLY for book related things and I think this is a huge reason why it’s effective for marketing. I do not offer up social commentary on Twitter because first of all, NO ONE wants to hear my opinion on social issues. NO ONE. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion and I don’t judge people on theirs. I don’t want to tempt people to judge me on mine, so I keep it to myself. (Twitter can be a hate-filled cesspool if you let it. I don’t let it.)
Also, I rarely follow anyone that is not part of the book community. I follow a few rock bands and stuff like that. Maybe one or two reporters because they once wrote something I liked, but for the most part, NOPE. If you’re not a blogger, author, industry professional, or avid reader I don’t follow you. (In addition, I do not participate in “Mutual Following” on Twitter. Meaning, you follow me, I follow you. Nope.)
The only time I make any type of statement on Facebook is if another author is being a TOTAL CUNT in a very public way and I can’t walk away. It doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, it’s a huge bitch slap that I feel is well deserved. But mostly I save that kind of thing to private author groups where no one else can see it. BE NICE IN PUBLIC. You’re cultivating a public persona. And I am very aware that my public persona is “bitchy” but I made it that way on purpose. 😉 AND I am never a bitch to FANS. Readers, occasionally. lol. But fans, NEVER.