Hello Elaina. Thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your lovely blog and write an indulgent few words on something I am particularly passionate about. I must admit I thought long and hard about what I could wax lyrical about and I’ve settled on… social media.
Now I can hear some of you groaning already but love it or loath social media is here to stay and for us authors it now forms a huge part of our marketing and promo experience so I urge you to get to grips with it, embrace it and above all, enjoy it!
Personally, as a relentless chatterbox, I love the online author experience and blog, tweet, post to Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram on a regular basis. The opportunity to engage and network with authors all over the world from the comfort of my sofa is fantastic but even more thrilling is the chance to make that connection with readers!
My debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café, was published this summer and as you can imagine I was jump up and down excited to finally secure that deal, bag myself a world class publisher, stunning book jacket and fizz filled launch party however, exciting as all that was, reading reviews and readers’ comments and experiences has surpassed all expectations.
The thought that my novel is someone’s bedtime read, holiday read, even a welcome distraction on a monotonous journey is an absolute joy and the fact that these fabulous readers are prepared to tell the world about it through the means of social media is even better!
However, even though this is all hugely exciting it is important to remember to play by the rules if you want to make the most of your online presence. No-one is interested in a continual hard sell, the whole ‘buy my book, buy my book!’ frenzy simply drives me and everyone else on the planet to distraction and it doesn’t work to boot.
Of course around publication time you need to be promoting and sharing but what about the person behind the pages? That’s who readers and the world in general is, in my experience, really interested in. Who is the person behind the keys? What makes them tick? Social media gives us the opportunity to form relationships with people we quite probably wouldn’t have any chance of meeting in ‘real life’ so set up that account, share crazy cat pictures, gardening triumphs, craft projects and bake fails and prepare to make friends and have your horizons broadened!
Here are a few handy do’s and don’ts for authors new to social media:
DO - Remember to say ‘hello, how are you?’ when someone new interacts with you
DO – Always say thank you for a comment, retweet or review
DO – Share and Tweet news of fellow authors, cover reveals, 5 star reviews etc
DO – Post images of pets (cats especially) in ridiculous poses
DO NOT – Follow an author or potential new reader and bombard them with dm’s and links
DO NOT – Pitch to a publisher, agent or other via social media. I know, but it does happen!
DO NOT – Continually post about your book – if someone likes you they will probably go and find it
Well I guess that’s it. I hope my few words have encouraged you to make the most of the online author experience. I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Heidi Swain Author Bio
Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.
A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the off bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.
She joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme in 2014 and is now a full member. The manuscript she submitted for critique, The Chery Tree Café, is her debut novel published by Simon and Schuster in July 2015.
She lives in Norfolk with her wonderful husband, son and daughter and a mischievous cat called Storm.
Links Twitter: https://twitter.com/Heidi_Swain
Cupcakes, crafting and love at The Cherry Tree Cafe...
Lizzie Dixon's life feels as though it's fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there's only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.
Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie's sewing skills are just what she needs.
With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago...?
For everyone who loves settling down to watch Great British Bake-Off, the Great British Sewing Bee, or curling up to read Milly Johnson or Jenny Colgan, The Cherry Tree Cafe is a coffee-break treat.