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?