I’ve had a very exciting week at the London Book Fair. Where once it used to be exclusively for trade visitors, they’re gradually incorporating seminars and events for self published authors to take account of the shift to digital publishing.
Two great seminars were on using social media to gather in readers (aka buyers). The first, Twitter To Woo was run by professional book publicists and pitched largely at commercial publishers but there were some interesting points to take away.
Joe Pickering from Penguin books gave the following advice:-
- Have a public face - that is, a well built website and/or be on all social media platforms. The ones he singled out were Twitter, Facebook, a blog and the new Pinterest
- He also told the audience to get onto Tumblr which is a new platform for me. I’ve set up my own page here, but haven’t quite worked out how to use it and don’t find it as visually as “pretty” as Pinterest or Facebook albums. (click on the names of each media to find links to my own albums)
- Decide what your online personality is going to be and make all your platforms conform
- Social media interaction should be a daily operation - that’s not to say it should take up all of your day!
- Decide what your point of difference is to carve out your niche. Mine’s hot, contemporary romance novels with a distinctly British setting, using iconic locations.
- Talk about your point of difference. I sometimes blog here about Britishness and have Pinterest boards about little known British locations, all of which are gathering followers by the day.
- Be generous with your advice and help. Share fellow authors’ links, spread the word about their book signings, answer questions from newbie writers. I’ve already said on here how grateful I am for the advice of more established writers and how welcoming the romance community as a whole has been.
- Never criticise other authors or those involved in publishing - you never know where your next book deal may take you
A great deal of time was devoted to the sin of over zealous self promo in several seminars I attended and I’m going to comment on this as a separate post. I’ll also give more advice from the experts so stay tuned.
If you’re in the UK and have never attended the London Book Fair, get yourself a ticket for next year. This year tickets cost £30 for the entire show, giving free entry to unlimited seminars and author events across the whole three days. Everyone wears a badge so you can easily spot fellow authors and it’s always good to network. Several romance publishers had stands for us to put smiling faces to Ellora’s Cave, Samhain and Harlequin publishing.
Hope to see you there next time. Avis xx