Helpful Tips To Simplify Your Social Media Strategy

social mediaOur current brave world of publishing demands that an author “build a brand.” What does that mean exactly?

Simply put, your brand is the picture that pops into people’s mind when they hear your name. Your author brand is how your fans identify you.

How do you figure out what to talk about online? [Yes, we can hear all you introverts moaning. Just go with us for a bit here.] How can you intentionally create a brand that makes you happy?

The Big Secret: As long as you can engage the people who interact with you, via your books, your blog or social media, your topic doesn’t really matter (though we warn you away from politics or religion unless that is your brand). What matters is that all your online efforts foster the picture you want to create in people’s minds.

You can blog about anything as long as it’s something entertaining or relatable about you or a character/motif from your books. A-ny-thing that interests you and helps create the picture you want in readers minds when they think of you.

For established authors, this picture is usually tied to one (or many) of your books. For the new or unpublished author, you need to get started on forming that picture in people’s mind as soon as possible. Interacting via a blog, podcasts or on social media is one of the easiest ways to quickly build a brand.

How do you distill the complexity that is you into a few words or topics?

In her book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, social media Jedi, Kristen Lamb, recommends you free write 100 words about all the things that make up the complex story of YOU. Be preparedThis exercise will be harder than you expect it to be. (Platform building isn’t for sissies, you know.)

If the cloud idea doesn’t work for you, try the ‘ten phrases game.’ Here’s a sample writer in 10 Bullets or Less:

  • Rejuvenated by creativity
  • Nurtured by family and friends
  • Cats/dogs/chickens are AWESOME
  • Loves to give back
  • Dragons are awesome
  • [Fill in the blank] hits my Zen button
  • Stories are the best
  • Introverted
  • I dream of being an organized person
  • Intravenous coffee

Those bullet points and word clouds contain your blogging and social media topics. Note: You might have to do these exercises several times before you figure out your list of topics.

If you’re coming up blank on how to convert these topic ideas into action, here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • Effective social media is a thousand drops of water sprinkled across months, not throwing a big bucket of updates out at once. High volume sharing tends to tire out most followers.
  • Pick only one (or two) social platforms and really embrace them. You can do more if you have the time but DON’T do 5-6 different apps with no interaction. Pick the few you’re most comfortable with and visit at least once a day for the first few months.
  • Look up the people you already know and see what they’re posting about. Jump into those conversations. If it’s online, it is open to the public…just be polite about it.
  • Find the hashtags for topics you know a lot about or have interest in.
  • If you’re just starting on a platform like Twitter or Instagram, go look at someone you admire and follow all the people on their list who look interesting.
  • Be sure to use the 12:1 rule by responding or retweeting twelve items/links/conversations from other people for every one of yours.

As marketing genius Seth Godin says, “The reason social media is so difficult for most organizations: It’s a process, not an event.” More awesome Seth quotes can be found here.

Seth Godin

How can you learn about “building a brand?”

For more detailed information on branding, here are some great blogs on the subject:

Where do you commune with people online (and why do you like it)? Are there groups of writers that you recommend above all others? Finally, can YOU write your life story in 100 words? We’d love it if you took a shot at it down in the comments!


OCC-RWA: Looking Back at the First Half of 2017…

OCC has been blessed in speakers this year. Here is a quick year in review, for those of you wanting to organize your notes. If you missed any of these speakers, be sure to ask your chapter-mates for their notes!


We began the year with attorney and mystery writer Leslie Budewitz. Leslie shared research tips and 12 Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make About the Law. Three of the most common mistakes:

  • Failing to distinguish between state and federal crimes.
  • Confusing direct and circumstantial evidence.
  • Assuming a criminal case won’t be pursued if the victim “doesn’t press charges.”

Leslie’s book on this topic: “Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure.”


Bestselling Author Lori Wilde shared her journey to the New York Times bestseller list and provided hands-0n exercises in her workshop titled, Showing and Telling: Building the Foundation for Compelling Fiction.


The incredibly informative, wildly successful California Dreamin’ Conference happened in late-March. The next one will be in 2019.


Theodora Taylor shared productivity tips and TONS of motivational book recommendations for getting the most out of your writing days. After finishing eight books in twelve months, she had a solid list of tips! So many that there will be a stand-alone post with a better summary.

Theodora recommends listening to self-help and motivation audiobooks and podcasts while you exercise and do the non-writing things in your day. And most importantAlways Be Setting (Crazy Big) Goals!

The afternoon panel, “Authors Beware!” featured Theodora, Maggie Marr and Debra Holland with Tara Lain as moderator.

Three tips:

  • Agents are an author’s employee – you should be able to ask them anything!
  • The best chance of success comes with advance planning. Each author on the panel recommended you plan your author promo/marketing in advance and engage great professionals if you decide to self-publish. Be sure you already have 2-3 books finished.
  • Above all, follow your intuition!

Opened book with heart page


Kaizen-Muse creator, Jill Badonsky, shared insightful tips on beating procrastination and distraction, as well as a pep talk on keeping the passion and inspiration alive in your writing.

Inspiring quotes to post where you can see them:

  • YOU are the hero of your own story.
  • Reframe your words to yourself. Use “I get to…” instead of “I have to…”
  • Progress is better than perfection.
  • Half-@ss is better than no @ss when it comes to your writing.

And remember the most important thing: Shame stops more writing than anything else.


OCC’s own Louella Nelson led a morning workshop on Point of View (POV) where she gave examples of all four types of POV and showed when to use them. Lou showed how to choose the perfect narrator to make a read that satisfies your target audience and increases reader interest  and loyalty.

Louella also participated in an afternoon panel with Linda Carroll-Bradd, Jacqueline Diamond, Debra Holland, and Patricia Thayer on Writing a Sucessful Series.

What’s up next?

The July 8th meeting features Book Genie, Jeanne Da Vita, as well as the chance to pick the brains of OCC’s stellar authors. You can also practice your pitch for this year’s RWA National conference in late July in Orlando. All meeting details can be found here.