Thursday, September 22, 2011

Human Touch

It is no secret that the best way to get your self-published book known is through social media. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc. are great ways to get your work out there and be in touch with your readers. Yet, in this vastness of the World Wide Web, there are options that are tailor-made for authors. Here’s a rundown of three of these services I’ve been using with various degrees of success (so far):

Goodreads has been hands down the most useful to me. Not only do you have the usual author’s biography, forums, bookshelf and “buy my book” features, but it allows authors to stream their blogs into the site, post a trailer of their novel, run book giveaways, and create trivia and quizzes. Fans can follow their favorite authors, review books and recommend them to friends. In my opinion, Goodreads is a great way to promote your manuscript and get in touch with your readership.

Shelfari is an Amazon.comwebsite also dealing with book-oriented social networking. It lacks the promotional options that Goodreads offers, no links to other social media, no option to upload trailers or ability to run contests and create quizzes. It does have a bookshelf and allows people to follow you, become part of your forums and allows users to generate reviews. It also offers a very detailed breakdown of your novel. You can list the book’s characters, significant places, write quotes, and a myriad of other minutiae about your manuscript.  

LibraryThing has a crude interface compared to the websites mentioned above. It basically allows an author to list their book and add links to other social media. Users can rate the novel, leave comments and participate in forums, but the amount of information is pretty limited and so are the options for marketing and social interaction. 

In my experience, I’ve seen more interaction in Goodreads and it gives options more in tune with how I want my book to be presented and how I want to interact with my readers. Shelfari seems to have a lot of potential, but I’ve yet to discover how to exploit it. So far, it seems to be a site for self-promotion rather than interaction. I’m basing this comment solely on the fact that only authors seem to be doing the talking on Shelfari, while the readers are either watching on the sidelines or are simply not motivated enough to share their thoughts; I could be wrong. That’s my two cents; I hope it helps. Keep on running!

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