CopperCon Panels: Social Media Dos and Don’ts For Authors

CopperCon tends to be more writing/writer focused and a lot of the attendees are published authors or aspiring authors. So naturally, there was a panel but how people who are or might be come even mild public figures should treat social media. But first, let’s meet our panelists:

From Left to Right: Jack Mangan, David Lee Summers, Gini Koch, and Carrie Vaughn.

Carrie Vaughn says she was “dragged onto the internet kicking and screaming.” But eventually her publisher was going to create an online presence for her if she didn’t do it herself, so she created a Facebook page. She says once she realized her blog wasn’t about selling her books, that’s when the possibilities opened up and she really started blogging.

Gini Koch says she’s a “twitter whore,” and that she likes the connection it helps her maintain with the reading and book blogger community.

Jack Mangan and David Lee Summers both agree that you should be yourself and express a variety of interests. Summers, for example, often tweets about things he sees while working in the Observatory. (A space observatory, unless he’s some kind of secret super villain. This was unclear.)

Their advice for authors, both published and aspiring, boils down to the following:

  • Don’t be someone you’re not. Be sincere. Be genuine. Be human.
  • Be concious about the image and brand you’re presenting. Your online presence is your brand. If you want to be a dick, go ahead, but Mangan says, “Good luck to you.”
  • Don’t use social media solely for marketing/spamming about your books. People will get bored and ignore you if all you tweet is “My Awesome Book Comes Out Nov. 25th.” It’s okay to be excited about things, but make sure that’s not the sum of your posts.
  • Remember people–be they fans, reviewers, or just random people online–are all human beings first.
  • Create boundaries. Decide how much personal information you want to divulge, and keep it limited for your own sake and safety.
  • Don’t respond to reviews, with a caveat: You can thank people for reading, retweet reviews, and even point out ones you like. But never try and pick a fight with a bad review(er), even under a fake name. It will never end well. The internet is rife with examples of how badly it can go for you.
  • Don’t bash publishers, even if they’ve rejected you. You will look stupid and other publishers will take notice.
  • Again: BE YOU. Even if it’s just a public version of you. Be yourself and be real.

Are you a writer or public figure? Do you have advice to add? Personal anecdotes you want to share? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

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