While social media and online marketing isn’t such a new concept anymore, it does help to sometimes refresh the ole writerly brain on how best to interact over the intertubes. Below are my quick tips to get it right:
Don’t do online what you wouldn’t do in person. Heck, don’t do some things you would do in person too! Use commonsense and courtesy, and avoid those flame wars by avoiding inflammatory language.
Don’t say anything online while you’re angry, drunk or on pain medication. Come to think of it, maybe at times like those, the closet isn’t such a bad place after all.
Be the real thing. If you try to be someone you’re not, then it will show and you’ll come across as disingenuous. No one wants to be accused of being fake, not even this closet-dwelling recluse on a chocolate binge.
Use your author name. As much as ‘AngelsRock’ sounds cool for an online name, even if your stories are about angels, it’s yourself you want to promote. People will connect to a real name over a gamer tag, or even no name at all.
Be available. The whole point of social media is the social aspect. You want people to find you, even contact you. So that means, along with your author name, you’ll need to provide an email address or some other way to connect with you. You'll need to be present on those sites too, rather than relying heavily on automated or prescheduled posts.
Avoid the hard sell. It doesn’t work and it turns people away. Go go double jeopardy.
Talk about other things than your books. Yes, there are a gazillion other things to talk about than the awesomeness of your book.
Cross promote, but don’t only cross promote. If all you post is promotional stuff, whether it’s for your book or someone else’s, people will grow tired of it.
Be generous. Listen to what others have to say and look for opportunities to help.
Thank the people who have helped you. This might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many authors forget to do this. So I’ll say again, if someone has gone out of their way to help you, even if it’s a little thing, then don’t forget to thank them … or into the closet for you!
Can you think of other etiquette do's and don'ts for writers? What's been your standout experience of writers who get it right or wrong?
Photo: A pic I took at IKEA. Think closets. Okay, so it's a thin connection, but I amused myself.