My experiment? Yup, you probably already guessed it. Do I get more traffic just by putting up pics of hot, shirtless vampires? Well, I'll let you know the results in a week or so. ;) But that does tie in to what I want to talk about today. Platform building for writers. I know, it's been discussed, but let's summarize what I've learned:
1. Is an online presence helpful to a yet-to-be-published author?
I've heard both sides of the argument, and what I take away is this - and I speak from experience folks! I've been blogging for nearly a year now. If you HATE it. I mean have to force yourself to blog or tweet like taking a spoonful of castor oil. Then you shouldn't invest the time it takes. On the other hand, if you like it (and let's face it, most of us writers do because it's another outlet for our creative side), go for it!! You build contacts, yes. But most importantly you connect with your peers. And you will find that those peers are an invaluable resource of support, friendship, and information. And when that book finally comes out? You have a place to market it. A place that is more likely to be visited by the young audience you may be targeting, and a place you are now comfortable navigating.
2. Which platforms are the most useful?
Well, I have personal experience with the "big three." Those being Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging.
Let's start with FB. I find it a little more difficult to use for marketing myself, though some people love it. I think it's a personal choice, but I'll show you why I prefer Twitter and blogging.
Twitter is not only fun and addictive, it's easy to participate. Especially with free programs like Tweetdeck to help keep you organized and up to date. You don't have to spend forever on there, you just check in say a few times a day or go for an online conference like #kidlitchat, #yalitchat, or #scribechat.
Blogging is a great outlet for your muse as a writer. I've used three major platforms. Blogger (obviously), Wordpress (undead poet's society and Scribechat), and Livejournal (Enchanted Inkpot). They all have ups and downs. Personally, I find Blogger the most user friendly, followed by Wordpress. I also like how blogger keeps me connected with so many other's that use Google.
3. What do I say?
Keep your personal life private. That's my biggest advice. Do I mention my kids occasionally? Yes. But you notice I don't give specific names and locals. Nor do you want to hear it. YOU as my guest want something of value in return for visiting with me. And I want you to say, I like that Lisa Gail Green chick! She's funny, uplifting, a little quirky, and I learn things by talking to her. So aim for those things - whatever you want someone to come away with - and give it to them! On Twitter I tweet links of use, tidbits, and (hopefully) funny anecdotes. I also converse with friends, and offer/receive encouragement.
The biggest thing to remember is that you are interacting with real people who are in much the same boat you are. Yes we want to hear about good news and share in disappointments with you, but overall, this is a give and take. Comment on others blogs! I love hearing from you!! I really mean that. I answer just about every time. And I try to reciprocate by going to your blog as well. I love the people I've met here! I enjoy doing this! And apparently I also enjoy exclamation points!
What did I leave out? Tell me what you find helpful online.