A Launch Into Social Media, by Lynn Kiele Bonasia

16 June, 2010

I have vivid memories from the launch date of my first novel (Some Assembly Required, Touchstone/S&S) of sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of wine, reading congratulatory messages from long lost friends who’d received my email blast, while simultaneously (misguidedly) checking Amazon numbers. I had written the book. It was out there, and aside from some local events that had been scheduled, the rest was a waiting game.

Flash forward a whopping two years to the launch of my second novel, Summer Shift (Touchstone/S&S), which came out June 1st,, and the different planet I now find myself on. This time around, I’ve barely had time to celebrate. There have been entries to write for my new blog, guest blog appearances, promotional giveaways to concoct, multiple trips to the post office to send out books, Facebook pages to create and manage, email blasts and even “tweets.” It’s been a whirlwind of activity. But this foray in to self-promotion has also been rewarding. Aside from the warm feeling I’ve gotten from the friends I’ve reconnected with and new fans that continue to trickle in, I also feel strangely empowered.

What I choose to put out there via social media helps people formulate a more cohesive sense of who I am, which ultimately enhances the relationship they have with me through my books. And, it allows me to continue the dialogue initiated through my writing.

Both of my novels are set on Cape Cod, and so, like my book cover art, my author website and other communications have a coastal feel. I have a blog on the site that I contribute to once or twice a week called Lynn’s Bucket of Shells. It’s a forum for all kinds of topics, with the common thread of Cape Cod running through each. I’m fortunate to have this niche, my books being set in a popular tourist destination. People want to read about what it’s like to live here, and I’m able to share that with them. The blog allows me to be not just an author, but an authority on all things Cape Cod.

I have my personal Facebook page and my author page. I notice some author friends post exactly the same messages to both pages. I like to keep them slightly different, sharing most book-related news with fans of the author page, since they’ve opted in. I think one key to using Facebook successfully is providing value in your messages, be it information, or something funny, witty or wise, as opposed to posting your horoscope or something about it being rainy. It’s important to cultivate a consistent voice, which I’ll admit comes pretty naturally for me because it’s my voice. Therein lies the key. Be yourself.

(As for Twitter (@lynnbonasia), well I have yet to figure out how to successfully tap this venue, though I look forward to tweeting from the beach this summer, if only so I can write off a new bathing suit.)

In the end, it remains to be seen how much all of this will impact sales. But sales aren’t everything. For we authors who have to let go of our writing and characters with the publication of each book, throwing all that love and hard work up to fate, social media gives us a way to continue to develop characters, in this case, ourselves as authors.