I’ve wandered hither and yon on this blog, but in future there will be two categories: Life and On Writing. This one spans both, and was inspired by my decision in December to re-do the website, freshen it up and make it more reader-oriented. I also came across this blog post by Kathryn Craft that had five great ideas. When I asked my readers who follow me on FB what they want from an author, they said this:
I started blogging and social media in 2010, bumbling along as we all do trying to get a focus, a social media presence that felt “authentic” to my “brand” (whatever the heck that was) and discover what was my blog was about by experimentation.
Over time, things got clearer. Readers who found and followed me on social media responded most enthusiastically to these five things:
1) INSPIRATION. Uplifting quotes, humor, and beautiful photos of Hawaii became a focus of my social media presence on G+ and FB.
2) INSIGHT: Readers want to know the insights on character development, where you get your ideas, tidbits about your book research, snippets of dialogue and what might have inspired events in the books.
3) INSIDE SCOOPS: Readers want news updates. They want to know what’s happening with that title they’re hanging on for. They want to be informed on progress, sales, and how they can help get the word out.
4) INTERACTION: Readers LOVE being asked for input about story ideas, names of characters, what foods should be included in the books. They like to weigh in on issues and to know their input matters. My readers are SO AWESOME this way. They never fail to come up with something when I ask for advice, help, or ideas. In fact, the next crime being dealt with in the 7th Lei Crime book, Dark Lava, is the direct result of me asking my readers what Hawaii crime they wanted me to write about. They were NOT shy in responding, and there were great ideas from conservation to chem trails, one of which I chose for the next book.
5) SWAG: Readers love giveaways, signed books, secret looks at new material, contests, even little treats like photos and recipes. I’m doing more of this through a new thing I’m developing called the Book Lovers Club. Sound interesting? Sign up and let me share goodies with you!
Every author has their own social media flavor.
I follow some of my favorites on both FB and Twitter: Michael Connelly is really excited about his upcoming crime drama, Bosch, on Amazon. Diana Gabaldon tortures us with sexy quotes from her books and advance previews of the new Starz show Outlander. Sandra Brown throws out funny one-liners about her life as a famous writer, showing us she gets colds and runs her nylons and even has bad hair days, too. Louise Penny updates us with beautiful, soulful, personal snippets of her life as a mystery writer in the frozen north, a world so far from mine I have trouble imagining it. Each of them teaches me a little something as they share—and I hope I do that for my readers, too.
Readers, have I missed anything you want more of? Writers, do you have any additional insights for us?
I love all of your Hawaii pictures on Facebook! I also like the glimpses into your life and your process/methods/whatnot. And I will always ask for additional dog pictures 🙂
Dog pictures! Love them. My dogs are so uncooperative though!
I love following my favourite authors on blogs and FB. It’s great to know what they get up to in their ordinary lives which are usually so very different from the books they write. I also follow Louise Penny, a lovely writer as well. People seem to want transparency so much more these days and it demystifies the image of the elusive author. The quotes and photographs are brilliant, so please keep on doing what you are doing.
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Sally! Aloha
I love the updated website. Still familiar, but improved. Always fascinating for me to follow your moves and your reasonings. Strikes a resonate note with me…always.
Did you log into the secret Book Lovers Club page? Got good stuff in there!
The new web site is lovely, and as always, you’re paving the way for the rest of us with insights like these!
Thanks Holly, you know your feedback means so much!
This, along with your awesome recent post about your self-publishing journey, is so helpful. I’m working on my brand and audience right now too, and it’s so difficult to figure out what readers want from us. So often, writers blog and tweet for other writers–notice that?–which is great, but it’s not going to help us connect with the readers who will love our books.
Thanks for this. I’ll be saving it–it’s great info, Toby.
So glad to get to know you, Holli, you’re the real deal. Keep going!
Terrific information. I am working on a series of videos that will answer questions about Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawaii that I have received from readers. I think it will be a fun interaction between myself and readers.
Great idea, video is something I haven’t explored much but doing more this year with my iPhone as it makes it so easy!
As a rookie novelist, this is very helpful. I think I’m on the right track with my social media, but there is always something new to learn. Thanks for the tips and directing us to others that are doing a great job.
Hi my friend, great to find you here and thanks for the comment!
This is great advice. I’ve written three novels & a memoir. I blog but not often enough. You’ve encouraged me to get more “up close and personal”. Thanks.
Yeah, it’s the transparency thing.. People want to say hi and know they matter!
Mahalo for great books that take me back to Hawaii! I love the Lei series and look forward to your new book tbis summer. your character development is great! I have read the companion books and enjoyed them as well. my DH has rnjoyed hour books as well.
Wonderful, thanks so much for stopping by to tell me that. Any reviews you two could leave are MUCH appreciated! aloha