Social Media for Creatives

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How many of you creatives out there have personal/professional
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Tumblr
Pinterest
Blog
Mail Chimp
Youtube
Google Plus
Website
GoodReads/Amazon
Other?

I have almost all of these accounts and I use some of them daily. But I'm no expert. And that's the point. You are probably much more tech savvy than I am. I was the last of my friends to get a computer, email and a cell phone! You don’t have to know what you are doing, or be a tech whiz to promote yourself on social media.   These days, whether you are Independently publishing  or working with a publisher you will need to do a lot of, if not all, the marketing work yourself! But you can do it soulfully. it can help you say something meaningful to the world.

When I asked an independent NY publicist, to help me promote a book, she told me “I'm expensive. You don’t need me. You’re doing what I would do." Which is being online daily. I asked her how writers achieve larger success and she said that the scales tip in mysterious ways. You just have to keep connecting one person at a time. This felt manageable and truer to my nature than thinking I had to somehow do some big, mysterious extroverted thing in order to reach my readers. Take a personal approach. Find your people one by one and communicate one-on-one as much as possible. Build a community. Try to  learn and understand about others. Send a message to world.

Recently I asked my friend Liz Dubelman founder of VidLit to help me do a seminar on social media for writers at Antioch Los Angeles where I teach Fiction. Liz IS an expert.

VidLit® encourages authors to think beyond the word — to widen their audiences by employing communications tools more often used for the dissemination of cold facts, endless figures and junk food for the mind.  Because finding and connecting with your readers is as important as your writing. VidLit is best known in the publishing world for its success with the book Yiddish With Dick and Jane, the sales of which more than doubled thanks to the online promotion. VidLit has conceived and executed 200 marketing and promotion campaigns. Liz co-edited and contributed to What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories[St. Martin’s Press, 2009], based on the VidLit series of the same name. She is also a magazine writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Well over a million people have viewed her short story“Craziest” on the Web.

Go to Vidlit to get all the tools you need to promote yourself.

Liz lectured on social media and showed this amazing video

Then I asked the students a few questions.

I.    Why:  What is your theme/message?  WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?  WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY TO THE WORLD?  WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND  FOR OTHERS IF YOU WERE TO DIE TOMORROW?
Example: Black Lives Matter
Exercise: What do you believe in? Can you distill into words, a phrase or sentence? Mine are: “Art and Love Heal” “Magic is Love” “Words are Magic” IT CAN SOUND CLICHÉ, DON’T WORRY. REMEMBER TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE VULNERABLE HERE. OUR VULNERABILTY IS OUR STRENGTH. ESPECIALLY FOR WRITERS. IT MAKES US HUMAN AND ACCESSIBLE AND IT HELPS  US TOUCH OTHERS WITH OUR WORK.
How can you solve a problem for your readers/followers? Especially one that pertains to this theme? For example, I hope to be able to encourage artists to express themselves and heal through their work.
Exercise: Make a list of the services you will provide (e.g. writing tips, editing tips, self-publishing tips, connecting readers to various resources that relate to your  subject matter i.e. fairy tales etc)

II.    Who: Who is your audience?
Exercise:  “Sketch” your typical reader/follower
Gender, age, interests, lifestyle, personal beliefs, where they live, favorite book/artist/movie/music/style etc and BOOKS they read.   WRITE A BRIEF SCENE THAT REVEALS SOME THINGS ABOUT THEIR CHARACTER
Example -- Here's a non creative version about a typical romance reader

III.    How: What is your look/style?

This website can help.
And this.
Example: Gala Darling
Exercise:  Define your style visually: font, color schemes, banner, type of author photo, filter, logo THIS ALSO CAN EVOLVE  talk in groups,  decide on an image, share cell phones and take some time to take pics 
(Still life tips: Use natural light, Afterlight for  filters, feature consistent prop that appears repeatedly, using something from nature always appeals, multiples of three draw eye in, lots of white space  allows eye  to focus, use shine, texture,  patterns, crop creatively, okay to go out of frame, keep it  simple)
BE SURE TO BE CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT ALL SOCIAL MEDIA, RESERVE HANDLES/DOMAINS EVEN IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO USE RIGHT AWAY, LINK ALL TO EACH OTHER

IV.    What: What is your Content
Photos (Your own are best! Or hire a photographer to avoid copyright issues. If you have an Iphone you can take cool enough pics)
Links
Videos
Updates on appearances, publications etc
Promoting the work of others
And on your blog especially:
Essays
Poems
Interviews
How To Lists
Guest Posts
Advice
Numbered Lists
Audio
Can you write creatively about current topics?
ANYTHING THAT SOLVES A PROBLEM YOUR SPECIFIC READER MIGHT HAVE, ESPECIALLY IN RELATION TO YOUR “MESSAGE”
IS YOUR THEME/MESSAGE CONSISTENTLY EXPRESSED?

V. Where: What are your platforms—IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THERE ARE ONLINE TUTORIALS
Facebook
1.35 billion users/40 minutes per day
How I use Facebook personal vs. professional pages
Personal is for friends and family. Professional is about your life as a writer and your characters.  See Pam Houston professional
and personal
Pics, videos, updates on appearances and classes, links, helping promote other writers

Here's an example from Amy Ta

I use Twitter for quick links, retweets, updates, hashtags

Some examples:
Margaret Atwood
Patricia Lockwood has 52 K followers, awakened a generation’s interest in poetry
David Levithan writes poem  tweets

Instagram 200 million users  /1.6 billiion likes daily   I USE THIS ONLY ON MY PHONE. MORE COMPLICATED  TO USE ON COMPUTER
Follow book bloggers , follow readers or  just like/comment
Use Repost for cover and fan art
Element of familiarity (personal pics),  photos of written word pieces
No hyperlinks/not a sales tool
My favorite author, Mark Z. Danielewski has pictures of cats and the universe because he's kind of obsessed with them.
Here's a gorgeous account that shows visual consisency.
This young woman uses Instagram for memoir. http://hellogiggles.com/23-year-old-instagram-memoir/

Youtube/VIMEO  IMPORTANT TO HAVE  VIDEO STORED HERE TO USE ON OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA

Tumblr and Pinterest are good for visuals and collecting inspirational imagery for your books but beware of issues with copyrighted material Newsletter: Mailchimp for upcoming author events, classes, personal updates.  Include links to all social media in your newsletters and use a consistent banner design on the letter that matches your other headers.

Gather emails from events, speaking engagements, get link from Mailchimp  and share it for people to sign up.  You can use their analytics to see open rate, click through rate and bounce rate  SEND MONTHLY OR SO, NOT TOO OFTEN

Blogs http://nerdfighters.ning.com/  
John and Hank changed the world of blogging, or should I say vlogging with Nerdfighters. Hank describes it as "a community that sprung up around our videos, and basically we just get together and try to do awesome things and have a good time and fight against world s@#$." The Greens began The Foundation to Decrease World S@#$, in order to donate funds and launch projects that would help a variety of causes.

Here's John's website

Go to Vidlit for information on Word Press, Joomla etc. and best author  websites

Here are some of my links to show visual consistency:
My website home page http://www.francescaliablock.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Francesca-Lia-Block/137738942987727
Twitter  https://twitter.com/francescablock

The internet can help us preserve the authenticity of art, it makes this art accessible to everyone to create and to experience. At its best it helps us do what writing has always done—express feelings, thoughts and ideas and connect to others, but in even more limitless ways. Use it to say what you need to the world! And build your audience while you are doing this!

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