Our guest Is Paul Hochman, the Director of Social Media at St. Martin's Press. Paul doesn't place books in a retail setting. He doesn't schedule authors for interviews or signings. He doesn't solicit reviews. But increasingly, all of these activities depend on what he does do: create relationships online. Prior to joining the team at St. Martin's, Paul managed Content, Community, and Social Media at Barnes and Noble.
DEB:I think we can all see the importance of social networking. But it seems very overwhelming--a full time job when WRITING is our job. So my biggest concern is: what three forms of social media are the most important for an established author?
PAUL: With 600 million users on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter, and 2 billion videos viewed per day on YouTube; that's where authors should be concentrating their social efforts. That said; you can cover all your social ground in 20 minutes a day.
HALLIE: Is the answer the same for a midlist author with a new book? What about for one who's come close but never made best seller and wants to break out this time?
PAUL: The above applies equally to a midlist, debut, or bestselling author. There's no better space to market your book and reach your readers -- and it's virtually free!
HANK: Is it better to be all over the place--Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Goodreads and so on--or to concentrate on one and give it your complete focus?
PAUL: If you can manage (post content and respond regularly) on multiple social sites (see my first answer), all the better exposure-wise, but choosing one channel and really running it well is just as effective in many cases.
JULIA: What are the big "don'ts" in social media marketing?
PAUL: The biggest don't is dishonesty. Under no circumstance should you misrepresent yourself, post bogus reader reviews of your work, or try to game the system. Keep in mind, Social Media is ever-evolving and you'll need to constantly craft your content to figure out what resonates best with your audience. You're going to stumble occasionally -- fail fast and learn from your mistakes.
ROSEMARY: How can an author make the best use of all that Amazon has to offer?
PAUL: I'll need more specifics on which offerings we're talking about here but I'm all for blowing out your author profile. As I said earlier, the more exposure, the better.
PAUL: Great! Start involving them in the conversation. Elicit their opinions. Give them something to talk about -- a first chapter, a cover reveal, or a pivotal plot point. Simply telling them your new book is now available is a huge win.
JULIA: And finally, since things change and evolve so quickly, where do you see the future of social networking headed? If a crime fiction author had a book coming out one year from now, what sort of social media strategy would you recommend?
PAUL: Social Media is changing every minute of every day, but as long as it continues to be a space where readers congregate to share recommendations and content, authors absolutely need be there to facilitate and join those conversations. Remember, nothing sells books better than word of mouth and there's no better tool for word of mouth marketing then Social Media.
Do you have a question for Paul? Comments? Please join us on the back blog and let us know your thoughts on the brave new world of social media.