In a panel at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Author Revolution conference in New York today, Grub Street founder Eve Bridburg and journalist Porter Anderson discussed how authors can get involved in the promotion of their work and the best way to approach the overwhelming number of social media channels around. “Tactics don’t make any sense in the absence of strategy,” said Bridburg. Here is some advise that we gleaned from the panel.
1. Create a mission bigger than the one book you are working on.“Success is bigger than sales,” said Bridburg. “Make success bigger than the narrow idea of book sales.” Look at measuring your success in things beyond book sales. Ask yourself these questions: Does it give you energy? Does it give you joy? Do you learn new skills? Does it bring other work?
2. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and use this to your advantage. Think about how much money and hours you can spend on the various efforts required to promote your book. Ask yourself these questions: Can you hire help? What is authentic to you? What gives you joy? “It is ok never be a tweeter,” says Bridburg. “You need to find the things that you connect with.”
3. Build or join a community of other writers. Work with people who will be honest with you about your work and you theirs to make for stronger writing. “As gatekeeping becomes less powerful, it is up to the community of authors to keep each other really good, and to make sure that the writing is really excellent,” advised Bridburg. Anderson added, “With this freedom comes a lot of responsibility and a lot of homework.”
4. Be purposeful and authentic. You only have so much time and resources, so be smart about how you use your time. Set out your objectives and make sure that they align with your goals as a writer and as a person.
5. Don’t let the tactics lead. Having social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are just tools to allow you to communicate with readers. Make sure that you use these tools as part of your overall strategy.