Using Social Media to Get Published


Using Social Media To Get Published
Cat Rambo, (Mary) M.K. Hobson, Mary Rosenblum / Mary Freeman, Chris Lester
OryCon 33
  • For a new writer, who is just getting started out, is it important to be on social media?
    • Cat: Yes and no. If they are just getting started, they don’t need to be broadcasting. But they need to be following editors and agents and more experienced writers. They can get the relationships that will get them published.
    • Hobson: Social media is like an online con that never ends. You need to be fostering those connections. Don’t be annoying, needy, etc.
    • Lester: What does publishing mean to you, and why do you care?
      • If it means a major deal with one of the big six and your book in Barnes and Noble, then it probably isn’t going to help.
      • If it means that tens of thousands of people are accessing your content and enjoying it, then yes, it can really help.
      • If you are dependent on NY publishing, then you are dependent on an archaic system that does have nothing to do with whether someone is successful or not.
    • Mary: Yes, you need to do it. If you’re only goal is major publisher, it will help somewhat. Some publishers will notice that. But it’s not that big of a deal. But if you are coming to any publisher with a established fanbase, that makes you eminently more publishable. 
      • Plus, if no agent or editor will pick you up, now you are positioned to self-publish.
      • Someone I work with, her first week she sold 1,000 books. That’s damn good.
  • How to use social media?
    • I’m seeing a lot of very ineffective use. How do we do it well?
    • Set up your accounts so that when you tweet, it goes to your Facebook.
    • When you read something you like, tell the writer. Social media makes that easier.
    • Hobson: Look at some examples
      • John Scalzi: Old Man’s War. He put it out onine, it got a great reception, and then was picked up by a publisher.
      • Cory Doctorow puts all his stuff online.
      • When I started, the conventional wisdom was put nothing online.
      • Now that may be turning around. You can put stuff online and build a readership.
    • Lester: 
      • Scott Stigler: Put out a bunch of different books in podcast form. Had five or six of them. Finally got his first book deal. Bidding war between two publishers.
        • By the time the book came out, the publisher was very heavily invested in it, and really pushed it.
        • And he had a big fan base.
        • And yet, he still made far more money from his other self-published series.
      • Tim Pratt does short stories - and podcasts of them. The podcast spreads everywhere in the social media world. Everyone knows his name.
      • You can expect 5% of the people who take something for free to actually pay for it.
  • The Giveaway
    • Mary: If you have a short story that you’ve tried with the big publishers, and they’ve rejected it, put it online. It will do more for you that way than shopping it around to smaller publishers.
    • Lester: Give away the first book free. 
      • People are drawn to production values: It has to look like someone cared about this, and put their time and money into it.
      • Then for the next book, put the book for sale up front. Then give away the book, a chapter a month. There will be plenty of people want to know what happens next, and they’ll pay to get that book.
  • You have to have a good product. Pay for a proofreader. Pay for an editor. Make sure it is good. People won’t pay for it if it isn’t. 
    • The reason you only get a $1.40 out of your $14 book from a NY publisher is because they are paying for a proofreader and an editor.
  • Make sure you understand the difference between a content editor, a copy editor, and a proof reader. Don’t hire one person to do it all.
    • $1 - $1.50/page.
    • $1000 for a book.
    • 2-5 cents per word.
    • a content editor or development editor is looking at structure, asking for revisions.
    • a copy editor is looking for logical errors, checking facts, checking language.
    • a proof reader is checking for typos, dropped words, commas in the right place.
  • What are you putting there social media?
    • Cat Rambo writes historical fiction. People who read historical fiction will be interested in historical articles, period costumes, etc.
    • Social media has to be authentic. It doesn’t have to be all of you. But it has to be real.
      • There’s an entire industry in silicon valley to try to fake authenticity. Big business doesn’t get it.
      • You have to be able to give up some privacy and some stuff about you to build the relationships so that you can be followers.
      • Think about what you want to remain private and what you don’t want to be private.
  • Personal Connection
    • Readers recommend books when they have a personal connection with the characters.
    • Readers recommend authors when they feel a personal connection with the author.
  • Know your circles well.
    • With Google plus, you can set up circles
      • your fans
      • your fans and acquaintances you’ve met in real life
      • your trusted friends
  • Q: Where should I spend my time? Facebook? Twitter? Google plus? Blog?
    • Use them all.
    • Cross link them. So when you do one post, it goes everywhere.
    • Know what they are useful for.
  • Twitter
    • It’s your watercooler conversations. You go over to the watercooler, you listen to a few sentences, and you say a few sentences, and then you leave.
    • Use it to converse with authors and fans. Sharing things you think are cool.
    • Use it to direct people to a larger article or larger discussion elsewhere.
  • Forums
    • Set up a fan forum, if you get that successful. Then set up a super fan as a moderator. Pop in once in a while, but let the fans have their space and moderate themselves.
  • Expanding your social media base
    • you must expand your base
    • some of it will happen automatically
    • if you are entertaining, it will attract people.
    • but make a decision: are you building your career, or going to relax? Because those are different kinds of posts.
    • Hobson: Spent the last six months reading what other people say and responding to it, amplifying it.
  • Building connections
    • See what other people need, and see if you can give it to them.
      • If you can, you build relationships and credibility.
    • Lester: Had a book with a female protagonist. There was a woman in the podcast community who was doing lots of voice recording, but not getting paid for them. He offered to pay her to record his stuff. Not only she do that, but she talked about him to everyone else. And she knew a lot of people in the podcasting community.
  • Author profile vs. personal profile on Facebook
    • Do make a separate author profile.
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