Tyra Burton & Jana Oliver on Keeping It Hot—Workshop on Social Media Strategies for Erotica Authors, March 10th – 24th, 2016
Learn to walk the fine line between creatively engaging with your readers, violating terms of service or just being banned in Keeping It Hot: Social Media Strategies for Erotica Authors, a Passionate Ink workshop, on March 10, through March 24.
Tyra Burton, marketing professor at Kennesaw State University (Georgia), and bestselling author Jana Oliver, will present a hands-on interactive workshop designed to help you target your audience and decide which social media platforms work best for your books. And… how to keep it sexy without getting into hot water.
We asked instructors Tyra Burton and Jana Oliver to share some of their social media wisdom and strategies with Passionate Ink members.
What are some of the greatest content challenges erotic romance writers face today in social media? Covers? Language? Lack of visibility?
Jana: Explicit covers may be an issue, depending on how you handle your promotions and on which platform. Some platforms get really testy about nudity and sexual situations. Interior content is only a problem if you post a snippet that some might find objectionable. Using a link that forwards your reader to your website is a way around that problem.
Visibility is definitely an issue because there are so many books available nowadays. Of course, not all of them are competing against yours, so that’s good news. Finding the best way to reach potential readers, engage them, intrigue them, is not an easy task. We’ll be discussing some of these techniques during Keeping it Hot.
Is Facebook still the best way to promote books and covers? Why or why not?
Jana: Facebook has the largest social media ‘footprint’ but it isn’t necessarily the best choice. That all hinges on the types of books you write and your target market. If your stories are more geared toward a New Adult audience, then Instagram or SnapChat might be a better choice.
Tyra: Also, you have to look at the Terms of Service and if your cover can be shared on Facebook. During the workshop we’ll be looking at the TOS for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
It’s important for writers to develop unique identities in social media under their pen names. What are the some of the pros and cons of this in terms of managing it all?
Tyra: Many authors have multiple pen names in today’s market. If you are writing sweet romance and also super hot erotica, you most likely are using different names. The biggest positive is that it helps your readers easily know what they are getting when they buy one of your books. The downside is that you will need to develop different brands for each pen name and then try to keep it all separate when you post in social media. Checking twice before you hit the post button should be your mantra.
How personal should social media be — photos of family? Pets? Your vacation? Or keep it professional?
Jana: Everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to social media exposure. In the case of Facebook, we’d recommend you maintain both a private Timeline (or Profile) and an Author Page. You would limit the personal photos and posts to your Timeline and away from your Page, which is more designed for promotion. That being said, you can still personalize your Author Page, but be sensible about it. Posting your home address, phone number, the names and ages of your children might not be smart. Ditto with saying which schools they attend, etc.
We’ll be chatting more about how to hide your real identity online and how to handle trolls during our workshop.
Is here a magic way to manage multiple pen names, such as using scheduling tools like Hootsuite or others?
Tyra: Hootsuite can be a great social media management tool for writers. The free version gives you a few accounts, but the lowest paid version (around $10/month) gives you plenty to play with if you have multiple pen names. The challenge with Hootsuite is that you must be VERY CAREFUL about which account(s) are posting what content. Sadly, there is no magic way to ensure that you don’t post as your erotic writer on your sweet romance writer account, so always check twice before hitting send.
Can authors become bestsellers today, still, using social media alone?
Jana: That’s an excellent question and I personally believe it’s possible, providing you can find dedicated readers who will love your stories, then spread the news that you are the author to read.
Tyra: With the number of people on social media and the changes in consumer behavior that have more people turning to online reviews, and to gather information, I believe social media is essential and can help you become a bestseller. It does take time, and consistency, but if you can inspire your key “influencers”, it can happen.
Do erotic romance writers need to learn to tone things down, or just find the right place to promote their work?
Tyra: Again, it goes back to a writer’s target market and where that target is on social media. For some social media platforms, things will need to be toned down, for others you can keep the heat up. It really boils down to your target market and the TOS for the platforms you chose. TOS are a key component of our course for Passionate Ink.
What do you think about buying ads on Facebook to sell books?
Tyra: In order to be successful with Facebook ads, you need a well-established Page with good content as well as a clearly defined target market. The better you can define your potential readers, the more likely you are to be successful with paid placement. Broad ads may not be your best bet, but specifically targeted ones, after you have a successful presence on Facebook, can help you generate sales. Of course, the ad copy is critical, and you should always include a “call to action.”
This workshop is for Passionate Ink members only and it’s free! Click here to register.