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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Social Networking. The Dos, The Don'ts, and the Huh?s - J M Kelley

Ah, social networking. The key. The golden ticket. Open a Twitter account, shoot out your book’s purchase links, and sit back and watch the money roll in.



Don’t misinterpret me. I think social networking plays a huge role in getting the word out about your writing. If you figure out the fine balance between promotion and spamming, you’ve got it made in the shade.

But it’s not just about sharing purchase links. The online world offers so much more to enrich your experience as a writer. You can connect with your favorite authors, and even have legitimate dialogue with the ones who enjoy interacting with their fan base.

My favorite moment came when I took part in a “twitterview” and not only managed to have people chiming in, but someone bought my book mid-event. Sometimes, I find a plea for purchase tinged with the right amount of snark yields a random book sale. Personal interaction is always key.

Social media, it is a wonderful thing. But there are a lot of hitches I never considered. And a lot of hurdles I can’t always figure out how to clear.

See, the online world has a good side and a bad side. You have so much at your fingertips. You can link. You can blog. You can tweet. You can have a Facebook fan page, your own website. You can wear the letters off your homerow keys with all the ways an author can network online.

But how the heck do you get anybody to listen to you?

Ah, there’s the rub. Talking to the virtual brick wall. Believe me, some days I feel like that’s all I do.

There are so many authors online. It’s great. You can network with thousands of people who feel the same as you about writing and reading. You talk shop. Commiserate about writer’s block. Cheer along as someone makes fantastic progress on their manuscript. Cross your fingers as someone else sends a full manuscript to an agent for review.

It’s a giant online crew of people in the exact same boat you’re in. You love it. You want to hug all the authors surrounding you.

But then a nagging question starts to form: Am I marketing to other marketing authors and that’s it?

And then the next nagging question bullies the first one out of position: How the heck am I supposed to do this and keep my day job?

Sometimes, the despair sets in. I’m a blue collar girl living in an easy-access-to-the-internet world. I don’t have a desk. I don’t have a work computer. I don’t have a system for getting around my duties and getting online during the day. So how do I find a way to get readers to hear me when I can’t always be around to do the self-promotion?

I love social media. But how do I get it to love me ? The question I pose, kind readers, is this: How do you make the internet work for you ? What are the pros and cons you’ve discovered about the fine art of social networking?

J.M. Kelley

J.M. Kelley's debut novel, Drew in Blue , is a contemporary romance available from Lazy Day Publishing. Drew in Blue was nominated for Best Contemporary of 2010 by The Romance Reviews, and is a TRR and Night Owl Reviews Top Pick. Drew is available for download from Amazon, B&N, All Romance, and OmniLit. J.M.'s dabbles next in the paranormal realm with her short erotic romance, Laws of Attraction , included in the Lazy Day Publishing anthology, Indulgence , available on Amazon on October 19th. For information and news, please visit


  1. Ah, there's the rub. Not only do we need to spend time writing, we need to learn the fine art of wading through the dross at Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. We need to take time to be witty, engaging and involved in the moment to moment occurrences of our peers. Oh yeah... when do we find time to write? Using social media can be wonderful, but it is such a challenge to find that balance. :P

  2. Writing? Oh yes, writing! I'd forgotten what that is.

    Good point about the wit, Toni. Sometimes, I miss the days when I could just announce on Facebook that I was angry with the world and would bite anybody who came near me. Virtual crankiness doesn't pay for an author.

  3. It's a hard balancing act for sure. I'm still struggling with it. For me, i just love to interact w/my fans, answer questions..Promo, even though i do it is hard for me (still learning about it) I wish there were a magic promo button. LOL!

  4. Shelly, your lips, god's ears.

    I think we all struggle to some extent. You don't want to behave like a spam-bot. But when your Amazon rank starts to look like a patient flatlining in the e.r., you start to worry.

    Interaction is definitely key, though.

    Now, right after that magic promo button, I need to find a personality....

  5. This is a really great post. Thanks for taking the time to be a guest blogging JM Kelley.

    If theres one piece of advice I could give it would be to make sure you promote your social networks.

    Put your social networks links into your email signature (if your really tech savvy you can embed the links into hmtl coded images)

    Use the cross platform apps for the social networks. So twitter and facebook badges etc.

    Let people know about where they can find you!

  6. Great suggestion, Erin! And thanks for having me on the blog!

  7. Great post. I find it all overwhelming at times but the best thing I've done is make schedules and stick to them, and let myself have off days, where I don't turn the computer on at all - easy for me, cos I draft longhand. But even those that don't need days to recharge the batteries!

  8. I find it overwhelming almost always, Deniz, lol. But I do think my experiences after Drew in Blue was released will help me figure out better tactics once I find a home for my second novel. I'll definitely approach the social networking aspect with a clearer battle plan in mind.


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