Key Takeaways from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference

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This weekend I had the opportunity to present two sessions at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference; both sessions were focused around how authors can use social media to their advantage. Out of the 400 people in attendance I think I saw two people pull out their laptops and maybe one person tweet. The event was completely opposite from the tech events that I am used to, and it was great. Nobody was taking about Facebook, tech news, or anything else even remotely related to tech or social media in any way. The attendees were comprised of writers, poets, authors, literary agents, screen writers and anyone else that was somehow interested in or involved with writing.

As someone who is very involved with tech and social business, I tend to forget that a large portion of the rest of the world is still so new to all of this. Here were my key points for authors to use social media:

  • Develop a home base for yourself and for your content, typically a blog/website. This is where you create your content and point people to where else you exist online.
  • Use wordpress as your blog/site of choice and make sure that you host it yourself so that you can chose your own domain name and avoid any limitations that you may come across from not hosting the site yourself (such as title tag changes and images).
  • Use other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as extensions of your home base where you can share content and find relevant people/conversations to interact with.
  • Don’t be scared to give away your content. I’ve given away over 1,000 pages of content for free on this. It helps build trust, authority, and your reputation.
  • Work your ass off and make sure to comment and interact with people on other sites, not just your own. It takes time and persistence to get the job done, don’t give up.
  • Bring your readers into your community. Scott Sigler offers contests for readers where he actually mentions some of their names in his books. Bring your reader INTO your book, literally.
  • Focus your website and your time and building yourself as a brand instead of building your book as your brand. You want people to connect with you, then they can connect with your book.
  • Offer incentives for your followers or readers to connect with you online. Start conversations, ask questions, and build a community. You have to interact with your readers.

Overall I had a great time at the conference talking with non-tech folks. It was a bit refreshing. Have any other words of wisdom to add for authors looking to get involved with social media?

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