This month we’re talking to Nathan Bransford, a former lit agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and currently the social media manager at CNET. Nathan’s got some invaluable advice for authors when it comes to using social media to your advantage. An active blogger, Nathan understands firsthand the importance of networking, and he’s happy to share his expertise with all of you.
Enjoy the interview!
Before you published your Jacob Wonderbar books, you worked as a literary agent and blogger. Did having a strong online presence help your books succeed?
Definitely. I’m not sure that an Internet presence alone can make a book a success, but it certainly helps get the word out and gives the books a boost.
If a writer could only choose one social network for promotion, which one would you recommend?
Whichever one that writer enjoys the most. It’s far more important that the writer enjoys what he/she is doing and has an authentic presence, which is going to work best if the writer picks the social network he/she likes the most.
What are the top three most important elements of a good author website?
1. Some way of contacting the author. Opportunity can’t knock if it can’t find you.
2. Easy-to-find info about the author’s books with links to buy them.
3. Something that changes. It will keep people coming back.
What’s your social networking pet peeve that you see from authors?
People who think of it solely as a way to get out news about their books and their positive reviews and retweets about their books and them them them them. If you’re only using social media to promote your book, you’re doing it wrong.
What mistakes do you think authors make when they start to build a Web presence?
I think the biggest mistake is that people often feel like they have to do everything. They have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, they have to get their blog updated and they have to build a pristine, expensive website, and, oh yeah, they have to write books too. The thing is, everyone only has so much time in the day, and you don’t have to do everything. It’s better to pick your spots, enjoy what you’re doing, and not feel like you have to do everything you can possibly do online.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell writers about how to benefit from having an online presence?
The most important thing about being online for me is that it’s a fantastic way to meet people and make new friends. Some of my best (real-life) friendships were started through the blogosphere and social media. You can find fellow writers who are going through the same ups and downs as you and can make friends and form communities. Have fun with it!