Social Media for eBooks

This is essay number 6 in a series of essays on electronic publishing. Links to the previous essays appear below.

Essay 1
Essay 2
Essay 3
Essay 4
Essay 5

If an author chooses to go the electronic route, it makes sense that the author would lean on social media techniques to get the word out. What types of things can the author do to promote the work?

There are some obvious areas of focus when it comes to social media. Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are the big three.

Twitter is probably the easiest to use. You can send regular commentary about your ebook to people who follow you. If they like what you say, they might retweet to their own followers, spreading your message even further. Like anything, you need some thought behind the marketing tweets lest followers become annoyed and drop you from the follow list. That means tweeting sparingly about your fiction.

When a new work is offered, that’s when twitter traffic is expected. An announcement followed by a few more “Come look at this” tweets separated by a few hours isn’t regarded as too intrusive. But at the same time, you don’t want to saturate your twitter stream to the point people start ignoring you. Last thing you want is to be considered a spammer.

If you have nothing new posted, it doesn’t hurt to send out a reminder every couple of days about the old stuff.

Facebook is a bit trickier to use. For major releases you might consider a fan page, but creating a fan page for your own material does seem to be frowned upon as shameless self-promotion. Your call here. Another option is to use your status line to advertise new material. Applications exist to allow you to crosspost your twitter stream into your facebook status line. If you don’t tweet much, that’s a viable alternative. If you tweet a lot, then you’ll want to use something that allows you to only selectively crosspost the tweets you want to appear in both places. That cuts down on the noise in facebook, where you don’t want the silly things you might say on Twitter to appear.

Blogging is a terrific option to comment on your material at length. There is no need to worry about noise here, because people come to you specifically to read it. They stay until they are finished reading what they decide to read.

To drive traffic to your blog, it is possible to send tweets linking to your new blog post via twitter, and to crosspost the blog entry onto your facebook wall without overwriting your status. Facebook readers will read your entry in Facebook, where the Twitter readers will click through to your website.

Just having a presence online will give you greater name recognition, and spread awareness of your electronic fiction projects. All it takes is a block of time to set it all up, then smaller blocks of time to continue creating content. That, of course, is what I have been doing with this series of essays.

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