First, congratulations to Handsome Hansel of the Dance of Romance and his new three-book deal! =) Congrats! Second, since I met HH on Twitter, his post about using social media is definitely one to listen to!
When the rest of the world decided three years ago that I was going to be a writer, I honestly believed that all there was to it was, well, writing.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is possible that to be a writer all you have to do is write but what if you want to become a successful writer? Then you have to market yourself and build your “Brand”. In a lot of cases this can become more time consuming than the writing itself.
Three years ago when writing was thrust upon me by outside forces (Hell, who am I kidding…I went willingly) the first thing that I had to think of was a pen name. Personally, my real name would never sell books. If you say my real name out loud you have to pause halfway through to take a breath. One of my closest confidants suggested my pen name, Handsome Hansel, and it has stuck. Since I write Romance and Erotica the pen name seemed a perfect complement and it has proven to be.
It can certainly be that your current name works wonderfully as a pen name. Two up and coming authors, Marni Mann and Mary Ann Kempher, have perfect pen names already built into their genetic code. There is no need to change it up.
Internationally acclaimed author of Ricochet and The China Conspiracy, p.m.terrell opted to use her initials instead and keep the use of her pen name to all lower case letters. She writes books with strong suspenseful threads throughout and when you pick up one of her books, there is something a bit conspiratorial, yes, by simply having an intriguing pen name that lends insight into the books content.
Bounce ideas off people you trust. People you know who will be honest (sometimes brutally). After-all, aside from the title of your book, your name is one of the first things potential readers will see when deciding to buy your book or not.
Once I had a pen name I realized I had to enter the world of social media. I’m a techie at heart but entering a world I had no idea how to navigate seemed rather daunting. I was afraid in order to be welcomed into this world I was going to have to learn how to Twerk. (FYI, the first few times were a bit awkward but I eventually got the hang of it. I’m a lot of fun at parties now. )
Or worse, have to post a series of selfies, which I’m sure was against the religious beliefs I subscribed to at that time. Turns out that three years later, it was the best thing I had done.
I started with Twitter. I can be found at @DanceOfRomance. I have around 41,000 friends and I am blessed everyday by their friendship and loyalty. I work rather hard to not disappoint anyone and if one of my followers has a milestone in their life, I try to be one of the first to shout from Twitter’s mountaintop their achievement. You’ll notice I called them friends and not followers. This is how I see them. Truly see them. Friends will buy books. Followers won’t necessarily. Even in social media the Golden Rule applies. The rules haven’t changed, only the circumstances with which we are to abide by them have.
When it comes to Twitter, I do have one regret. I didn’t go for an Author account sooner. I can’t even tell you why I didn’t. I opened my author account, @The_Real_HH, about 6 months ago and have close to 2,000 followers which I’m ecstatic about but fails in comparison to my other account. I have my first book coming out in January ’14 and readers will always look for the Author first. I’ve tried to circumvent that recently by overlapping tweets from both accounts and it seems to be working.
FaceBook, Ugh! The social media site I love to hate and hate to love. But dammit, it’s necessary. I have The Dance Of Romance page set up and, honestly, neglected it for a long while. Why? It didn’t give me the draw I was looking for like Twitter did. For me, Twitter was more social and more interactive than FaceBook was so I put it in a corner to collect dust. In the last few months however, I’ve dusted it off and gave it the attention it deserved and it’s paying off. I have over a 100 new followers in a short amount of time and, once I passed the 250 ‘like’ mark, FaceBook gave me a $50 advertising certificate to use for promoting my page. It expires around the end of November but within plenty of time to help promote my book coming out in January. To say the least this was a nice surprise and one most people aren’t aware of receiving.
I actually had a blog before I decided to start writing. For me it was a way to express myself and let go.
When I made the leap to permanently become a writer, I scrapped my old blog, transferred a few close-to-my-heart posts to my new blog, and threw my soul out to the world.
I started this new blog, TheDanceOfRomanceOnline.com, with the same intention every child begins their new school year: I have my supplies, I have my optimism of getting all As, and I’ve instilled the fortitude in me to actually believe I’ll make a difference.
I’m simply one in a billion of bloggers. Ever get accidentally bumped into at the grocery store? That’s what someone finding your blog feels like. Except you don’t want them to immediately go away afterwards.
I had intentions of writing at least three posts a week, Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Never happened. Certainly not because of my lack of content! My grandfather used to say I, “could talk the chicken off the bone.” It had more to do with everyday life getting in the way. When you’re by yourself, posts can wait, things get postponed, etc.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’m down to one post every 6 weeks or so. Nowhere near where it needs to be. You want your fans/readers/friends engaged on a regular basis. They’re coming to see you, you’re not going to see them. In my case a big part of not being as engaged on my blog is because of my book deal. When you’re under the gun, it’s a lot harder to keep up with all the social media.
Other Social Media
There are way too many to name so let’s just deal with the most popular ones.
Pinterest: A social media site where you can express your inner self by “pinning” various pictures. If you have likes and dislikes, they can be expressed through photographs here.
Instagram: Think Twitter but with pictures. You can express yourself with a personally taken picture and a caption. You can add various filters to your picture to enhance it if you’d like.
Ask.fm: I believe out of all the other social media sites there are, this is the best one to be a part of. (Absolutely NO affiliation what-so-ever) My eldest daughter turned me onto this site. It’s simply a forum where anyone who wants can ask you a question. It’s a great way to engage your readers and fans. Think of it as a living biography of you set to the tune of questions by your readers.
As with everything out there in this day an age…there is a solution.
When it comes to Twitter and FaceBook, there are automated programs out there you can buy. Personally, I’m not a fan. Why? Because it takes the personalization out of you and your brand. (I’m not going to use this post as a forum to promote any kind of product.) I DO however, use an app on my iPad that lets me time my tweets and FB posts. This has helped me tremendously while at the same time keeping that personal touch with my fans, followers, and friends.
There are also companies out there as well that can help you manage your social media needs. www.terressacortez.com is one such company. These companies, for a fee, allow us to do what we do best…write.
In this day and age it’s not enough to just be a good writer. We have to be salespeople and marketers too. It doesn’t matter if you have been writing for 2 years or 50, we are in an age where Brand matters. Our fans need to see a consistency across not just our writing but our social media sites as well.
RU Authors and Authors-to-be…what do YOU use for branding and social media?
Trends in Young Adult Romance with Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon on Tuesday – don’t miss it!
Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.
I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at http://thedanceofromanceonline.com
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