Me: Writing is, and always has been, my first love.
Ishmael: Good gods, woman. You’re going to have to start stronger than that or you’ll put your audience to sleep!
Me: …I started writing when I was a kid—
Ishmael: That would explain my brother’s ridiculously child-like behavior.
Evrae: Hey! I resent that!
Ishmael: …Stop making crude signs at the computer. This is a written interview. They can’t see them.
Me: (*AHEM*) There’s a giant filing cabinet in the closet right now filled with half-completed tales. Tales that I’ll never show. But I do have novels I’ve worked very hard on—novels that have become my passion. The Steps of Power series is that. And so I’ve worked very hard to promote the series to share that excitement and passion with fellow adults.
Zauviir: (snorts*) Or kids who wander by our convention booths with cash in hand.
Me: Hey. I don’t do that.
Zauviir: I wasn’t talking about you. Someone—me—has to help pay the bills around here.
Me: …This is obviously a talk we’re having later. …Anyways, promotion can be a real challenge for new authors. Even with all the hours spent researching, you often still feel lost. Just the other day, a new author messaged me on Twitter and asked, “How do you have so many followers??” So I’m going to try to share a few tidbits of information—
Darcarus: (snickers*) Titbits.
Ishmael: Good. Now that Darcarus is here, the immature fest can really get going.
Me: …that might help authors—at any walk of life—ramp up their potential audience. So let’s do this!
Me: By now you’re probably catching on that half of the promotion work is about “first impressions.” Social Media is where we get to the next step. Previously I mentioned that I had a woman ask me the other day how I had so many followers on Twitter (and I get about 1000 a month). My series art and website are by no means small contributors to promotion, but they are not the only things that promote my work. In my case, Twitter is my platform of choice. So I’ll talk about how to really enhance your presence online. In short:
Darcarus: Be hot.
Me: …That is not at all what I was going to say. First, your avatar should be a picture of you.
You: “Whoa. I’ve seen lots of big name authors who—”
Sairel: You’re not a big name author and that’s why you’re still reading this post.
Me: …Way to be snarky, Sairel. Sorry about him. Anyways, readers in this day and age like to put a face to the work they are reading. It’s just the facts of life. And I know some of you are sitting there, squirming with anxiety that you look like the left-over scrapings at the bottom of a chili bowl, but trust me when I say to you: put a face to your work. It legitimizes everything about your novel.
Sairel: Otherwise just assume everyone online envisions you as a thirteen-year-old kid who pretends to know how to write. Even if you claim you are forty and married. In the eyes of the online community, you’re probably still thirteen.
Evrae: You can be thirteen at heart, though.
Ishmael: Or in Evrae’s case, ten.
Me: Second: your bio should infuse you into it. Your passions, your quirks, your faults. Details. Your followers want to get to know you.
Sairel: Don’t just throw in a random quote or “I like food, dogs, and long walks on the beach.” That is also incredibly boring.
Me: And lastly: Follow people with like-minded passions. Don’t just “follow all” to add numbers to your feed. Follow people because you care. Because you see that they are, say, a fellow roleplayer and you are like “Oh boy! I bet they’ll have some awesome stories to share!” First and foremost, you’re a friend on Twitter. Most of the people you follow—95%—will never look twice at your work. So when you follow, keep in mind that you’re forming friendships first—and enjoy them for that. Who knows, maybe they’ll share a passion in your work as well and you two can spend long hours giggling about it! I’ve had so many Twitter followers who I have had a fantastic time talking about League of Legends champion hotness ratings, the hilarities of cats, foreign music, and other non-novel related talks with people who have said to me down the road, “Hey, I’d like to read your novel.” And then it’s even more fantastic because they’re not just a random number, they’re a friend who I can share yet another passion with! And for me, at least, that’s my greatest joy in writing.
Darcarus: Also getting hot artwork of us.
Me: …That too…