Dear YA Writer,
In the previous blogisode, the YA Writer stumbled upon a gritty secret. A secret that revealed the often un-used marketing processor installed in every bonding animal who hawks bookish wares inside the All Powerful Cybersphere.
Now the YA Writer is forced to make a choice that may alter their impressions, clicks, and engagement foreverrrrrrr…
<<dramatically clears throat>>
We are gathered here today to witness the exchange between this author to this reader in meme-y internetrimony. Author, do you take this social media thing-a-ma-gig seriously? Do you solemnly swear to post interactive content and reply to comments until defective accounts do you part?
Before you shout, “I object!” … THIS is what I believe most authors hear when told to engage their readers online. I’ve talked to hundreds of authors face-to-face on this subject. The reaction is typical––dear-in-headlights look, nervous laughter, shifting on their sudden cold feet.
Yeah, I know … commitment is a scary idea for many. Perhaps even a monstrous call-to-action for us please-dear-cat-gods-of-the-interwebs-don’t-make-me-small-talk introverts. Some view social media as a black vortex that will suck away their humanity until their cyber-Gollum alter ego hisses, “My preciousssss…,” whenever a notification chimes.
Do not despair, fair YA Writer. Even if socializing with strangers is nothing but rainbows, unicorns, and kittens for you, I have encouraging news.
You don’t have to love it, therefore you don’t have to marry it.
You don’t even have to put a ring on it.
But you do have to care. Because sharing is caring.
Literally. What you share on your social media accounts reflects what you care about.
So, what do you care about? Beyond book sales, that is. Dig deeper. Think broader. Embrace this exercise as a way to tone and sculpt your creative marketing muscles.
Bring to mind a writer or celebrity you enjoy following on any social media platform. Then ask yourself, why? Why do you enjoy following them so much? Is it because they talk incessantly about buying the book you’ve already read and own? Doubt it. Maybe it’s their keeping-things-strictly-business posts that only announce events and new releases? <<yawns>> Yeah, didn’t think so.
Every once in a while? Sure. But if that’s all you share? #DontCare
Make me care. Make them care. You know, your followers. The ones who clicked you into their newsfeed existence. Rise up and say, “My people!” and lead them into a conversation. Actual YA-aged readers long for this. It’s psychologically built into an adolescent and twenty-something to search for and declare “their tribe.” Give your audience, regardless of age or genre preference, a sense of belonging. You found me. You belong here. Welcome. Let’s discuss all the things! Let’s discuss YOU.
The YA reading crowd is passionate. Intelligent. Lively. Transparent. Witty. And always on the hunt for immersive communities. They also care deeply about the characters and worlds you’ve created. They also care about the word magician behind the curtain who cast a spell over their imagination.
True confession: I’m legit socially awkward. No, really. Small talk is my arch nemesis. I have a terrible habit of nervously laughing at just about everything. And if I’m not nervously laughing, I’m nervously rambling. Even when I recognize the social cue that I need to stop talking, I CAN’T STOP TALKING [-_-]
If you’re socially awkward like me, take heart! The best form of caring is sharing the spotlight with another. Just remember, talk with people and not at them. Here are ideas on how:
- I just finished reading [title] by [author name] and [gush about book]. Not sure what I should read next. What are YOU reading right now? I’ll add your answers to my TBR list on Goodreads.
- So full. Just enjoyed [food]. Aaahhh, happiness. What’s your favorite comfort food? Bonus points for posting a recipe link!
- Let’s play a game! [You can use a meme-ready prompt like, “What’s your Hobbit Name?” Or, you can provide your own prompt like, “Using only a meme or GIF, share your favorite female superhero.” Search through Pinterest or various fandom sites on your fave social media for more examples.]
- [Share an image related to characters or worldbuilding in your book with a quote from said story. You can leave it as is for people to like, comment, and re-post. Or, you can end with a question.] “Is this how you imagined them?” “What would you do in this situation?” “Do you think [character] made the right choice?”
Examples are endless! The point is to start conversations. People will begin interacting with each other’s comments, or tag their friends to participate, too. #SharingIsCaring
First, the cautionary tale: Please, for the love of emoji reaction buttons, REPLY. If a friend invited you into a face-to-face discussion but ignored you, how would you feel? Right. That’s how your followers would feel, too. This isn’t a contest to see who has amused you the most. Don’t––I repeat––don’t ignore your followers when they’re taking time out of their busy lives to participate with your conversation prompt. A simple acknowledgement is all that’s needed with a blue thumbs up or a heart-like. Go the extra mile and interact further if you like. Make the reward centers in your follower’s brains light up wildly.
OMG, she spoke with me!
He thinks my recipe for pickled shark chops in a beet reduction sauce sounds yummy!
The more you engage, the more your followers will engage, too.
Socializing. It’s a thing.
A thing you need to make time for, like in real life.
Caring fosters loyalty. And that, folks, is the end goal. All customers for you are short-term. They read your book. They move on. But with a community to keep them company, they’ll stick around until you release your next title. The best launches are built from established reader pre-orders who are in-the-know because they stuck around on your social media to find out. *wink, wink*
So how often should you post? Totally up to you and your followers. Honestly, I post 1-3 times a week on my author social media accounts, save Twitter. When not posting, I make time to participate in other accounts I follow. It’s a give and take, right?
If you don’t? You might discover an intervention at your social media doorstep from fellow YA Writers 😉 But only because we care…
A note from Chanticleer:
Many thanks to Jesikah Sundin for sharing her effective and fun social media techniques with us!
Two words could describe Jesikah: books and coffee. She pours a cup of dark roast writer’s ambrosia before approaching her keyboard. And the forest is her happy place.
Jesikah invites you to socialize with her on her website and social media pages (visit her website for direct links).
Jesikah Sundin is the award-winning author of the Biodome Chronicles.
Short Description of Legacy: Book One
Siblings born and raised inside an earth-based experimental Mars biodome have only known a rustic medieval life rich in traditions and chivalry. Groomed by The Code, they have built a sustainable community devoid of Outsider interference––until the unthinkable happens.
Cultures clash when the high technology of the Anime Tech Movement collides with the Middle Ages in a quest for truth, unfolding a story rich in mystery, betrayal and love.