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Monday, 28 March 2011

Social networking and the self-published author

by Myne Whitman



My first book, A Heart to Mend was published via Authorhouse in December of 2009. Before then, I had started my blog in August and started advance publicity for the book a couple of months later. Setting up an active blog and publishing my book served a double purpose for me; finding out the target audience for my kind of writing and building a platform too. If not for the social networking channels, A Heart to Mend would never have gone viral the way it did. And for that, I will always be grateful for the vehicle that social media provides to a writer and self-published author like me to get my book out there.



It was through the support of bloggers that I did my first blog tour for A Heart to Mend with the attendant publicity. By the end of that blog tour, I was getting requests for interviews and features almost daily. I put up chapter one of the book on a free reading website freado.com and it became a massive hit. It remained in the top 10 for three consecutive months! The publishers of the website did an interview with me and featured it on their front page.

The beauty of social media was that I could remain in my work room with just my laptop and an internet connection, and meet up with these dozens of interviews. As time went on, I continued networking with other writers and self-published authors and I shared what I had learnt, I picked up some good nuggets from them too. I set up a Twitter page and opened up my Facebook profile for use with my pen name. As I became more adept at using the word-of-mouth tools on those two sites, the visibility of A Heart to Mend quadrupled. I learnt how to interconnect these media, how to set up scheduled tweets or how to update Facebook via RSS feeds, etc.



After noting these advantages of using social networking, the challenges has to be pointed out too, and the major one is distraction. For me, Facebook has proved the most addictive. I find that sometimes while updating my pages, I may stray into something else entirely and so on, thereby wasting precious time that could have been put to better use. One day I took a break from writing and as usual, the first point of call was Facebook. The site was down, and I kept refreshing it for almost five minutes before it dawned what I was doing. I laughed at myself, left a message on Twitter about my addiction and went to check some other things. I had to really think that day but it is what it is. Apart from work, Facebook is also the only place I can keep in contact with all my family and most of my friends.



Finally, I think the reason social networking worked so well for me as a writer and publisher is because I am a social person. During the times I am not writing, I enjoy the company of other like-minded people and being able to use the Internet and social networking to connect to more and more people in my writing life is a thing of learning and also of pleasure. At the end of the day, I have to find a way to strike a balance by ensuring that my internet use is mostly purposeful and in a way that is linked to my writing and also setting out a specific time for my writing itself without any distractions. That way, I still get a lot of writing done while remaining in the social circles.




Myne Whitman is the author of newly released Love Rekindled

Ten years ago, Efe Sagay dreams of winning the United States Visa Lottery, until she meets Kevwe Mukoro in University. Kevwe is happy to remain in Nigeria; only he wants Efe by his side. Over time, Efe finds true love with Kevwe, and promises to marry him. Their dreams unravel when Efe wins an American Visa, and fresh violence erupts between their warring ethnic groups. Now, Efe is back in Nigeria, and she knows it’s a matter of time before Kevwe returns to her life. They finally meet again, but renewed desire is no match for bitter memories of heartbreak. Efe wants the traumatic events of the past resolved before she gives in to rekindled love. 




Buy Rekindled Love on Creatspace https://www.createspace.com/3499780 or click Amazon.
Contact and meet Myne Whitman at her website: www.mynewhitman.com
Or drop her a line by email: myne(at)mynewhitman.com


9 comments:

  1. Thanks for such a great post... I'm about to publish a book on kindle for the first time and this has given me some food for thought (as well as much needed confidence!!)
    Best wishes
    Suzy Turner

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  2. Yes, I think some authors believe that once they have written the book that's it! The hardest part is marketing, but the most fun too!

    Good luck with your book on Kindle Suzy. I have better results with that than selling hard copies.

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  3. Yes, I have found Facebook to be a great platform for selling all thats Kindle. Wishing you the very best with your novel Suzy.

    Jacqueline Howett, Author of The Greek Seaman.
    http://jacquelinehowett.blogspot.com

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  4. But how do yu get blog tours?

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  5. Congrats Suzy, and all the best too.

    @Jacqueline, indeed, FB has been a great help.

    Anonymous, for my current blog tour, I'm having people sign up. Thanks for reading.

    @Louise, thanks so much for hosting me.

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  6. I've learned that it takes tons of energy to do all the marketing that's required after a book comes out.

    The book sounds like interesting reading.

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  7. I love social media and know how powerful it can be in the time of a book release. I do sometimes find it difficult to keep up with them all though!

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  8. Intriguing to read Myne's experiences with social networking. Great interview ladies!

    Hugs,

    Rach

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  9. Simply killing some in between class time on Digg and I found your article . Not normally what I desire to read about, but it surely was absolutely worth my time. Thanks.

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