This is a guest post by Pavarti Devi
Social Networking. It’s all the rage for authors, publishers, and every other business under the sun. We’re encouraged to market, market, market all the time. We’re inundated with suggestions on how to increase our twitter following, write a catchy post or increase inbound traffic. All of these things are important, but are they enough?
As an Indie publisher, I find I am in many ways floundering in the deep end. I have found a number of amazing resources that I can read, digest and apply, but in the end I often feel alone. This is a danger when you are writing, publishing and marketing yourself. Do you have a third person perspective on your own work? Does anyone?
One important element in all of this Social Networking that is imperative we don’t lose sight of is the fact that all of these followers/likers/traffic stats are also people–people who are there because they want to be, because you have something to offer, even if it’s just a smile. The connections you are building by doing all this networking can be hard to manage but are also invaluable.
So why is it important to create and maintain relationships beyond a simple “Pls RT” (Please Re-Tweet for you luddites out there)?
1.Market Reach: According to Time Magazine all the way back in 2007, Facebook was already more popular than porn. Your ability to connect with others in this way is infinite. Facebook can overturn governments, connect long lost loves, inspire hope, and is an ill-advised place where many air their dirty laundry. It can also sell your book. But only if people bother to share, and post, and link to you. Some of this, certainly, will be determined by the content, but a lot of the time people pass things on simply because they like you. Don’t underestimate the importance of good will either; if you want people to pass your info on, pass on others. (But be wary of becoming a spammer, there’s a limit to how much people want to see of these kinds of posts.) Your friends are considering this too when determining what to share and pass on, but for a friend, it’s just an easy click of the button.
2.Good Will unto Men: Indie Authors are notoriously poor. We have the drive and the will, but not the funds to back up the amazing product we’ve created. It’s impossible to compete with big publishing houses that can fund editing and art and publicity for you. This is where the communal aspect of Indie Writing is so exciting to me. We can do these things for each other, either for free, with an expectation of recompense, or with a trusted independent group (Like Novel Pub!). The more good will and sincerity you put out there, the more likely others are to help you. Do you BETA read for others? Do you host authors on your blog? Why not? It’s a great way to meet new exciting people and to create a reciprocating online workplace where, down the line, the folks you have helped will be excited to help you.
3.Be sincere: Most of us can tell the difference between someone who just wants us to pimp them and someone who is generally invested in our work. While the sheer size and magnitude of internet marketing makes it impossible to get to know everyone intimately, its important to remember who you’ve emailed when, and who did what for you. Keep a spreadsheet if you need to (especially with blog tours, those can get dizzying), but remember how you know the people you are engaging with. Otherwise, your network starts to feel like, well, a network, and not a friend.
4.Take A Hint: Sometimes there are people who we think are amazing. We like their work, we like their style, and we identify that they are the kind of people we want to associate with. That’s great! We should be doing that. Surround yourself with excellence, and you will excel. However, if there’s someone whose posts you are constantly commenting on or re-tweeting and you never get a response, or worse yet, someone you’ve contacted directly who doesn’t reply, back off. You do not want to get the reputation of a Social Networking stalker.
5.Recognize Greatness: On the rare occasion you stumble upon someone who has similar goals and dedication as you, who is invested not only in their own work but the community at large, and with whom you click in that indefinable but exciting way, do not let go. Alone, we are confused and adrift in a sea of clamoring talent, but together, with a partner, or a group of trusted cohorts, you can boost one another into the realm of the truly fantastic.
About this post’s author:
Pavarti Devi is an artist, wife, mother and number-cruncher and has been committed to causing trouble since her first moment on this Earth. Her eclectic career has flirted with Broadway, Teaching, Law Firms and the IRS. Currently she is hard at work establishing her Indie Publishing Company Fighting Monkey Press and enthusiastically working with her Author’s Co-op Escapist Press.
Pavarti Devi ‘s debut novel Shadow on the Wall is scheduled for release in November 2011. Shadow on the Wall is Book One of The Sand Storm Chronicles, the saga of Recai Osman — businessman, philosopher, Muslim and . . . superhero.