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Advice for Authors: Social Media 101

The purpose of social media is to build your (good) name and expose readers to your work. Social media is your chance to make an excellent first impression.

Today a friend posted this on her Facebook wall: Gentle hint for the day: While you need to sell yourself via social networking, overselling works in a negative way and turns readers off.

How true.

Today, instead of writing multiple posts to Facebook, Wordpress, YouTube, Twitter (and anything else that is created before I have finished writing this blog posting), several companies offer programs authors can use to manage their multiple media accounts. This service allows you to enter one post. The program then, (for a fee) cross-posts the content to all of your accounts and, in theory, expands the author’s market. However, I do not recommend subscribing to this methodology in order to sell books.

Yes, I have a Twitter account. You can follow me at ReneaWinchester. What you will find are monthly, never daily tweets. Why? Twitter and other social media outlets have morphed into a commercial machine.

Shortly after activating my twitter account, I decided to unfollow someone. Each day, her tweets consumed my screen. Links to this, copies of that. Could you retweet this? Please check out this link. I do not know how it was possible for this person to perform her daily activities. Her behavior was annoying and rude.

So what did I do with Suzie over-tweeter? You got it, I stopped following. The same will happen to you when you cross the line from informing readers about your work into the category titled blatant self-promotion, or BSP. BSP is an atrocious illness that attacks many fledgling authors. BSP can damage your writing career faster that a sentence ending with five exclamation marks. Yes, I realize that someone said, “you must get a Twitter account, and a Facebook account, and a YouTube account.”

Did they tell you why? Did they really explain why? Or did they just say, “start tweeting everyday several times a day.”

Let me be honest, a tweet that says, “A new review of my book is available on Amazon,” will kill your writing career lightning fast. If you are guilty of doing this, stop it. Stop it now, please.

The purpose of social media is to build your (good) name and expose readers to your work. Social media is your chance to make an excellent first impression. Somehow, someone misinformed authors that social media is a race to accumulate the most followers, tweets and Facebook friends. Let’s embark on a mission to set the record straight. You do not need to tweet ten times a day, and follow it up with a few dozen Facebook postings.

No. No. No.

If you flood readers with too much content, they might remember your name but odds are they will not buy your book? Why not? This might sound harsh, but you appear desperate and rude, and worse, an amateur. Can we slow down the BSP train?

When I asked this friend (who is a famous book reviewer) what triggered her Facebook announcement. She said, “I am drowning in self-promotional tweets and posts of reviews. This is nothing but ads for them.”

Heed her words Dear Ones.

Sympathetic and eager to teach these fledgling authors that their behavior is offensive, she invested her valuable time and sent the offenders messages. She offered a gentle nudge to go easy on the tweets.

The BSP continued…daily, times ten.

Weary, she solved this problem. She no longer receives their tweets. She is no longer a Facebook friend, and she probably won’t review any of their future books. This is the result of flooding readers, and reviewers, with too much of what you believe is a good thing.

Trust me, once someone clicks the unfollow button, the damage is done.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author. She was recently named the 2012 Atlanta Pen Women Author of the Year. To learn more about her books, or to schedule a workshop or individual consultation visit her at www.reneawinchester.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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