So I went to a panel on Thursday entitled "Social Books: How Media is Changing the Writing, Reading and Promotion of Books."
(to get a range of Tweets, quotes and clips from the panel, look up #socialbooks on Twitter)
When I signed up for the panel, the description essentially indicated that the panelists would be discussing how using tweets, apps, videos, blogs, wikis, mash-ups and fanpages help an author reach far beyond the book's binding.
What actually happened:
Author 1: I have a heckuva lot of followers because of people saying FOLLOW HIM! And now when I Tweet, I lose like 100, because they aren't interested in my feed.
Author 2: I have a blog and many followers. But I turn off the comment section. My blog is a dictatorship, not a democracy.
Author 3: I read @ replies, but there's no point in replying to people.
Ok, so there was more conversation than that, but to be honest, I left about 25 minutes into the one-hour panel. It got to a point where the panelists were essentially saying that publishing is 'ever-changing' and there are 'no hard rules' and I just shook my head and jumped shipped.
The key point I think the panelists, and moderator, were really missing, is the importance of the social aspect of social media. Always remember this key factor:
|It's not the quantity. It's the quality.|
So I went to a panel today at lunch titled, "Beyond Blogspot: New Venues and Opportunities for Authors to Get the Word Out"
What I had hoped to learn:
- What can authors do to make their book and themselves stand out among a saturation of 1 billion + blogs
- Does it make a difference if an author uses Blogspot, WordPress or Tumblr?
- What should authors blog about?
What I learned:
- A blog is ___.
- Twitter is ___.
- We can haz book trailers!
That last bullet point was courtesy of my falling asleep during the panel.*
Seriously, though, I think it's a completely reasonable and intriguing question:
Should writers blog about writing?
Should you blog about books you read? Give reviews?
Should you blog about your personal life?
Should you blog about topics relating only to your genre?
That's entirely up to you.
If you just want people to come to you as a source for book reviews, then review books.
If you just want people who are nosy and want a peek into your life on a daily basis, then make a Facebook page and make it public -- with pictures.
Your blog should be comprised of information that will define your platform. One of the panelists stated, "If you can't think of anything to blog about, just talk about other authors and books." Great idea. Until you start doing that on a regular basis. Then guess what? Like *almost* any other topic, there are thousands of other blogs that do that and, no offense, probably do it better.
Then, the most important part, analyze your audience's involvement. If you have 1,000 blog followers but you average maybe three comments per post, then you're not doing your job as a blogger to engage your audience. I think if you average at least 10% of your followers worth of comments per post (i.e. 400 followers and 40 comments), you're doing above and beyond what the average blogger does for their audience -- at least try to aim for 5%.
Three of my favorite bloggers:
Maureen Johnson -- YA author -- her blog has a little bit of everything and 110% of her personality
Ink in All Forms -- by Laura Fitzgerald -- Publishing from a marketing perspective
Strangest Situation -- by Sarah Fine -- Where Psychology and YA Literature Collide
I follow about 20 different blogs, but these are definitely in my top three. Are there other good examples? Absolutely -- but these definitely strike me as unique yet informative and totally for their audience.
Take a look at the blogs you've subscribed to-- do you read them all? Do you find yourself skipping over a bunch of them in your blog roll? Why? What do the blogs YOU read do to keep you engaged?
*Ok, not really. But you get the point.
**This is the second post in my SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK blog series. If you've not yet taken my ereader poll, please do so here.