Social Media For Kidlit Writers

Every so often, I like to revisit the topic of what social media we all “should” be using. (Here’s my caveat: there are no hard and fast rules; things change quickly in this realm; do what feels right for you.) Social media serves several functions:

  1. you connect there with friends and colleagues
  2. you connect there with readers
  3. you learn about what’s happening in the industry
  4. you can do some promotion (but be warned – only 10-20% of your social media time should be spent on promotion.)fb-logo-lg

I interact with enough publishing industry types to know that publishers do want authors to be involved in some form of social media. Here’s a short list of my current recommendations, including the first two that aren’t strictly “social”.

  • Email. Essential. I still have a few friends who use email accounts that they share with spouses. Really? If you are a serious author, you must have your own account. Must. And the closer it is to your real name, the better. “Pookywoo@gmail” just isn’t professional.
  • Website. Essential. A clean, easy to read, mobile-friendly (*essential element*) website is crucial. It’s your home, your landing page, and where everyone in the world looks first for information about you and your books. I recommend WordPress.org (not WordPress.com), as it’s easy to manage once it’s been set up, although you may want professional help in the setup. I’ve used Websy Daisy to build my newest website and highly recommend them.
  • Blog. Optional. WordPress has built-in blogging capabilities. I used to use Blogger, a dedicated blogging platform. I like blogging as another form of writing, but it’s not necessary to do so.
  • Facebook. Essential. While young readers are not on Facebook as much as they are on other platforms, Facebook is a huge presence in the social media world with millions of daily hits. You should at least have a personal page, where you can interact with colleagues and follow pages or groups of interest. A separate author page is optional, but can be another way you reach readers who are not necessarily your friends.
  • Twitter. Necessary, maybe even essential. So much information is conveyed so quickly on Twitter that I recommend it. Unlike Facebook, tweets disappear very fast, so I use the two in different ways. (Example: if you have a book signing coming up, broadcast on Facebook days before and on Twitter hours before or even moments before.)
  • Pinterest. Optional. I like Pinterest because I use it to “park” visuals that are relevant to my books. This has been especially useful to me for my historical novels, because I can post, for example, maps that only I have access to, and direct readers to that information.
  • Litsy. Optional. A new reader/book lover platform that is an app. I haven’t used it much but I like what I see, as a way to share book love in a growing community.
  • Goodreads. Optional. The granddaddy of book lover platforms. I use it, but not much, as a way to connect with readers. They have decent author support and information. But be warned: snarky reviews are common. I rarely, if ever, read my Goodreads reviews.
  • Linkdin. Optional, maybe even unnecessary. I have yet to see why this platform is useful to self-employed writers – unless you are searching for a job.
  • Tumblr. Optional. This is a micro-blogging platform, and unless you are really into that, it’s fun but not necessary. However, younger people love it, which might mean it’s a great place to connect, especially with YA readers.
  • Instagram. Optional but may be becoming necessary fast. Instagram allows you to post photos with short captions. It’s fun and easy to use, but more importantly, younger readers like it.
  • Snapchat. Optional. Confession: I have yet to use Snapchat. However, it is the fastest-growing social media app in the world, with millions of users. More like a messaging service, content disappears fast. Plus it’s hard to use if you’re older than, say, 20 (this according to Slate.) So, yeah.

That’s what I have for now. For today. For, um, 9AM this morning. Don’t feel bad if social media seems like a stream of consciousness, because that’s exactly what it is.

Gaming The Library

A library to the uninitiated (i.e., young students everywhere) can be a bit confusing. Fortunately, we’ve got a game for that!library game

For librarians, teachers, parents, readers, book groups……the clever Kirsten Cappy of Curious City has created an Event Kit with a fun and interactive game that encourages students to find puzzle pieces hidden in different books (books that should be familiar to students ages 10 to 14) throughout the library, and then come together with their pieces to solve an overarching mystery in a final collaborative exercise.hidden in the library

I’m delighted, because the source of the puzzle and mystery is THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE – although you don’t have to have read the book in order to play the game.

Librarians, booksellers, and book clubs can use the Event Kit not only to engage readers with the mysterious literary and historical elements of THE CHARMED CHILDREN, but also to engage readers in using the library or bookstore as a resource. School librarians may find the kit to be a great way to introduce readers to the layout and search tools of the library at the beginning of the term.2016-07-07 16.47.16

On this page, under “Resources”, on the website www.rookskillcastle.com, you’ll find free downloadable instructions and reproducible images for use in the game.

We’d love to have feedback if you do play the game. And coming in October…a creeptastic and spooktacular giveaway of cool library-fun swag!

Here’s to libraries!

Louisiana Libraries Need Us

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the Page Through The Parks event that Liz Garton Scanlon, Barb Rosenstock, and I ran this month. Congratulations to all the winners of our books and especially to Mandi, the winner of our teacher/librarian … [Continue reading]

Page Through The Parks: Tour’s End!

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In this last Page Through The Parks post, a reminder that we have some giveaways. I'm giving away 3 copies of my YA novel FAITHFUL here. Liz Garton Scanlon is giving away 3 copies of her picture book IN THE CANYON here, and Barb Rosenstock is … [Continue reading]