By Beth Terrell
Heard any good tweets lately?
If you haven't been living under a rock (I almost have, but that's another story), you've probably been hearing a lot about social networking lately. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, CrimeSpace, LiveJournal, and a host of other sites that encourage cyber-communication are now being used by authors to connect with potential readers and --hopefully--broaden their fan bases.
Social networking is weaving a virtual web of relationships for friendship, entertainment, and yes, business, but with all the options, how do you know which is best? And what's the most effective way to use these social networking tools without alienating the very people you're hoping to connect with? There's been a lot of discussion about social networks on the Murder Must Advertise list lately, and most people seem to agree that the soft sell is the way to go. Make friends, participate in discussions, post some "This is what I've been doing with my book" updates, and you can build an audience without feeling like a snake oil salesman. I succumbed to Facebook, after months of resistance, and have made contact with friends I haven't seen in years, like the guy who was in my Sunday School class when we were kids and whom I haven't seen in...ahem...quite a long time. A lot of those friends ask about my book. Some of them buy it. This is nice, but it's a perk. The relationships are worth cultivating, even if they don't result in book sales.
Still, I know I'm not making the most of the medium, so while I was at Killer Nashville, I picked up a book called Social Media Marketing an Hour a Day by Dave Evans. This immensely readable book is chock full of information about building a platform through social networks such as the ones I mentioned earlier. Most important, it teaches you how to do it without spamming others or engaging in otherwise obnoxious behaviors.
I'd tell you more about it, but I'm just beginning to delve into it. With my book being reissued in October, I'm going to need all the help I can get, and weaving a virtual web of friends and readers seems like a good start.
See you on Facebook?