For a lot of independent writers (and filmmakers, photographers, musicians… it applies to us all) trying to get a piece finished and published can be quite difficult, not only is there the hard work that goes into finishing it, but there is also work to raise money, gain exposure, and a number of other things that have nothing to do with the actual writing.
1. Getting Exposure
So this is probably the most important step in the process–building a name for yourself and anticipation for your book. What can help build anticipation is to get people involved and excited before the work is done. Use social sites like Facebook or Twitter to update your followers about your status, so they’ll be in the know and feel involved. Getting them involved is important because people like to support ideas they feel involved with. Use those networks, every time you have something to share.
Another outlet that you can look into is creating a Tumblr page for your project. In my personal experience, and from word of mouth, I have found that Tumblr fans and followers are very passionate about projects they support. So if they can really connect with and rally around your book, they with avidly support it, sharing your updates, donating to your crowdsourcing efforts (mentioned below), and really help to gather support.
Of course this can still be difficult as Tumblr has grown very large, and making a splash in the community may be difficult, so still utilize the larger outlets like Facebook and Twitter. What does help though, is if you start following members on Tumblr that seem like they’d have a built in interest.
For example, I have been working on a documentary that affects the LGBT community. For me, it was important to follow other LGBT Tumblr causes, knowing that there is a built in interest, even if they don’t care about filmmaking. So if you’re writing a sci-fi novel, maybe try following groups that are related to sci-fi, even it is something as simple as a Battlestar Galatica fan site.
So what do you share?
Anything. If you feel comfortable, share excerpts of your book. Maybe you want to share photos of you working on Instagram. It can also be as simple as tweeting and updating your status.
“First 20 pages done!” for example is a simple enough way of letting your followers know you’re working.
There is also nothing wrong with making personal updates. Maybe you are being overwhelmed by the project, or you are extremely excited about the new section you are writing. There is nothing wrong with letting people know that you have emotions during this process. If anything, it humanizes you beyond a social account, and it is something that people can connect to.
No one expects your journey to be easy, and easy projects are the only ones that get support. By being open with your followers, they’ll appreciate it, just make sure you’re comfortable doing so.
Traditionally, you needed investors and connections in book marketing, which was was tough for most authors. It’s still tough, but now with the power of social media, and new(er) crowdsourcing tools, you can find easier ways to fund your projects. My advice is to gain support with your social outreach. This can produce many small donations, which can turn out better than a few large gifts.
As you are fundraising, you’ll want to share your progress and other information to keep people interested and attract new investors. People want to fund projects, but only if they feel that they have a good shot of seeing the project completed. You’ll need to actively use social outreach to pull this off, and hopefully you can tap into resources that can help you get the funds you need.
Also, remember to offer perks to your funders. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but as the donations grow, so can the perks. For instance, a $10 donation can earn someone a shout out on your social accounts. For a $50 donation, they will get a copy, and for a bit more, maybe a signed copy.
For larger gifts (that which you can decide) you can give them a special thanks in the book, or add them to the dedication section. This is very popular in films, where large donations will earn big donors producer credits in the film. But also get creative with it, and don’t be afraid to offer your services as a perk. Maybe they need a beautifully worded family Christmas card to send out. You never know.
So when you’re ready to start on that next big writing project (or any other artistic endeavor) make sure you use the social platforms that can help you along the way. You want to build a strong following as soon as you can to ensure more success upon release. We are truly in a great age that can help people like us along the way, you just want to make sure you use them, and properly. While there is a lot of whimsy and unprofessionalism sometimes associated with social media, it can also be a huge tool to utilize in making your work become a reality.
Peter Margolis is a social media blogger, as well as a freelance media producer who writes for DX3. He is also an avid supporter of social media, and of how to use it effectively in business and other endeavors.