Writer in Residence

Social Media Bare Minimums for Authors

By Kim Moritsugu

Have a new book coming out? Don't want to self-promote? Too bad. You must do at least these few things if you want to get the book rolling:

1. Like it or not, you’re in the business of trying to sell something. That means you need to have an internet presence. Start with an author website that will flog/tout your product to the world, preferably a website called yourname.com. Design it yourself using free website or blogging software, or get your technically competent child or nephew or niece to do it, or pay someone (not too much) to set it up, and ensure it includes a contact form. It is possible that someone who is not a spammer with an offer to increase your page views via the deployment of bots will one day use the contact form to ask you to read or speak somewhere, which will make the effort required to set up a website worthwhile.
2. Keep your website updated with review pull-quotes, news, notice of upcoming events, and jaunty little blog posts, illustrated with fun photos, about your thoughts and doings. If you need an incentive to update, do what I do every time you post, and reward yourself with a food of your choice. Or pie.
3. If you’re not on facebook yet, get over yourself, put up a facebook profile (re-use your website content and photos) and add everyone as a friend whom you’ve ever known, met, or heard of. The goal is to collect 1,000 friends to barrage with daily status updates about your book-related triumphs (everything that happens is a triumph, duh), interspersed with a sprinkling of content on your favorite political causes or peeves, and semi-personal updates about any cute pets, interesting hobbies or high-achieving household members/children you might have, or can appropriate for this purpose. Privacy, schmivacy.
4. Open a Twitter account and get yourself a Twitter handle. Not to sell books (see Hilary Davidson’s recent much-talked-about piece on that topic at the National Post’s Afterword blog ), or to develop your brand (hahaha), but in order to follow writers and celebrities who are good at Twitter. Expose yourself to the tweets of Mindy Kaling, Susan Orlean, Lena Dunham, some comedians, and in Canada, writers Angie Abdou and Terry Fallis, and try to figure out how they do it so you can one day achieve their level of followers. Bonus: Twitter can be useful if you want to be “part of the conversation” when your power goes out, or you think you just felt an earthquake.
5. Like writing and comedy, self-promotion is hard. But it’s also material. Run the social media self-promotion gauntlet and one day you too can write a blog post about it.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Kim Moritsugu is the author of six novels to date, including Looks Perfect, nominated for the Toronto Book Award; The Glenwood Treasure, shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel award; The Restoration of Emily, serialized on CBC Radio; and the just published comedy of suburban manners The Oakdale Dinner Club. She also leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto and teaches creative writing through The Humber School for Writers.