Know Your Social Media Audience

At times, I feel like I’m struggling with this blog and my other forms of social media. I shout to the cosmos the great truths (as far as I know them) and get nothing back but ego-killing silence. The small voice inside of me whimpers, “Is anyone listening?”

I’m not the only writer that experiences this void of interaction. After all, almost every advice book and speaker out there says “build a platform” and “market through social media.” So in a near panic, we hopeful authors generate a scatter-shot of blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts in hopes that someone finds us interesting enough to follow.

Advice from Books

I spent this week examining my efforts. I’ve read a few different books about how to use blogging and other social media and most of their advice says, “Focus on your niche.” Great but not particularly helpful if you are a fiction writer who likes to wander around different genres. So I write about writing. However, my thriller audience does not care about this topic.

One book stands out as being particularly helpful though. The Extroverted Writer  by Amanda Luedeke covers a number of social media suggestions. The book is thin and does not go into detail about designs or how to set up sites. However, it offers strong suggestions on what to consider when setting up your social media plans.

Looking to the Experts For Help

I particularly was drawn to the comments she made in the section about blogging. She states that writers should find and focus on their specific audience. Everyone talks about “write what you know,” but, like most people, I know a multitude of concepts that are completely unrelated to my fiction writing. The advice is fine if you are selling nonfiction books on gardening or finances. However, I’m not. I’m a fiction writer with a plague-based thrillers and ghost-filled urban fantasies. So do I write about publishing, poisons, or poltergeists?

Ms. Luedeke covers that. Her advice boils down to “know your fiction audience and write to them.” Yes, writers buy books but that group is not where my fan base is. In the case of multiple genres, she recommends writing to the audience you want to sell your next book too. This advice is wonderful and obvious, once someone said it aloud. Thank you, Amanda Luedeke!

So define your audience and then let that define what you discuss in blogs and other social media.

In adtion, if you are struggling with establishing your platform, check out The Extroverted Writer to help you formulate a plan. Other recommendations include Social Media Design for Dummies as a guide for a consistent look across your platform, and Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton. It goes into deep detail on setting up blog/websites for those of us computer-crabby types.

 

As always, keep writing!

 

Hiatus and Hope

I’ve been offline for a while and I apologize for not keeping up with my posts. Even my Facebook folks know I’ve disappeared for a while. I could give you the usual reason of the day job and life in general overwhelming me, and they would be true. However, life overwhelms everyone, particularly during the holidays.

However the real reason for my absence is that an opportunity came up that looked invaluable to my career. It proved time intensive as well and everything went fluid and understanding (God bless kind husbands) went on hold while I dove into it.

The wonderful event involved a literary agent requesting that I make changes to my manuscript, Specter of a Chance, and then email her the whole thing. The suggested changes all revolved around tightening up the story, which only helped with flow once I saw what she was talking about. No one to date has asked for the whole manuscript so imagine my feelings when I saw those words in the email.

My tears welled up with joy.
My mouth broke into a broad, beaming smile.

A few seconds later, my hands began to shake.
My heart pounded in anxiety.
My brain started shouting, “don’t screw this up!”

Once calm reality set in, I made a plan to put changing the manuscript, a long and meticulous effort, over everything else. Writing on the new work stopped. Dinners became a parade of insta-meals and takeout. In addition, social media moved to the back burner.

Specter of a Chance has flown off on the wings of electronic angels. After scrubbing my nasty looking house and cooking a feast for loved ones, I entered the waiting mode and dealt with neglected projects. Oh, and I started obsessively checking my email twenty times a day for replies.

The moral is that when an editor or literary agent asks for changes, or a part of your book, get it to them ASAP. Don’t send crap. Take the time to polish it to perfection but don’t let it lay around for months. Don’t give them time to forget why they liked the little samples.

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A 2015 photo of a Michigan lighthouse. Notice the frozen lake beyond. It is opposite to what we are seeing this year.

As ever, happy writing!