Authors and social media – lessons from the NW Bookfest

On Saturday I mentioned that the main thing I learned at the NW Bookfest was how an author properly sets up her table for a book signing event.  I am going to amend that statement today.

Over the course of a couple hours at the exposition, I spoke with dozens of authors and picked up 30 or so business cards, bookmarks, postcards, and flyers.  My intent was to contact each of these authors separately to reinforce the connection we made, and I wanted to do this through social media.  I didn’t want to simply send an email, as it’s in my best interest to post a message to an author where other people have an opportunity to notice it.  Completely self-serving, I know, but that’s advertising.  I am trying to sell books, after all.

As I sipped my coffee this morning, wishing I hadn’t had quite so many samplers at the Oregon Brewfest, I began the process of going through the pile of cards to send my messages.  Of the 30 cards I collected, only four had any proper contact information for social media.  That’s only 13%.  Some cards gave me a website that hadn’t been updated since the day it was created, and the contact information was nonexistent.  The vast majority of cards had no contact information, simply the name of the author and a picture of the book.  Awful.  I recognize this and I’m certainly no social media expert.  I want to learn more about someone before I spend money on her books.

I tried Googling the names of the authors to find a Twitter or Facebook account I could message and most didn’t have any social media!  Three had Goodreads accounts but had the contact and ‘add friend’ buttons disabled.  In total, I was able to contact seven of the people I met before I got annoyed and stopped trying.  Why don’t these people want to make it easy to interact with fans and sell more books?

So that’s the main lesson from my first bookfest – the majority of authors have not put in any effort to reach the millions of people that they will never meet face to face at a book event.

I will give a special shout out to Brad Branham, one of the more colorful people I met.  His business card lists six ways to get in touch with him by social media.  Great card, Brad.

 

While my cards only list three ways to contact me, they are valid links that are checked daily, and each link provides multiple other links.  I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Path, reddit, Goodreads, Authonomy, and still more, plus a website that is updated every few days.  Each link gets a post frequently, with the hopes of just one new person taking an interest in my book.  In the few weeks since my book was published I’ve added over 400 new Twitter followers alone.  This is not saying that all these people purchased my book, but it greatly increases my chances for someone to take interest.

 

Authors, get with it!  You’re missing out on so many readers by making it too hard for them to find you!  I am offering my consulting services if you would like to get started with a basic social media package.  Contact me for details, it will be an affordable service to set you up on multiple sites and teach you how to update regularly, in just a few minutes each day.  It will pay for itself almost immediately.  In this day of massive internet use, there’s no reason why you should not be taking advantage of every available resource.

 

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