Sci-Fi Social Media

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On Mondays I usually talk about writing, but…well…today I’m not. Today I’m going to share what I learned this weekend about social media.

[insert raucous applause here]

If you haven’t gathered yet from my recent posts, I attended the Phoenix Comicon. One of the panel sessions I attended was called “Sci-Fi Social Media”. The blurb in the program read:

Is your favorite author a Facebook friend? We look at how Sci-Fi notables are using social media tools — Twitter, podcasting, blogging, Facebook, Myspace, etc. — to build fan connections and communities around themselves and their works. Panelists: Jack Mangan, Michael Stackpole, John Scalzi, Aprilynne Pike, Leanna Renee Hieber, Sam Sykes.

Only good things could come from such a lineup, right?

Here are the bits of wisdom each author shared on all things social media. Hope you find them as useful as I did.

Jack Mangan

  • Use social media to make connections, not just promote
  • Be professional
  • Don’t feed the trolls
  • If you don’t want to share the names of your kids for safety reasons, make up online names for them
  • Buy a domain name for every book you write

Michael Stackpole

  • Sampling your work online is vital
  • Don’t be the depressingly honest author, sharing all your rejections and hardships; the audience wants to hear the romantic side of being a writer
  • If you read like a loser on your blog, you’re going to make your readers feel like losers for reading your blog
  • The only time to respond to critics is if a reviewer projects your thoughts (e.g., “this is what the author meant”); you can respond to set the record straight
  • If you respond to criticism, write your response and have it reviewed by someone else before posting; then remain professional and detached
  • Own what you do; know the trouble you might cause and what your response will be
  • If you’re concerned about privacy, set up separate personal and fan pages at Facebook
  • Ask others to help promote what you’re doing on your site
  • Have your own website and blog there
  • Get store software to sell your work
  • If someone plagiarises your work , contact the ISP hosting the site and have them deal with the infraction of their policies

Aprilynne Pike

  • If you obsess about the number of followers or friends you have on Twitter and Facebook, control is not in your hands
  • Set boundaries
  • You can’t do everything and do it well; choose which social media outlets you want to focus on and don’t worry about the others
  • Social media can be a time suck; decide how much time you’ll devote to it, how much you’ll interact, how many people you’ll follow

John Scalzi

  • Don’t have that desperate freaky new-author smell online (Buy my book! Buy my book!) or be self-congratulatory; instead, include information that is not related to books to make your audience feel comfortable; this leads to hand selling
  • Set boundaries
  • Be personable, but not personal; leave out the intimate details
  • If you talk about someone else on your blog, get their permission first
  • If you do something wrong, just say you were wrong and apologize
  • “Don’t fling poo at the monkeys, they’re better at it”
  • You’re not responsible for the fantasy version of you that lives in the reader’s head
  • Write the fictionalized/idealized version of your life
  • Make it clear there is zero tolerance for trolls on your site; set yourself up as the grownup
  • It takes years to build a following
  • Do the thing you’re comfortable with, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc.; there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable blog
  • When you use social media, have fun and be smart about it

Leanna Renee Hieber

  • Contact book blogging communities and ask them to review your book
  • Karma in all things: don’t spew your vitriol into the world; don’t respond to bad reviews
  • Set boundaries for what you’ll share as well as what you’ll take in
  • Just starting out, you’re building a following; don’t gets caught up in the numbers

Sam Sykes

  • In today’s market, debut authors must have an internet presence
  • The best reason not to respond to reviews is the readers read your response as well
  • Be genuine; if you’re not genuine, the real you will come out eventually
  • Satisfied readers are quiet; if people are angry with you, they’ll tell you
  • Don’t be intimidated; if you have something to say, say it

The  panelists agreed on Michael Stackpole’s final piece of advice:

When using social media, be passionate and be sincere.

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4 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Social Media

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shannon Morgan, Amy K. Nichols. Amy K. Nichols said: Read what @scalzi @leannarenee @samsykesswears @AprilynnePike @jackmangan @MikeStackpole shared on Social Media http://wp.me/pBmxU-i4 #phxcc […]

    van persie said:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:11 am

    awesome

    Mercedes said:
    September 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Great post! I like how “set boundaries” was mentioned more than once. Did they mean privacy boundaries or set boundaries with your time? Either way, fantastic advice.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      September 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Mercedes. I recall the boundaries comments applying to both how much time you spend on social networking, and also how much personal information you put on networking sites. Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

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