Authors, learn how to use today's arsenal of social networking sites to your advantage. Marketing agent Jennifer Slattery, who works at the popular literary website Clash of the Titles, shares her tips on how to get recognized online by making the most of things that you’re already doing!

Today’s market is in upheaval. As the market changes, so does the writer’s role in it. Long gone are the days of high-paid publicists devoted to you and your book. Successful authors must generate their own sales, and social networking sites make it easier than ever.

Facebook is by far the best marketing tool available. According to recent statistics, Facebook has over 500 million active users who spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site. Authors should begin building their friends list well before their first contract, actively increasing it each day. The first step is to create a personal username. This generates a convenient URL that can be used to link to your Facebook page. For example, mine is http://facebook.com/JenSlatte. When creating your email signature, include an invitation to connect on Facebook, then use your personal Facebook URL to link your invitation to your Facebook page. Do the same in the “About Me” page of your blog or website.

Feed your blog or website into your social networking sites. According to Novel Journey Editor, Ane Muligan, almost twenty-five percent of their web-traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter users. That equals well over 7,500 viewers per month. Patty Wysong from The Barn Door Book Loft says fifty percent of their readers come from Facebook.

I follow innumerable blogs and websites, but I tend to read the ones that pop up on Facebook most. Occasionally I’ll follow a Twitter link. Those with catchy titles or quirky excerpts draw me first. If the content is exceptionally good, I’ll Facebook share it or retweet it. Wordpress and Blogger offer free Facebook and Twitter share icons through their wedges application. Webmasters can be hired to add these features to private sites.

“Like” and participate in community pages and create your own fan page. Our literary website, Clash of the Titles, frequently uses our fan page to draw potential readers to our site and encourage reader-driven word of mouth. Authors in turn “like” our page to increase their visibility and connect with other authors. This creates an interlinking web of URL sharing. You can also post relevant articles and interviews on various community pages. For example, when Shannon Taylor Vannatter, author of the White Rose Trilogy, competed on our site, she posted links to five different community pages and reached nearly 20,000 viewers.

Occasionally mention your novel, characters, or writing process in your status update. Start generating a buzz before your book goes to print. Solicit interviews from Facebook friends, then share their links on your page. Look for relevant conversations. For example, if you happen upon a status update talking about a hiking experience and you have a hiking scene in your novel, join the conversation and use the opportunity to point back to your book.

The possibilities are endless. As E-books sales continue to rise, a strong internet presence is imperative. Think outside the box and never underestimate the power of a short status update or tweet.

- Jennifer Slattery

Looking for more advice for authors? Check out best-selling author Shiloh Walker's bi-weekly column on the RT website. You can read the most recent Writes & Wrongs here >>

Tags: Aspiring Authors, RT Daily Blog
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