If you’re a published author or you want to become published, you should be aware of your social media presence and how others perceive you. Understand that what you say online stays there forever. Whether it’s on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or another social media site, what you post, even after you delete it, can NOT be removed from the Internet 100%.
Why is that a big deal? Well, if you’re posting potentially alienating material like writing your opinion on politicians, religion, and other hot-button issues, you might regret it once readers pounce on your comments. Sure, you could argue it’s your opinion and you have a right to it. This is true. Whether or not you should share that opinion publically, especially if it’s a strong one, remains to be seen.
Take politics for example. Last night, tons of people watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And, unfortunately, many people also posted their very strong opinions about this debate. Why is this an issue? Because these opinions are alienating. If you are trying to build your brand and your readership, which you should be doing if you’re published or want to be, you could be insulting some of your followers who might believe the opposite of what you believe.
I’m not saying most people decide they won’t buy your books if you don’t share the same beliefs as them, but if you really clash with their beliefs, they might find it difficult to follow you on social media. Why is this a big deal? Because social media is a great way for you to stay in a reader’s mind. Not everyone can publish a book every few months. If it takes a year or longer before your next book is released, it’s easy for readers to forget to watch for it. However, if you’re on social media, you can announce to the world that your new release is coming up. I’m not telling you to spam people’s Twitter or Facebook feeds. And please DON’T send private messages to your followers unless you actually KNOW them. That’s spam too. But my point is that social media can be a wonderful marketing tool if used properly. Don’t alienate followers. You need them.
The same goes for publically bashing other people, especially those in this industry. Most of us have heard about the guy who tore apart an agent who didn’t live up to his expectations when he met her at a conference. This same guy also posts EVERY REJECTION he receives on his blog. Why would someone do this? Maybe he thinks he’s cool or funny. Nope. Not even close. Instead, he got a good dose of Karma when other writers and industry professionals put him in his place. This is a small industry. Don’t think something like this won’t affect your career. It will. Agents have already posted that they’ve blacklisted him. Can he recover? Yes, but it’ll mean changing his name and e-mail address if he wants to get through their spam filters.
I also often see authors criticizing other authors (or their books), and authors attacking reviewers for posting bad reviews. Granted, there are trolls out there who target authors and post bad reviews. I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to authors who don’t have a thick skin and let bad reviews get to them. Readers, other authors, reviewers, and industry professionals see your negative behavior if you post something nasty on social media.
So, if you have a career in publishing (or you plan to), keep in mind that what you post on social media can and will hurt you if others see your comments in a negative light. Be careful. Be respectful. Be kind. Those are the people others want to follow on social media.
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