How to win friends and influence people – 10 tips for online authors

online authorsOnline authors: Be selective about the work you put out there. Don’t just give your audience any old crap and hope they’ll be impressed (even if you ARE the greatest writer of all time). A few good stories are better than a hundred drunkenly forged entries.

Don’t be a me-me-ME kind of guy/gal. Most social media is about INTERRACTION. If you’re going out into the big, bad world of Twitter or Facebook or any of the available networks, you are going to have to converse with people. It’s not just about you. You’ll have to demonstrate a hefty level of altruism to get on. That means making REAL friends.

Build your following/fans SLOWLY. Don’t rush to follow or join other people’s networks just for the sake of numbers. Join the right people. Communicate with the right people. Take some time to think about who they are. You’ll have a lot more fun and feel a lot less isolated.

Be nice. Even if someone has a go at you or says something nasty – be nice. It pays in the long run. You are, in effect, on public display. You can always block or ignore bad people. Don’t be too critical of other people’s work in public – try to be supportive and find good things to say. IT PAYS TO BE NICE.

Leave comments (again, good ones) on other people’s sites. Read their stuff properly, don’t just scan it. If you’re not interested in them, how can you expect them to be interested in you? Invite people to do guest blogs on your site, write guest blogs for other sites also. Don’t be afraid to promote their stuff at the expense of your own.

Make your blog as interactive as possible – don’t just talk AT people, get them involved. Raise questions, have competitions, be creative about it. Your comments section (and you should all have one) should be longer than your actual post.

Use something like Google Analytics to check the popularity of your web page. It’s easy to install and lets you monitor how many visitors you have, how long they stay, which pages are popular and where those visitors come from.

Post often and well. If you’re blogging that means at least a couple of entries a week. If you’re tweeting, at least 4 or 5 a day. Keep lists of things to put out there and try not to say anything banal or worthless (e.g., I’m just having a cup of tea or I’m just at the supermarket). Being STATIC will kill your chances of networking effectively.

Be selective on the social networks you use – don’t jump onto every band wagon. Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean you have to use it. It’s useful to settle on two or three areas and develop those, get to know them and build your network before expanding (remember, you only have a limited amount of time in your life to network).

Don’t over-sell. Okay, so you want to get people to buy your book or read your stuff. That doesn’t mean you have to force it down their throats. Subtlety is a virtue (despite what SM experts will tell you). Remember, they can choose to ignore you as well if you start to look like a crazy spammer.

What are your best tips for developing your social network and selling your goods? Let me know in the comments section below.

12 thoughts on “How to win friends and influence people – 10 tips for online authors

  1. Neil Colquhoun May 14, 2010 — 5:23 pm

    Some good tips there, my friend.Cheers

  2. Speaking of spamming, I’ve found that it seems to work to a point. The more I remind people to read my work, the more end up reading it, and vice versa. But some people also get alienated, as you point out. I wonder if there’s some magic amount of repeat tweeting that isn’t too much or too little.

  3. My only other tip would be the words of my Japanese American Sensei (a manga artist) who told me that I needed two things to succeed in life:PATIENCE AND DISCIPLINEPatience to be unsung for a while and the discipline to update frequently and on a schedule (or to finish a 100,000 word novel).

  4. I think you’ve covered it nicely. Good tips – so important to remember to be polite!

  5. I’m patient – pretty much sums me up.Glad your advice is to post on the Blog twice a week.Thanks for the Follower on Twitter. My romance strays onto the dark side – paranormal will do that.

  6. These are all good tips. I think actively participating is one of the most important things. You have to care for real about what the people you support, and not because you want them to care about you, but because if you don’t really support them, what’s the point?

  7. There’s some great tips here! I don’t understand writers who say they don’t have time for twitter because it’s just a sink-hole of time. I’m a very active tweep, and it never interferes with my writing. I just keep it on in the background while I read blogs and email.

  8. Great job. Thanks for the post.

  9. Moses Siregar III May 17, 2010 — 1:46 pm

    Yep, good stuff.

  10. Great advice. I post once a week. I found that asking more of my wonderful readers was a bit taxing for them. Plus, as a writer, I find it difficult to have glittering prose once a week, much less more than that! thanks for the words of wisdom. molly

  11. Great post and sage advice. Like Molly, I pretty much only post to my blog once a week. The nice thing is that if I’m a day or two late in posting, I actually have readers asking me when I’m going to make the next post.Will have the next post up within 24 hours. Drop by!

  12. Living Personification August 31, 2010 — 3:05 pm

    It’s an interesting statement, I think, on the time-honored “writer as sociopathic recluse” archetype. When one thinks about it, the–still–hot debate over “does the Web bring us together, or does it tear us apart?”, is based in attitude and approach. Flaming, dissing, literary rock-throwing? Torn apart. Making nice? Brought together. Sadly, if it wasn’t for some sort of gain, I think Man would ever choose conflict, but enter the relative gains of professionalism into the equation, and you’d have to be pretty nasty to play blogging as Papa Hemingway….

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