If you’re not careful, leaving reviews, good and bad, on Amazon and Goodreads can make you the subject of an attack from trolls. Don’t forget that you might have liked a book that others believed was dreadful. So, writers that have been at this game for many years don’t recommend leaving reviews of any kind. Instead, if you want to show your support for other authors, help spread the word. Share links on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Recommend the book to others in your discussion groups. Tell your readers about the book, either directly on your blog or through your email list. Utilizing your contacts to help another writer promote their book is probably the best way to show them how much you enjoyed their book.
When building a platform, it’s important to consider what aspects will be identifiable as your branding. The profile images used on various social media sites is one aspect that can easily be made consistent. While the cropping on the image might vary from site to site, in general, one should be able to glance at the profile image and know instantly that the message is from you, regardless which platform they’re on. Use the same image across all social media sites.
If you’re not sure exactly what you want to achieve with your site, just start with a free one. There is nothing wrong with a free website. In the world of websites, free is not only attractive to the bank balance, but it’s actually a good starting place. Gone are the days when a free website looked cheap. There are a number of providers advertising free websites and all the tools you need to get your site up and operational quickly. They offer a variety of themes and are user-friendly. With a society that has come to love their internet-based communications, affordable, and user-friendly is a must.
As part of one’s branding, you might have spend a significant amount of time on that header image used for social media accounts. It’s not an unreasonable idea, however, you should keep in mind that header images behave differently on the different sites for the different apps. What might look okay on the website version of Facebook might be cropped in unexpected ways on the Android/iOS versions. And that same header will have a different cropping on Twitter. Because of where the profile image sits, vital words in the header might be obscured on a phone, but visible on a computer. Ensure that you check how that carefully selected image renders on all devices.
Reality check: ALL writers seeking publication, traditionally or self-published, need a website.
A website will be the first port of call for any potential reader. They will go to your website to get the latest information about your various projects, both old and new. Yes, your social media will likely have information about the latest happenings. However, any older material will quickly be buried. Everything else that you do should point back to your website and the one, central hub where readers can get the most up-to-date information about your work.
Connecting with other writers is vital for a writer’s career. Only other writers will understand the ups and downs associated with being a writer. Do some research and find your local writers’ group. Join them. I will grant you that costs of memberships can be high, but most local chapters have a grace period where you can chat with them, join in on their regular meetings or other activities and get to know them before you pay the membership fee. Regardless, joining a writers’ group has many benefits, including giving a new writer something to add to their bio.
Every so often, I come across another horror story where some honest writer has had their precious work taken down from the Amazon sites because some BLEEP has chosen to claim that they own the copyright. If this happens to you, it falls on you to prove the other person is wrong. Pay the money to the copyright office to get that official certificate. If you reside in a country that doesn’t have a formal registration for copyright, like New Zealand, then join a copyright registrar site.
As writers seeking publication, either traditional or self-publication road, how we behave on public forums does play on our marketability. Let’s face it, published writers are public figures, maybe not as famous as some big-name movie star, but our fans still want to know more about us. If we behave badly on social media, that could be very bad for our careers. And don’t think that if you did something years ago that it’ll be buried forever. The ugly-nasty has a bad habit of turning up when you least expect it. Always play nice on social media.
With the introduction of Facebook and Twitter Live, it’s not surprising that many are now turning to vlogging (video blogging) in a rudimentary way. However, before you make any recording, it’s important to have an idea as to what you intend to record. Where possible, script your videos. Rambling can make you seem scatterbrained and unable to structure thoughts into a coherent form. For the sake of your reputation, make a few dummy recordings as practice, before you use the Live features.