My debut picture book, Odd Animal ABC's, comes out in just over two months. So what am I doing to prepare? Well, I’m learning as I go since there is no one perfect directive on how to sell a bajillion books. Here is what I’m learning about your Online Presence.
First things first:
People need to be able to find you and your books online. You don't need to be a part of every social media outlet ever created. I’m not part of all of these, and I’m not promoting any one in particular, but here are some to look into. Find what works for you or ones that don't need up-keep.
No matter what you choose to participate in on social media be sure it is appropriate for the age of your readers and professional. Agents and editors may read your posts once they are thinking of working with you. Kids may find them too as they are looking for your next book.
Amazon Author Page - See your sales, share info like tour events, blogs, etc.
Blog - A creative outlet and a way to connect with others. Blog as much as you want. There are many blog hosting sites to choose from. Topics? You can review books, interview peers, share cheesecake recipes and pictures of your pet. Content is up to you.
Goodreads - You can have a verified Author Page. This takes just a few minutes to set up and maybe a day to become verified. You can interact here, but it isn't a requirement. You can review books, make a list of books you want to read, and track what you’ve already read.
Facebook - Highly interactive. You can chat, post pictures, host giveaways and more. Again, you should make sure this has content that you are comfortable with prospective publishing houses seeing. What works for someone who writes super edgy YA may be very different content than someone writing sweet and sentimental picture books. (This is also why some writers who span those two genres have a pen name for one or more of their genres.)
Instagram - Photos, videos, illustrations, and interaction, perfect for artist who want to connect.
Twitter - Short and sweet (tweet?). Each post only contains a max of 280 characters and/or a fun gif. A few minutes a day can keep you pretty active. There is a large writing community and hashtags to follow.
Website - Your website doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive. Clean, easy to navigate, with links for purchasing your books. If you plan to do school visits make sure there is a way for schools to reach out to you.
What About Branding?:
As a traditionally or self-published author, or illustrator, you are now a business. Consistent branding helps people recognize your work. Using your book cover as your avatar? What about using it across all your platforms. Your website name should be easy to figure out. www.YOURAUTHORNAME.com if possible. That way all the folks hunting on Google can find you with ease.
Debut Groups: Some writers team up with others in their genre that are debuting in the same year. These buddies cross promote through social media, interviews or guest posts on each other’s blogs, and they are there to stumble through the adventure with you.
Links: Don't forget to set up links so people can purchase your book. Like This: Order Now (yes, this is a shameless plug). Make it easy for buyers to access your book.
Again, I’m not promoting any specific thing here. Maybe you just want a simple website and nothing more. That is OKAY. Social media is a tool that can help with promoting. NOT a requirement. Don’t force yourself to spend time on social media if you hate it or if it becomes a burden and takes away from your creative time.
You don’t need to try everything all at once. That could overwhelm you and take away any fun you may have had. Every writer and illustrator is different and finds what works for them over time. These aren’t the only social media site, there are more and, who knows, by the time I’m done writing this blog some new form of social media may have gone viral. Do what works for you and at your own pace.