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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tips and Tricks

of a moderately prolific writer.

Social Networks

by Ann Lethbridge

We are always hearing that a new social network is the place to be. How can a writer who want to produce lots of books keep up with all that? And do you need to?

But can you afford not to?

It is a conundrum. An author wants to do her bit to promote her books.

And it is not just the social sites like facebook, myspace, goodreads, etc., there are your publisher sites, like E-harlequin, Mills and Boon Community, Casablanca Authors, and oh my goodness they have social sites on facebook etc too. And if you are like me and you write under more than one name, you can times all of them by two.

After scrambling madly for a while to be in all places at once, I decided that it is readers who I want to contact, and my websites are the key. I know they find me there, because those websites appear on every site and they send me letters through the site email.

But how to cover off everything else. Will I be missing people if I don't facebook etc? An important part of my website is the link to my blog, http://www.regencyramble.blogspot.com. This is where my alta egos come together as one. This is where I update information weekly, where as the websites are say once a month. And bliss.... I can link my blog (via an RSS feed) to most social sites including twitter. It may seem like cheating, but anything anyone wants to know about me as a writer goes on my blog. If readers find me in both places, they are quickly going to decide where they prefer to meet me. "Do it once" is my new motto. Since the social sites connect to my email, if anyone comments, I can quickly go and respond right away. And if I want to see what other people are doing, then I can visit those sites at my leisure.

I do visit the forums on my publishers' website too, once a week, or more, if something special is going on, but I have time, because I have all the other sites pretty well covered.

Do those sites bring in new readers? I have no idea. The jury is still out. But this is one way you can keep your toe in the water without drowning and keep the words flowing onto the page.

I hope you find something here that helps you and feel feel to friend me at your favourite social site.

Oh, and the picture above? My next book coming out with Harlequin on May 1. Wicked Rake, Defiant Mistress by Ann Lethbridge.


Susan Macatee said...

Great cover, Ann!

I'm in the dilemma of being published by a small e-book publisher, trying to get my name out to as many places as I can to hopefully pull in readers.

Have to limit myself, though, or I won't have any time to actually write. LOL.

Ann Lethbridge said...

Susan, It really is a fine line between how much is too much and what is not enough, isn't it.

Kathryn Albright said...

Beautiful cover, Ann!

I like the way Bilbo said it (Tolkien) when he was trying to finish his book There and Back Again and he was pulled in so many directions "like butter spread across too much bread..." How true it is! And all the social sites take so much time away from the actual writing.

Thanks for your take on how you handle this particular challenge!

Sally said...

Social networking is a new medium for an old necessity; marketing. I find that many sites I keep up with include many authors, some publishers and some agents but how to discern the readers? So many visit without leaving footprints how can we be sure what we're putting out is bringing in interest for readers?

I'd be interested in how others gauge reader interest beyond just site visitation.

Anonymous said...

Ann: you have just touched on the dilemma of the age. I find I more and more resent the time I give to the internet and social sites. It's time taken away from what I would rather be doing. I just signed a contract with a small press for my first book so this is a timely post for me.

Kim Swiderski said...

Hi Ann,love the blog.

I've been working in the social networks closely with Harlequin and can say that being out there where people can find you will help in sales of your book. It really does tempt the reader into trying your latest book. But more importantly, it can also cath the interest of new readers. So much of our lives are now spent online, it demands that authors trying to gain new fans must be there to be found.

Persoanlly as a reader, I love getting to know the author and their background. Social Networks let me get a glimpse of all the hard work that goes into each of their books. It helps make the author a real person and allows me to "see" them in their books.

Scott Eagan said...


You are so on the money with this one. Too often, I think writers spend more time on the "social media" side of things and less on improving the quality of their books. In the end, the result is seen in their writing.

Your picking and choosing where you market and where you don't has been very wise. The comment that you want to connect with the readers is right on the money.

Way to go Ann. Great post.