Friday, May 18, 2012

Are You a Good Citizen?

Debra L Martin
I've been thinking about this question for some time. What does this mean for an author? One thing it doesn't mean is to constantly tweet or have Facebook posts that say "buy my book, buy my book!" After awhile, people will start ignoring your tweets and posts because they are always the same.

Every author wants sales, of course, but what else can you be doing to help drive those sales. There are a number of things that will help you to become a "good citizen" in the writing world and in the long run will help your sales. Who knows? Along the way, you'll be amazed at the online friendships that develop when you allow yourself to connect with others.

Here are a few things that I do to be a "good citizen."
  1. Take the time to get to know people and have conversations with them on twitter. Once you get to know people, you'll find that they will be more than willing to retweet for you. Now your book(s) is being talked about in a ever widening circle. Exposure is a great boost for any title. The same things goes for Facebook. Interact with people. Social media is an extremely important component in the publicity of your book. Use it wisely and you'll reap the rewards.

  2. Help spread the word for another author's book. Use twitter, facebook, google+, whatever is available to you. A quick tweet or FB post about a new release is simple.  I have many "new release" posts on my blog and my triberr mates retweet it. Exposure is the key for sales. If people don't know a book exists, they can't buy it. When it's your turn for a "new release" people will be more than willing to help you spread the word.

  3. If you have a blog, offer author interviews. I've done over 200 author interviews. Authors love to talk about themselves and their books. I have a set of interview questions for indie authors and one for traditionally published authors. I change the questions every 6 months or so. Some authors like to mix and match them and that's fine with me. I've met some extremely interesting people through my author interview series and I plan to continue it as long as authors keep asking to be featured on Two Ends of the Pen.

  4. Answer questions when you can for newbie authors. We've all been there and trust me, most all of the questions have been asked before, but if you're online at a forum and know the answer, why not answer it? People remember such kindnesses and who knows, you may be the one asking the question some day. 

  5. Offer to guest post at your favorite blog. Believe me, I welcome guest posts. My only stipulations is that the post has to do with writing or publishing. I've kept quite a few of the most popular ones in the sidebar to make it easy for readers to find them.  As a matter of fact, the guest posts and the author discussion questions are the most popular ones on the blog. Week after week, those posts are clicked on and read.

  6. Offer up contests or giveaways on your blog. The prize could be anywhere from one of your books to a gift card from Amazon or BN. Readers love to enter contests and you'll have the opportunity to gain new readers to your blog. While they may have only clicked on your link to enter the contest, a number of them will stick around to read your content. Keep your blog updated and make sure your books are displayed in the sidebar or on their own page to make it easy for readers to find your book(s).

Above all, be professional and kind. Your online personality is the only avenue for some folks to get to know you. And as your mother always said, "Say thank you." It's such a simple thing, but it speaks volumes.  So, what kind of things do you do to be a "good citizen?" Big or small, everything counts! "Pay it forward."


  1. I love this way of thinking. In our new age of cyber-relationships we have to think of them that way - relationships. Social media is not simply a marketing tool. It is a way to make the world a little closer.

  2. Hi Tam,

    Thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed the post today and I totally agree with you. Social media has certainly made the world a smaller and friendlier place for me.

  3. The social media like Facebook has required us to form a new set of definitions for words like "friend". It is possible to build relationships using the tools of electronic media; it is not unlike being a pen-pal. When I was young my mother encouraged me to be a pen-pal to a girl who lived in France. We exchanged letters for a year or so, and developed a friendship of sorts. While we cannot build the same depth of friendship as those that are up close and in person, it is possible to have a circle of "virtual friends" (real people online) that are interested and supportive of projects you endeavor to do. Once in a while you meet one in person, and become good old-fashioned friends.

  4. Yep, if you're only on a social network to 'sell your works' it'll show. Plus, it'll become a drag--just another chore.


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