The importance of social media and building your brand – Jodi Perry

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By Jodi Perry

Let’s face it, the market is oversaturated at the moment, and writing a good story just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore, even for authors who have been in the game for many years. That’s why getting your work out there, and building your author brand is so imperative, and one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of the game. ♥

I’m fortunate enough to be a Hybrid Author, with my first five books being self-published, and my last 5 traditionally published, through Hachette. I was well immersed in the indie world online before I got my publishing deal. In my opinion, it’s those connections which have helped me most throughout my writing career. Even though I have the backing of one of the best publishing teams in the world, I still work just as hard at promoting my own work, and connecting with my readers online.

Building your social media platform

Do you have social media? I’m talking about a Facebook public profile page, a Facebook readers group, Twitter, Instagram, a Goodreads Author page, an Amazon Author page, and a Bookbub Authors page? If not, you should really look into this. It’s a great way to reach new readers, and a place where they can follow your work, and future releases.

Facebook alone is not enough, with people being reported and locked out of their accounts, or with Facebook hiding posts in an attempt to force you to pay for boosted ads to get them seen, you really need to spread your wings. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You can even link most of these social media sites together, so when you post on one, it can be automatically shared to your other sites.

A website is also paramount. There are cheap and easy alternatives where you can create your own, if having one custom designed isn’t something you can afford. Weebly and Wix are just a few examples. Creating an author newsletter is also a great way to reach your readers. You can send them out monthly, or just around release time if you prefer. Your readers are more likely to read your newsletter if you give them quality over quantity. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being spammed. Doing giveaways can entice your subscribers, or offering one of your books for free. It’s a great way to connect with new and existing readers.

How you present yourself online

My number one tip on social media would be to avoid drama at all costs. Be conscious of the way you present yourself to your followers. Ranting in your posts is not going to help your brand. This is a business, and I’ve seen the damage this can do to an author’s reputation. We all see things that can invoke a reaction from us, but my advice would be not to act on it … simply to keep scrolling. Don’t get involved, and always be professional, readers don’t want to see this behaviour on their feed.

Positivity is better received. Posts about your books, or books in general, maybe even small snippets of your life, and a chance for them to see the real you. It’s not rocket science, but acting out on social media is going to do you more harm than good in the long run. Phone a friend and vent to them if you have to, or write it down and then tear it up … sometimes just getting it out is enough, posting negative things online is never the way to go.

Book signings

If you’re able to attend one, I urge you to do it. The indie community hosts regular signings all over the world. I myself, have been to signings not only in Australia, but in America and the United Kingdom. Sure they can be expensive, especially if you are travelling overseas, but for me, signings aren’t about making money, they’re about the opportunity to network with other authors and bloggers, and connect with your local and international readers. My readership has grown with every signing I’ve attended.

Conversing with your readers

I want to give you my thoughts on communicating with our reader base. You may not agree, but my philosophy is, if someone takes the time to message me, or post something online about my stories … whether it’s their thoughts, or how one of my stories made them feel, it’s only good manners to reply. REPLY, REPLY, REPLY! I can’t stress that enough.

I know how busy an author’s life can get, believe me, I’m not only a full-time writer, I help my husband with his transport company, as well as being a mother and a wife. But a simple thank you is better than no reply at all. It can take a lot of courage for a reader to reach out to you, so you can imagine how they’d feel if they were ignored. I have readers tell me how disheartening it is when this happens to them. Remember, without our readers we are nothing. Be humble, be gracious, be positive, and I truly believe this will make a difference.

Personal assistants

I have nothing against them, but personally I don’t have one. I don’t want anyone commenting or posting on my behalf. For me, being an author is my job, my livelihood, and nobody can represent me better than myself. Yes it can be time consuming, but I’ve found that answering my emails, private messages, and commenting on my own posts has worked well for me. It has allowed me the opportunity to connect with my readers on a personal level. I know they appreciate it.

If having a personal assistant is something you feel you need to lighten the workload, that’s great. I know there is some wonderful assistants out there who work tirelessly promoting their authors. I’ve also seen some aggressive and pushy assistants who may easily offend others. That doesn’t look good for you. Just be mindful of how they act when they are representing you, it’s your reputation on the line.

These practices are what have worked best for me, and some of my author friends.

Jodi Perry lives in Sydney, Australia. Under the name J. L. Perry, her previous four novels have all been #1 bestsellers in ebook: Bastard, Hooker, Jax, and The Boss. Her other titles include My Destiny, My Forever, Damaged and Against All Odds. Nineteen Letters, her tenth title, and debut under the name of Jodi Perry, was published in August through both Hachette Australia, and Sphere in the United Kingdom.


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