Social Media - Friend or Foe?

The need for writers to have an online presence in the 21st Century has never been more evident with the introduction of Social Media.

I’ve been asked many times why don’t I conduct a course and teach people all I’ve learnt about the highs and lows of Social Media. It got me thinking; why not put together some pointers for Creative Kids Tales followers.

Here are some dos and don’ts I have painfully discovered about Social Media.

When I started Creative Kids Tales in 2011 all I had was a personal Facebook account started years earlier that had become stagnate. Basically I signed up for Facebook after my last school reunion as I figured it was the only way to stay in touch.

Already our thinking has been reconditioned from picking up the phone to opening up Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and bearing our soul on a daily basis in an open environment.

Once Creative Kids Tales was born I wondered how to spread the word? The answer: Facebook.

I quickly discovered it was useful in creating a presence and getting out there, not just locally, but all over Australia and the world.

The all-important promotion of new authors and existing ones no longer rests with publishers. If you already have a presence in Social Media this is going to favour well with publishers signing up new authors. As for established authors, this is great because generally you have been talking about your upcoming book for some time and you've already created a buzz about it. Publishers know you will be working to promote your book and already half their job is done.

You need to think of yourself as a business. You have a product to sell. You!

Remember Publishers will give you a small window of promotion. They will then move on to the next author and their new book. If you already have momentum with promoting your brand, in other words you, by adding information about your first or a new book should give you added exposure.

It’s become a daily ritual for authors to check out Social Media before they commence writing. A good practice to put in place is allowing up to 30 minutes in the morning and about the same for the afternoon/evening to promote yourself, find out what’s new, who’s talking about what, any upcoming events that may benefit you etc.

If you are starting out you may want to allow yourself a little more time to familiarise yourself with it. The best sites to visit regularly etc. Getting to know Social Media etiquette can take a little while.


Here is a little look into some of the different types of Social Media:

(Click on the name to reveal tip)

  • - Facebook

    Let’s face it if you’re not on Facebook there is only one question. Why not?

    Create an author page. Create a page for your character. Whatever you create just create one!

    The golden rule with Social Media is whatever pages you create you need to maintain them. Too many pages can be too hard to manage especially when you are trying to write as well. If that means only creating one page, then so be it. There is no need creating two or three pages and only actively updating one.

    Joining 'groups' requires approval from the administrator of that group. It's a bit like sending a friend request. 'Liking' groups is much easier as no permission is needed. Like as many pages in the areas you are interested as you can. Look at other author friends pages and see what they like, undoubtedly this will lead you onto other pages and so on. Just remember, if you like a page when you first see it hit the 'like' button. Trying to navigate your way back to it can sometimes be a nightmare.

    Promote yourself on ‘like’ pages or groups but do not bombard them with constant posts. But with that said if you follow hundreds of pages and space out your posting you shouldn’t upset anyone, unless of course the material you are posting is offensive. Be sure you post within the guidelines of Facebook; visit their site for more information. Don’t post more than 10 posts collectively in one day as you will attract the attention of Facebook and be seen as spamming.

    Some people or organisations choose to have posts blocked. If you are adamant about getting on their page send them a private message. It can't hurt; they may post information about your page if they believe it to be worthwhile.

    If you post on other authors pages they will probably want to post on yours too. At any time you can delete a post if you feel they are posting too often or it is not appropriate for your page.

    Remember you are creating a brand name and once you put your information or comments out there it's very hard to remove it from cyberspace.

    When posting on pages Facebook register how many posts you make in a day. Too many posts can attract bans, be careful. My first ban was for ‘posting spam’ even though it was promoting reading and writing. Facebook don’t care and they don’t differentiate between posts it is merely the fact you have posted that registers. If you are banned you can’t contact them to discuss, you just have to wear whatever ban they impose.

    The second time they come down on you a lot harder, my ban was 60 days. They also issued me with a warning if I re-offend once the ban is lifted I will be removed from Facebook permanently. When you are under a ban you are unable to post anything, including commenting on other posts or even wishing someone Happy Birthday.

    The only way around this is to pay for advertising on Facebook. Be wary I have heard this can be a slippery slope. Once you hand over your credit card details all sorts of charges start to appear not to mention you can never be sure how many people have actually seen your ad. As for cancelling your payments I believe this is also next to impossible. Again, I've heard some have had to cancel their credit card in order to stop the charges.

    One little trick I’ve learnt is in addition to posting your page you can also share your page. This gives you more exposure and appears to avoid the too many posts rule.

    Another great way is ask your friends to share your page and so on and so on. Create a snowball effect; remember it only takes one snowflake.

    Be careful to not over promote! This is a good way to loose followers fast if you are constantly in their face telling them about your book or achievement.

    If you have a book launch remember to create an ‘Event’ page on Facebook. Invite all your Facebook friends and ask them to share with others.

    Giveaways are also a good way to generate interest. Everybody loves getting something for nothing and generally they'll tell their friends to like your page if there is a chance of winning something.

    You can make Facebook work in your favour you just need to be clever about it.

  • - Twitter

    Twitter is not unlike Facebook it just goes a lot faster. It’s great for sharing the right here, right now. For instance you’ve probably heard many news reports stating it broke first on Twitter. Twitter tweets are more likely to spread like wildfire than any other social media outlet.

    On Twitter you can follow, favourite and retweet others tweets.

    The @Connect option allows you to see who has recently followed you. Who has favourited or retweeted one of your tweets. The #Discover key shows you tweets that are applicable based on the types of people you are following. Eg. If you follow predominantly authors the #Discover option will show you tweets from the more popular or most followed authors.

    Your tweets are character limited, which can be a bit of a pain especially if you have a lot to say. It's a good way to learn editing or you will need to tweet several messages to get your information out there.

  • - LinkedIn

    According to Wikipedia LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site.

    I like to think of LinkedIn as a live business card holder.

    I have dabbled in LinkedIn but when it came to needing to pay membership in order to send someone a message I opted out. Don’t get me wrong I understand this to be a beneficial tool to those in the business sector wanting to make contact with others from their area. It just doesn't suit me right now.

  • - YouTube

    Again I consulted Wikipedia for a definition of YouTube.

    YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos.

    This is becoming increasingly popular for promoting book trailers; info videos (are they still called that?)

    I do follow some authors on YouTube who produce short news stories or updates on the book industry. Some share tips you may or may not be able to use on your journey to publication.

    You can also look up old music clips from your youth.

    If you feel confident promoting yourself on camera rather using your keyboard, go for it!

  • - Blog

    The Blog: another forum where a writer can reveal one’s soul.

    Having your own blog is almost as important as being able to breathe without a respirator.

    Here, you are your own boss and don’t have to comply with rules and guidelines set by others. You can say, post or talk about whatever you would like to talk about. Again remember the once it’s out there rule.

    In the end it all comes back to advertising your blog and you undoubtedly will need Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube to do that to get you started. Once you have built up a name this will bring others to you. It’s a bit like Field of Dreams - Build it and they will come.

  • - Pinterest

    Pinterest is a giant photo album. Before Pinterest whenever you came across a photo or picture you liked you would save it and/or print it and most likely stuff it in a draw somewhere. Perhaps you scrapbooked or put it in a folder well with Pinterest you can create different groups for different types of photos or pictures. You simply pin the one you like to your album and it stores it all for you. You can then access these files anywhere you have internet access.

    You can create albums for anything. House renovation ideas, favourite books, and creepy crawlies the potential is limitless.

  • - Google+

    Google+ is a great resource for sorting your contacts into groups or circles. You may only want to share a particular content with one circle. You can have live video chats and display photos. It’s kind of like Facebook and Twitter put together.

    I am not a huge user of Google+ and it’s only because I haven't been able to give it as much time as I have Facebook and Twitter. I try to stick with the platforms I am most comfortable with.


Summary

Don’t get me wrong, I still make mistakes and I am by no means an expert, but I have learnt a hell of a lot. It’s all about networking.

Social Media is just a simplified way of promoting yourself rather than standing on the street corner with a big sign.

Be in control of your own page. One trend that is becomingly popular is to put your name to a site and have the bots take articles from the most popular sites put them all together and produce a blog or newsletter using your name. Big mistake!

We recently found a site doing this and linking our articles to their site. Apart from the fact they did not seek our permission to reprint, they also had some very sexually explicit content on their page. When we contacted them they told us they were not in control of their page. Arghhh!!! In the end our content was removed and we’ve since blocked them but just be wary. This is not something you want to get linked to.

Whatever you do is never going to be enough. Your followers will always want more. Create at your own pace and don’t be dictated to by your followers. But with that said, if you commit to a daily blog and deviate from what your followers expect, be prepared for the backlash.

It is said in order to succeed you need to be everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Blog the list goes on and on. My advice is to stick with the ones you are comfortable with and can manage without them taking over your life.

Some people use Social Media to air their grievances. Not a good idea when you are attempting to build a presence or brand name, unless you are going for a negative persona.

If you have nothing to say then don’t. People don’t want to read you have lost your socks. Really they don’t.

When people comment on your posts, respond back. You wouldn’t ignore someone if they came up and spoke to you in the street. Don’t ignore them on Social Media.

Finally, your page is your ad! The purpose is to persuade people to follow, like, subscribe to you.

Good luck and don’t worry, it does get easier as you go along.

  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! - www.leighhobbs.com.au

    Leigh Hobbs
  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'

    - www.pinerolo.com.au

    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'
    www.sallyrippin.com

    Sally Rippin
  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' - www.shauntan.net

    Shaun Tan
  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'
    www.meredithcostain.com

    Meredith Costain
  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and www.creativekidstales.com.au is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' - www.adam-wallace-books.com

    Adam Wallace
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' - www.taniamccartney.com

    Tania McCartney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' - jacquelineharvey.com.au

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! - dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au

    Dimity Powell
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' - www.nick-falk.com

    Nick Falk
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' - www.chrischeng.com

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'

    - libbyhathorn.com

    Libby Hathorn

  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'

    - www.heathmck.com

    Heath McKenzie

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' - jackheath.com.au

    Jack Heath
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'

    - katrinagermein.com

    Katrina Germein

  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" - www.wendyorr.com

    Wendy Orr
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'

    - www.tohby.com

    Tohby Riddle

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' - raspratt.com

    R.A. Spratt
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'

    - www.timharrisbooks.com

    Tim Harris

  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" - tashibooks.com

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' - www.deescribe.com.au

    Dee White
  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'
    www.paulcollins.com.au

    Paul Collins
  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'

    - brucewhatley.com

    Bruce Whatley

  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Dianne (Di) Bates
  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'

    - www.franelessac.com

    Frané Lessac

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' - www.aaronblabeybooks.com

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' - sarah-davis.org

    Sarah Davis
  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'
    www.sgervay.com

    Susanne Gervay
  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' - www.wimpykid.com

    Jeff Kinney
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Bill Condon
  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.
    ursuladubosarsky.squarespace.com

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'
    www.tristanbancks.com

    Tristan Bancks
  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! - sallymurphy.com.au

    Sally Murphy
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger: www.creativekidstales.com.au
    Well done, CKT team!' - janeenbrian.com

    Janeen Brian
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'
    dcgreenyarns.blogspot.com.au

    DC Green
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' - www.julesfaber.com

    Jules Faber
  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'

    - petercarnavas.com

    Peter Carnavas

  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' - www.isobellecarmody.net

    Isobelle Carmody
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015
    www.jackiefrench.com

    Jackie French
  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'

    - www.clairesaxby.com

    Claire Saxby

  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! - www.suewhiting.com

    Sue Whiting
  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! - www.oliverwriter.com

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' - www.aleesahdarlison.com

    Aleesah Darlison
  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' - gardenbabyfaeries.webs.com

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' - www.duncanball.com.au

    Duncan Ball
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' - www.richardharland.net

    Richard Harland
  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! - www.sherylgwyther.net

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. - www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to creativekidstales.com.au when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' - www.andygriffiths.com.au

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' - www.maisyfun.com

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' - www.deborahabela.com

    Deborah Abela
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'

    - www.waichim.com

    Wai Chim

  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' - www.emmaquay.com

    Emma Quay
  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). - www.terrydenton.com

    Terry Denton
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' - wendyblaxland.com

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' - annabranford.com

    Anna Branford
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'

    - www.onemorepagepodcast.com

    One More Page podcast

  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'
    georgeivanoff.com.au

    George Ivanoff
  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' - www.kateforsyth.com.au

    Kate Forsyth
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes