This past weekend I spoke at the CanWrite! Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, on the Hot Trends, Hot Markets panel. I wish I'd had more time to talk, and since so many writers came up to me throughout the weekend, saying that they'd liked to have heard more about book promotion, I'm hoping you'll check out my blog. I have lots to say on the hot trend of social networking, so if you're a writer, please keep reading. :)
Please read Part 1 & 2 before proceeding to Part 3.
In Part 2 I discussed book collection or catalog networks like Shelfari. The next category of social networks is "bookseller networks", primarily AmazonConnect for US consumers and readers, and Chapters Community for Canadian consumers and readers.
Anyone, writer or not, can join Amazon.com and have a profile page, but they'll be slightly different with AmazonConnect. AmazonConnect is for authors of books sold on Amazon. Authors must apply by filling out the AmazonConnect request form. So if you're a writer with books available on Amazon.com, the first step is to sign up with AmazonConnect.
What are the benefits of AmazonConnect?
- You will have an author's profile page, plus links to all of your books. Others will see your author page if they look you up or subscribe to Amazon Daily, a collection of recent blog posts from AmazonConnect members.
- You can contact people (friends/readers) privately by sending them a message through their own profile page or you can leave them a comment on their reviews.
- The biggest plus to joining AmazonConnect is that you also receive your own AmazonConnect Blog, a place where you can connect directly to your readers and reviewers on Amazon.com.
You can add Amazon Top Reviewers as friends, plus other reviewers, and more importantly, you can add readers. Simply look at other comparable titles to yours and see who's reviewed them. Then invite those people to be your Amazon friends. Again, try to build genuine relationships first. Learn to be a "people person", and you'll find networking much easier.
Blog about anything and everything related to your books but also to you as a person. People like to know more about you--what you're interested, where you've been, what you're doing other than writing, etc. And if you include writing tips, then aspiring authors will thank you. Your blog is your direct line to potential fans. If you have more than one blog, don't be afraid to cross-post the same article on multiple posts, but be sure to change the title of the blog posts slightly and the first sentence, so that search engines don't ignore these posts.
What are the benefits of Chapters Community?
- You'll have an author's profile page so people will know you're an author.
- You can contact people/friends privately through messages or post a note on their profile page or post comments on their posts, reviews and forum discussions.
- You'll have a blog--although Chapters refers to it as "Posts". Use this just like you would any blog.
As with AmazonConnect, Chapters Community allows you to connect with people who love reading. You can invite friends and should do so every week, discuss books on forums, and write and read reviews.
Even more, Chapters Community allows authors to connect with bookstore staff (Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Smithbooks) from across Canada. And that is invaluable to an author. You'll even have a direct line to Heather Reisman, CEO and founder of Indigo Books & Music (and Chapters), if you add her as a friend. She loves books and enjoys hearing from readers and authors. Again, be genuine, not pushy. Every bookstore contact should be considered a valued friend and partner, not a 'sale'.
The thing to realize about online social networking is that it allows you to virtually meet more people from all over the world. People who love reading. If they aren't your specific target audience, then chances are they know someone who is. They need to be handled with care, just as you would if you met someone in a coffee shop or church and you became friends.
The idea is not to become the pushy car saleman type of "Shameless Promoter", but the author who is passionate about her work and knows that what he or she has written is just right for that person. So get to know your Amazon and Chapters friends. Find out what they like reading, and if you have something similar, mention it in a way that is natural, not forced, not a sales pitch--but genuine.
I've met some wonderful, great people through social networks. People I'd love to visit and meet. Many have purchased my books because they've met me online. Many are curious about what I write and they want to ask questions. Learn to love your readers and they'll tell two friends, and each of them will tell two friends, and so on...
Check back in a few days for more on social networking and how to make it work for you, the author!
Please leave me a comment if this has been helpful to you. :)
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Canadian suspense author