Today's authors are very in-the-know about the changes sweeping through the publishing industry. I am so thankful to be pursuing a writing career in these times where the access to amazing resources and generous authors is at our fingertips.
If you don't feel "up to date" and want to read more about the changing state of publishing, it's hard to find a better resource than Kristine Kathryn Rusch and her publishing industry blogs.
Our current brave world of publishing demands that an author build a brand.
What does that mean exactly? Simply put, your brand is the picture that pops into people’s mind when they hear your name.
For established authors, this picture is usually tied to one (or many) of your books. For the new or unpublished author, you need to get started on forming that picture in people's mind as soon as possible. Participation in social media is one of the easiest ways to do this.
I'm interested in exactly how you're participating in this speed-of-light social media world. I see many of you on Twitter and Facebook. I even see a few of you on LinkedIn.
Where are lots of my WITS peeps conspicuously absent?
It's pretty rare for me to see more than a few of my WITS pals in my hashtag chats, with the possible exception of #myWANA. Either we don't keep the same hours or you're hanging out somewhere else (that you'll hopefully mention in the comments, so I can hang out there too!).
The other answer is that you haven't been cued into the hashtag thing yet, which means you're not using social media, especially Twitter, as fully as you could be. (If you're scratching your head, wondering what the hell a hashtag is, please read this post on what Twitter hashtags are and why we need them.)
Note: Be sure to download TweetDeck or HootSuite - they'll help you to enjoy social media a whole lot more. If you choose TweetDeck, I highly recommend Piper Thunstrom's tutorials on TweetDeck. They are AWESOME!
Perhaps you're happy in Facebook, and Twitter is an unknown frontier. Maybe you're already hooked up in Google+...that's part of what this post is about. I want to know where the writers are hangin'.
How do I go about "building a brand?"
For more detailed information on branding, here are some of the best blogs I’ve found on the subject from people who say it far better than I do.
- Jami Gold’s How Do You Decide On Your Author Brand? – Part 1 and Part 2
- Jami has another wonderful post on Branding 101 – Online Brand vs. Author Brand
- An older post from leadership guru Michael Hyatt that still applies – 7 Ways to Build Your Author Brand Online
- Video: Creating Your Author Brand by Joanna Penn
- Kristen Lamb’s must-read post on Bob Mayer’s Blog: Building An Author Brand.
- Bob Mayer discusses Social Media and the Writer in his Publishing Lessons series.
Particularly now that so many authors are going the Indie route with smaller independent publishers or even venturing into self-publishing for their first book, author branding is no
longer a “nice to have.”
Read the posts above and take a look at these two books: Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone: A Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer. They will put you light years ahead of where you might have gotten on your own. At the very least, they'll get you there faster.
My personal observation is that people are seeking authentic connections and that, by branding themselves, an author is opening themselves up for connecting.
In my own experience on Twitter and both of my blogs, your Followers and your Tweeps become your friends. We spend time with these people, whether it’s chatting on Facebook, having a Worldwide Book Launch Party or sharing Sunday morning coffee. Seemingly disparate people throughout the world are connecting through social media and enjoying the hell out of each other. It’s a beautiful thing.
Perhaps you don’t know where people are gathering on Twitter.
Fret no more…here’s the list of where my Tweeps and I hang out. This is your invitation to hook up with us. Like I said, if you are spending time somewhere else online, we want to know where that is!
#myWANA – This love revolution started on Kristen Lamb’s blog (WANA stands for We Are Not Alone…I’ve linked to the book above)
#weWRITE – Hashtag started by Anna DeStefano and Jenni Talty based on their How We Write Wednesday Series. Note: There are no links allowed in this group – conversation on writing only…you’ll have to post your links elsewhere.
#PubWrite – these tweeps enjoy writing, sharing ideas and frustrations, and the occasional adult beverage.
#amwriting – writers from everywhere hang out here and encourage each other as they write. If this is your hangout, you might also enjoy http://amwriting.org/.
#amediting – writers from everywhere hang out here and encourage each other as they edit their works-in-progress.
#wordmongering – writers do timed sprints of 30 mins at :00 and/or :30 every hour. This is fun 24/7 and participants say they get so much writing done.
#Row80 – Hashtag started by Kait Nolan that I’m participating in. This is a writing challenge that lasts 80 days and requires that you publicly post your goal. For more details go here.
#LifeListClub: Another goals-based hashtag chat. You must publicly state your goals, usually on a page in your site, and then work to achieve them and cheer on others. If you decide you want to be more involved, you can submit to be on the list of writers who blog hop every other Friday. For more details on what the Life List Club is, go here.
#nanowrimo - When November rolls around, the agony and the ecstacy of National Novel Writing Month can be found here. (Until then, we have Row80!)
Note: If I’ve missed any really cool hashtags, please let me know in the comments.
Writing-related hashtag resources that might be helpful to you:
For a great resource on Twitter (and social media and branding), I recommend that you visit Kristen Lamb’s blog and read all of her Twitter Tuesdays posts – TT #2 deals with hashtags and delves a bit deeper on some of the topics here. Plus, when she posts at Dr. Twuth, you need to swallow your beverage before reading.
If you would like to see a list of popular hashtags, go to one of the following sites:
- Specific to writers: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/40-twitter-hashtags-for-writers/
- http://tagal.us/ is working hard to be the dictionary on hashtags. It is a cool site and worth looking at since a list of tags drops down as you type and the hashtag definition shows in the search results.
What about you? Where do you commune with people on Twitter or Facebook (and why)? Are there groups of writers that you recommend above all others? Please share your discoveries with the rest of us!
Have you discovered Writers In The Storm on Facebook? We'd love to see you over there! 🙂