Recently, I’ve been exploring Twitter, seeking out Colony members and Crime genre authors and literary agents who like crime novels. I intended to use this personal account to make contacts and to promote myself and my Cornish Detective series in a non-pushy way.
My Twitter presence morphed from a Facebook Author page called Paul Pens, which is based on threads I started on The Colony. Last autumn, I started a Facebook business page devoted to my Cornish Detective series. Why not give my fictional hero a Twitter account too?
I searched for advice online, finding this dated article:
There are a lot of Marvel and DC superheroes and fictional heroes tweeting away, as are Homer J. Simpson, Charlie Brown and Lord Voldermort, so I may join in with Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle.
Self-promotion is essential for an author. Whether you’re fortunate enough to have the support of a book publisher or if you’re going it alone with self-publishing, the reading public wants access to you.
This means blogging, having a website devoted to your books, running a newsletter and making pithy posts on social media…all to get your name circulating and maybe sticking to the memory banks of potential readers.
Many writers are reclusive, shy even and not given to making a fuss. But, it helps to be able to blow your own trumpet when necessary, such as for a book launch. It may come across as arrogant, which we’ve discussed before, but unless you’re a household name such as J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood or E.L. James, it will only be a flash in the pan, a brief round of publicity before you can return to solitude to write your next book. All the same, you should maintain contact with your fans with a newsletter. You’re not a cicada emerging every 2-17 years!
These days we’re expected to establish ourselves and our books as a brand. Potentially, this means being typecast as a certain style of writer. Should my Cornish Detective series be successful, I doubt that my Ghost or Western stories would be automatically accepted. This is how pen names come about.
Ideally, readers would be able to name you as one their favourite genre or literary authors. But, how many times do they need to see your name and/or the name of your main character before they remember it? Having a catchphrase might help. Mine is: A country copper with a strange mind, a weary heart and quick fists—what could possibly go wrong?
Repetition is the key. If you can afford paid advertising, then great, but simply mentioning your story at appropriate moments should help to spread awareness. On my writing blog, I occasionally allude to my crime novels, not being too heavy-handed, just enough to show that I’ve got skin in the game.
It takes multiple exposures to a product before it registers in a consumer’s mind. The Rule of 7 applies. Anything you post online should be linked to other content. Make it a habit and it won’t feel boastful.
His prediction struck me as wise in an Ozymandias way:
But, it neatly deflected attention from criticism that Amazon was expanding too fast and needed to be more tightly regulated owing to their absurd power over markets—it’s reckoned that 48% of all online sales in the USA in 2019 will be from Amazon.
If you’re crushing the opposition as a business, there may well be bargains for buyers, but there are detrimental knock-on effects. In Cornwall, where I live, I know of many high streets that are plagued with empty shop units, owing to a huge supermarket being built on the edge of town.
Amazon, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for plagiarism and promoting extreme, offensive and illegal viewpoints. Attempting to police what’s uploaded to their sites is difficult. The Plagiarism Today article mentions a figure of 3,000 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every hour. Who’s going to watch such vast amounts of footage on social media sites to decide if it contravenes regulations?
The answer is low-paid workers who wind up with PTSD:
Such hideousness makes any concerns I have pale into insignificance, but as writers, we should still be watchful.
Really, there’s not a lot we can do to prevent someone ripping us off by plagiarising our books, certainly if it happens in a foreign language. I’ve previously mentioned how an author acquaintance was told by friends travelling in India and China that her MG stories had been counterfeited. One of her friends had designed the book covers, which she noticed on a market stall, the heads changed to have Asian features. They were also available on Amazon.
Although I’ve had profiles on most social media sites for a long time, I’m currently delving into the intricacies of how they work. Facebook bewilders me in many ways, for it operates in a slow and obstructive way, yet as a parasite trading on the insecurities of users who post content for free adding to Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth it’s a brilliant con trick—as well as being an intelligence agency that rivals the FBI, CIA and MI5.
I’m also in the process of building a business page on Facebook for my crime novels, which I’ve put in maintenance mode, so it’s not searchable. This state is agitating Facebook, who keep on reminding me to make it go live, as well as pushing me to buy ad space. It’s fun baiting them!
Whatever you do on social media, don’t overshare. A friend was burgled last year, after revealing she was going away for two weeks holiday. She’d previously posted many photos showing her house, its windows, its door locks, no nearby neighbours and no burglar alarm. She had contents insurance, but her insurers checked her Facebook presence and only offered a partial payout.
How much do you use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon?
Has it been to your benefit as a person and as a writer?