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Social networking is all about connections and finding people who are interested in the same things you are.
As an author you want to network with other authors in order to find out tips, ideas and news that may affect you. You also want to network with people who are interested in the topic you write on, so you can market to them.
However, social networking is not about blowing your marketing horn. It is about being a real person, someone approachable who joins in conversations and has interesting things to say. If people are interested in what you are saying, they will read your profile and then you can connect. Once you have made a connection, people may buy from you because they like you and find your content interesting.
With this in mind, these are my top social networking and Web 2.0 sites for writers and authors. I have added links to my sites at each, so you can see examples but you can also connect with me if you want to.
Facebook.com A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos. This is one of the top 5 websites in the world and is great for seeing what people are up to. Use the “Share on Facebook toolbar” to easily post links to your other sites so people can see what you are up to. Connect with me on Facebook.
YouTube.com YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag and share your videos worldwide! I have only recently started using YouTube but am seeing the benefits, especially now I know how to use Microsoft MovieMaker. Post videos that related to your books, or book reviews, or anything that helps people get to know you. Subscribe to other people’s video channels. You can also use the easy HTML code to embed your videos in other webpages so very useful. Connect with me on YouTube
WordPress.com. If you don’t have a blog yet, consider having one to promote yourself and your book. You can get a free one up and running within minutes using easy software. Or you can use your own URL and build one using the easy videos at Become a Blogger. This site is built using these tools and videos with my own URL TheCreativePenn.com. Click here for the complete Roadmap to becoming a blogger. Having a blog enables me to post useful information, and you can connect by posting comments here. Subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you are getting all the information.
Authors Den.com This site links authors and readers and enables you to create an Author bio with links to your books, articles, news and blog posts if you upgrade to a paid account. You can also review books and connect with friends. Connect with me on Authors Den.
GoodReads.com. This site revolves around book reviews and friends with similar interests. You can post information about yourself, what books you are reading including links to your own book if it is on Amazon. You can post your writing, quotes you like and videos from YouTube. Connect with me on GoodReads.
LibraryThing.com. You can post your profile here and also your bookshelf. You can then drilldown on the books to see who else is reading them. This helps you find people interested in the same books as you. If you are an author with a book that can be found online e.g. on Amazon, you can have an author page that links to your book. Connect with me on LibraryThing
Authonomy.com. This is a networking site that aims to promote your book to Harper Collins for publication. It is based on social networking – connect with other people so they read your book online and vote you up to the top spot. The top books get taken to Harper Collins for publication consideration. Connect with me on Authonomy.
Ning.com has a ton of networking sites that you can connect to other authors on. It is easy to set up a page so you can start a new one if you like. I recommend Book Marketing as this is John Kremer’s site that links to his book 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
Docstoc.com. This is a great site for posting your articles and other content for people to find and download. I formulate my articles into PDF documents with a resource box linking to my sites and then post them on here as free to syndicate with the website name. I find this has good Google rankings. Connect with me on Docstoc.com
Squidoo.com. You can post pages called “lenses” on Squidoo that enable you to have more incoming links to your site. You can also have Amazon book sales as well as YouTube videos embedded on the page, plus photos, text and even sell product. You can then connect with people who have similar lenses. I have 2 lenses so far, one for each book – “How to Enjoy Your Job” and “Living an Abundant Life”. It’s very easy to use, so if you don’t do anything else – just build a lens for starters.
LinkedIn.com. I primarily use LinkedIn for my consulting work (the day job!) but I also have a link to my blog and also Amazon.com booklink so it is refreshed regularly. This is a brilliant site as you can connect with people you see through other people’s connections, building your circle of influence quickly. Connect with me on LinkedIn.com
After resisting because I couldn't see the point, I am now a huge Twitter fan! You can connect with like-minded people and share interesting sites, as well as promote your own material now and then. You can direct message with “famous” people who you might not approach in other ways. You can be part of an active community. It's brilliant! Follow me on Twitter and see how it goes – then start tweeting yourself. Here is a post on how to use it if you're new!
There are other sites of course – I haven’t joined them all yet! For example,
There are also social networking news sites like Digg.com, brilliant site Stumbleupon, Reddit.com, Mixx.com
If this is all blowing your mind, and you wonder how you will keep up with all these sites, there is a solution. Ping.fm is a utility that lets you update all your social networks at the same time via mobile phone, email or plugin applications.
You can spend all your time on these sites, so be careful! But if you create a profile at all these sites, think how many incoming links you will have to your book or author website or blog. You can also choose a couple and focus on those. But make a start as these sites really do have a way of changing your perspective on social networking, as a way to connect as well as market yourself.
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