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!
QUESTION: In what ways has social media been most effective in furthering your writing career?
I love visiting Nathan’s blog whenever I need encouragement, ideas, etc. And I agree with his statement that social media is a great way to meet and connect with people. I’ve been amazed at the levels of connections that get made through an outlet like Twitter … Some folks may way these connections to lead directly to an opportunity, but for me it’s also a great deal about the encouragement and inspiration they can afford. I’ve been fortunate to connect with some other poets who go through the same things as I do, and are still doing great things … It inspires and reminds me that no matter how bumpy the road, I’m not the first one walking it!
Great comment, Khara; we couldn’t agree more that social media is a great way to connect with other writers! Not only is social media an exceptional outlet for advertising your writing, but it’s the perfect way to converse with your fellow authors and share the tricks of the trade.
I enjoyed this site and enjoyed especially the ideas of a writer.
I was given the advice to do social media before my book was ready. Great advice for me. Like Khara, I’ve been able to connect with other authors. I’ve found not only strength in community, but immense knowledge. An often overlooked bonus to social media is how great a research tool it can be. My author blog is about me dealing with newbie writer issues as a writer discovering my niche and my themes. The people who stop by and comment give me so much feedback that I feel as if I’ve had beta readers every step of the way. How can you even begin to measure how important that is?
I agree with Nathan, social networking is very important. His article
is very inspiring and informative at the same time. I will use those
techniques which he spoke about in his article and start communicating
more. It makes sense to gain valubale information from others
who are going through the same things that I might be confronted with.
I would like to say “Thank You Nathan” for being so kind to share this